Oils that contain “monounsaturated fats” and “polyunsaturated fats” are generally better for you than those that contain “saturated fats” or trans fats”. All cooking oils contain fat. All fats have 9 calories per gram, but some types of fat are healthier than others. You can read the nutrition labels to see what kinds of fat an oil contains. Using 1 to 2 tablespoons per day of oil is a healthy amount.
For heart health, olive oil and canola oil are good choices. They contain mostly monounsaturated fats. Avoid oils that are mostly saturated fat. They are more likely to increase your risk of heart disease. These include coconut and palm oil.
Some oils, like sunflower, safflower, corn, soybean, and sesame oil, contain polyunsaturated fat. While these oils are probably better than saturated fats, they are not as healthy as monounsaturated fats.
The least healthy oils contain trans-fat or “partially hydrogenated oil” or “vegetable shortening”. Trans fats are now banned for use in the US.
It is not clear if certain types of cooking oil can affect the risk of cancer. Risk factors are different from one type of cancer to another. Things that raise the risk of breast cancer, for example, may lower the risk of stomach cancer. Doctors don’t yet know if your choice of cooking oil can lower your risk of cancer in general.
Choose unsaturated oils. They are better for your heart!