When I talk about oil, I get asked if Sunflower oil, Canola oil, Sunola oil, and so on are healthy. In this article, I’m going to classify all of them as vegetable oil and compare them with olive oil.
Olive oil and vegetable oil are very popular plant oils used for cooking all over the world. Calorie-wise, all these oils including olive oil contain about 120 calories per tablespoon, and they are all cholesterol-free but choosing healthy oil goes beyond identifying it is cholesterol-free. It must contain beneficial nutrients and be safe for our health long term.
How do these oils differ?
Olive oil and vegetable oil differ in several ways such as how they are made, their nutritional values, flavor, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Here are some of the main differences between olive oil and vegetable oil.
Olive oil is made from pressed olives with little or no processing, it is high in antioxidants, vitamins K and E, and can be used in salad dressing, stir-frying, grilling, etc.
Vegetable oil on the other hand is a blend of fats from multiple plant sources like sunflower, corn, canola, soy, safflower, etc; they are highly processed, hence they lose some beneficial nutrients after processing even though most of them are said to be cholesterol-free. They contain no antioxidants and are mostly used for baking and frying.
While both Olive oil and vegetable oils contain unsaturated fatty acids, olive oil contains a higher amount of monounsaturated fats like oleochemicals, linoleic acid, and palmitic acid.
For health benefits, we need more monounsaturated fats than polyunsaturated fats.
Monounsaturated fats are antioxidants that have been found to have anti-inflammatory, heart and brain health benefits.
Vegetable oils are higher in Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats which can worsen inflammation and affect our health if eaten in excess. Additionally, the refining process used to produce vegetable oils destroys the beneficial nutrients that are naturally present in plant oils.
Which oil is healthier?
Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil is better than vegetable oils. It is important to go for extra virgin olive oil when shopping because it is the least processed as some olive oils like Pomace oil is processed.
But extra virgin olive oil is expensive!
It depends on how you look at it. When it comes to fat and oils, less is more than enough. You need very little quantity per serving to get all the amazing benefits it has to offer.
Vegetable oil, on the other hand, undergoes a lot of processing which destroys the beneficial nutrients to our body hence, even when it is claimed to be cholesterol-free, at about 120 calories per tablespoon, it’s mostly empty calories.
Would you rather spend a little bit more to get amazing benefits like antioxidants that help fight chronic diseases, improved heart, and brain health, or go for the cheap alternative and pay a lot of money in hospital bills?
I believe the best option is to go for the prevention route and get the best return for your money health-wise.
Adebusola Adefeso is a Medical Doctor, Certified Personal Nutritionist and a Weight loss Expert.
She’s the Founder of Fit4healthng, a weight management, health and wellness company.
She became passionate about weight loss, health, and wellness after seeing a lot of patients suffer from diseases that could have been well managed if they were at a healthy weight; she personally addressed her own belly fat struggles.
She does not only offer her professional expertise but also incorporates her first-hand knowledge of weight loss and healthy living in providing simple and actionable strategies for her clients.
She has used her successful lifestyle change to touch the lives of thousands globally.
She’s a strong believer in empowering people for a healthy lifestyle and she has shared her expertise on platforms like docotal, thriveglobal, newmumshub, smooth FM etc.