Many of you have asked me why I prefer to use canola or olive oil over coconut oil in my recipes. In the two videos linked to below, my husband, who of course is the nutritional expert behind the inspiration for all my recipes gives a very concise and clear answer!
You’ll find I like to use canola oil in my baking because of its neutral flavor, on the culinary side, and because it is a good source of monounsaturated fats on the nutrition side. In fact, I understand it is the richest cooking-oil source of alpha-linolenic acid which has been linked to heart health.
I recommend certified organic cold- or expeller-pressed canola oil with omega 3’s. Here is a canola oil I like to use (click here) but there are many to choose from. Cold- and expeller-pressed oils, including canola, do not involve the use of chemical solvents and, because they undergo less processing, tend to be higher in nutrients and antioxidants. I use extra virgin Olive Oil, also a good source of monounsaturated fats, for the rest of my cooking, no surprise there, as it is a standout feature in the healthful Mediterranean diet, the cuisine that I was raised on!
Here are the videos for you:
Should oil be avoided? posted by David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H. on Vidoyen.
Are we cuckoo about cooking oils? posted by David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H. on Vidoyen.
CLICK HERE for a more in-depth article about cooking oils and GMOs written by my husband
CLICK HERE, for a great article written by esteemed nutritionist, chef Ellie Krieger: “Should you replace olive oil with coconut oil?“. It is thoughtfully written to incorporate the culinary side, but grounded in science, as it should be! And, CLICK HERE for an article that addresses how coconut oil got a reputation for being healthy in the first place!
CLICK HERE for a fascinating interview with Dr David Katz by True Health Initiative Council member Dan Pardi: “Saturated Fat: What’s there real story?”
CLICK HERE for a great interview with Dr Willett of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on setting the record straight on the butter “debate”.
So, once and for all, for those of you who want to know: These are the reasons why I use the oils I use in my CUISINICITY recipes!
Sydney hirsch says
I’ve just learned of your existence from a program I watched featuring Dr David Katz. So grateful to have discovered you- your husband was brilliant on the program- and I am so excited to have your expertise at my fingertips. My question involves gluten and dairy free foods. Both are inflammatory for me and I buy appropriate products. I notice you use whole wheat and wonder how I could accommodate your recipes with this substitution. Thank you.
Elisa Urban says
Thank you very much for the information, I would love to know if there is any new research on this or an update? Do you still prefer canola oil for cooking and baking? What do you and David think about sunflower oil and corn oil?
Donna Saliter says
While Catherine takes a little break I looked this up in Dr. Katz’s new book entitled, “How to Eat: All Your Food and Diet Questions Answered.” He and co-author Mark Bittman have a whole chapter on cooking oils. In my kindle, it’s page 123. Here’s what they say about canola oil: “Canola oil has a stunningly good fatty acid profile. It’s overwhelmingly unsaturated fat, which is a good thing. In addition, it’s a fairly rich source of the same kind of monounsaturated fat found in olive oil. It’s very low in omega-6 fat, and there are certain varieties of canola (and usually it will say this right on the bottle) that are significant sources of omega-3 fat.
Canola oil also has an extremely mild flavor—it’s what we call a “neutral” oil—so it’s quite versatile for cooking. It also stands up fairly well to heat. There’s almost no downside. All of this makes it a really good daily oil; maybe even the best there is. Since there aren’t whole populations that have been eating canola oil–rich diets for many generations, we don’t have the evidence base for the benefits of canola oil that we have for olive oil. But its fatty acid profile makes it a contender.”
There you have it. Shhh, don’t tell Catherine I gave you so much info from the book! It’ll be our secret, but if you want to learn more, you can visit Dr. Katz’s website: https://davidkatzmd.com/books/how-to-eat-all-your-food-and-diet-questions-answered/
Thank you for your excellent question,
Jack Stratton says
What does the doc think of Esselstyn’s view?? I’m trying to get to the bottom of it – family member on esselstyn. thanks!
Catherine Katz says
Here is what my husband had to say about Dr Esselstyn’s view on oil: “we disagree. I think the diet he espouses is a good choice for health; he thinks it’s the ONLY good choice for health”.
Alyssa Breda says
I love this! I’m so glad this is available on your website because I have been wondering why all my friends have promoted coconut oil so much and I fell into the trap too! I recently started learning more in my Biochemistry class about fatty acids and how our bodies prefer unsaturated fats due to the fluidity of the oils (such as olive oil and canola oil). So after that, I immediately thought.. “then why would coconut oil be better for you than olive or canola oil?!” So glad I can now confirm from a very credible source that this is a misconception!
Thank you both!! 🙂
Catherine Katz says
I am so glad that this was helpful top you Alyssa! I love how much you care about taking good care of your body! Valerie is also very proud of you…as I am!! 🙂
Thank you so much for addressing the specifics of oil! I have been on a mission to figure out the health benefits and detriments of oil, and what is safe, healthy, and tasty enough to include in my cooking, especially at high heat. This has cleared up my confusion regarding canola oil (I love the brand you recommend) and solidified my confidence in using avocado oil and olive oil with more honed purpose. With these options, I can retire the rest of my coconut oil to use as an after beach/shower moisturizer.
I have been researching healthful food for the past decade, most intensely the past three, doing my best to feed my family with attention to combined optimal nutrition and flavor. It’s been exciting to have Google at my fingertips, but frustrating to wade through the overload of conflicting information and fad “miracle” foods. I’ve been very wary of subscribing to definitive, too-good-to-be-true statements when it comes to diet, but have not been immune to falling for a handful of notions. Although far from being well-versed in science (wish I traveled down that road at a younger age), I recognize the importance of finding credible science-based sources. I just read/listened to Dan Pardi’s interview with your husband on humanOS Radio, last night, and am very excited that the rabbit hole has led me here. Thank you so much for sharing your passion and kitchen experience. I will definitely be a regular on your site.
P. S. Your glowing family is a great testament to the credibility of your cooking and the combined knowledge you and your husband share 🙂
Catherine Katz says
Thank you so much for such thoughtful and kind words! Your devotion and determination to get past the fads-du-jour are to be commanded and I find it absolutely refreshing! Nutritional experts actually agree more than they disagree, there is a common ground and it is straightforward and consistent and not subject to Too-good-to-be-true nonsense. I wrote a post about it that you may particularly appreciate here:
and you can find out more about it at the True Health initiative here:
I am delighted to have you at the Cuisinicity table. A BIG WELCOME to you and your family!! 🙂
Great article and thank you for those points, dr Katz! I would like to see evidence of the lack of toxins in products from plants that are genetically modified to withstand herbicides, like Roundup. It seems logical that some of the herbicide they are sprayed with could make it into the oil, no matter how it is extracted. Are there such studies?
Catherine Katz says
A go-to expert on this topic is Tom Brenna at Cornell: https://www.human.cornell.edu/bio.cfm?netid=jtb4
My husband and I have discussed this, and his understanding is the oil is tested for such contaminants, and is free of them. This level of detail, however, is in the agricultural chemistry literature, which he doesn’t routinely access. It is separate from the medical literature, so best if you can reach Professor Brenna via his website, to answer your important question more precisely.