From avocado oil to grapeseed oil, it seems like there’s a new variety of cooking oil on the shelves every time you hit up the grocery store. So how in the name of Ina Garten are you supposed to know which one is better for your health, best for your meal, and worth shelling out the extra cash for?
“In the 60s, 70s, and early 80s, the choices and demand for a variety of oils were far and few between,” says Amy Chalker, R.D., a Santa Barbara-based dietitian. “A lack of comprehensive studies on the health benefits of various types of fats, coupled with experts decrying the evils of saturated fat, led to canola oil, corn oil, and soybean oil becoming staples in most commercial products.”
But in the mid-80s, once word got out that the heart-friendly “Mediterranean diet” could overhaul your health, olive oils and more exotic varieties started popping up on menus and shelves.
“While it’s true that the variety of cooking oils on the market today is vast, each with their own benefits, you will get the most overall nutritional benefit (and flavor!) by varying your oil use, just as you do with your overall diet,” says Chalker.
But not every oil on the shelf is ideal for your stir-fry—or your body—so we asked our favorite R.D.s to help us navigate this oil-aisle madness and uncover the key tips to choosing the best bottles.