At first glance, the words “weight loss” and “fat” may not seem to pair well. However, healthy fats are absolutely crucial to a well-balanced weight loss diet.
Low-calorie cooking oil can add variety to your diet while helping you to reach your lifestyle goals. Read on for the five best cooking oils for weight loss, including expert-approved, low-calorie oils.
Low-Calorie Cooking Oils: What They Are & Tips to Use
Understanding oils can seem a bit tricky at first. Oils are a type of fat, and fats contain more calories per gram than the other two macronutrients (protein and carbohydrates). Each gram of fat provides 9 calories.
More calories per gram is great when you’re trying to gain weight. However, when you’ve got weight loss in your sights, it’s important to be mindful when choosing from sources of fat. Healthy fats provide plenty of nutrients along with a higher amount of calories, making them nutrient-rich.
Pay Attention To Portion Size
It may feel counterintuitive at first, but adding healthy fats to your diet can promote weight loss. Sticking to proper portion sizes can help moderate your intake. You can find the suggested serving size, which is typically 1-2 tablespoons, as part of the nutrition label on the back of a bottle of oil.
Tune Into Fat Type
Selecting a healthy cooking oil also comes down to the types of fat that comprise the oil itself. There are two main types of fat, called saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats tend to stack on top of each other in the body, while unsaturated fats interact with the body in a better way.
When looking for low-calorie oils, you’ll want to select oils made mostly of unsaturated fats. On an oil label or ingredient list, the following words may indicate it’s a source of unsaturated fats:
• Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs)
• Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs)
• Omega-3 fatty acid
Select Healthy Cooking Styles
Another factor to consider when it comes to low-calorie oils is the type of cooking you’ll be doing. In general, most low-calorie oils aren’t suited for high-heat cooking methods (like pan-frying). Heating oils too much can create hazardous compounds in the oil that ultimately can affect health in a negative way.
Best Cooking Oils for Weight Loss
Ready to start cookin’? Let’s explore some of the best cooking oils for weight loss.
1. Avocado Oil
Calories per 1 tablespoon (Tbsp): 124
Avocado oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are known for their health benefits. For example, monounsaturated fats are less likely to promote insulin resistance and inflammation, and may help to reduce “bad” cholesterol and increase “good” cholesterol. Oil from avocados also contains polyunsaturated fats, and is high in other nutrients like vitamin E and antioxidants.
Just like its whole plant counterpart, avocado oil is heralded for its healthy fats. Beyond offering nutrients in each tablespoon, it’s considered heart-healthy, too. Avocado oil also has unique potential in people with diabetes as a food that can increase insulin sensitivity and balance blood sugar.
2. Canola Oil
Calories per 1 Tbsp: 120
Trying to lose weight on a budget? Canola oil is an affordable yet healthy oil to use. It has the lowest percentage of saturated fat (just 7%) when ranked among most common cooking oils. It’s well-liked for its versatility, meaning it pairs well with most meals.
Canola oil has also been linked to lowering total cholesterol and levels of low-density lipoprotein (“bad” cholesterol), especially when consumed long-term (over a month).
3. Vegetable Oil
Calories per 1 Tbsp: 124
It’s no secret that eating more vegetables has positive health benefits. As it turns out, so does consuming the oils that come from vegetables and plants.
Unrefined vegetable oils, often labeled as “virgin” vegetable oils, are processed without heat or unnecessary chemicals. This helps to retain flavor, aroma, and (most importantly) nutrients.
Vegetable oils, as the name implies, are made from a variety of plant-based foods (like vegetables). Reading the nutrition label for ingredients can help you to decide which blend suits your personal preference. Like canola oil, vegetable oil is an affordable and readily available pick for people looking to lose weight without emptying their wallet.
4. Sesame Oil
Calories per 1 Tbsp: 120
Sesame oil has been a staple in Asian cuisine for ages, but hasn’t been popular in Western cultures until relatively recently. While it has a uniquely nutty flavor, it’s surprisingly versatile. Plus, a little sesame oil goes a long way, meaning you may be able to reduce the suggested serving size and cut calories even further.
A recent study involving women with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a disease associated with metabolic disorders and obesity, found consumption of sesame oil to help ease severity of the disease. Researchers suggest that, as part of a low-calorie diet, sesame oil can lead to favorable outcomes for people working to maintain a healthy weight.
5. Coconut Oil
Calories per 1 Tbsp: 117
Coconut oil has been demonized recently due to its high level of saturated fats. However, medium-chain fats (like lauric acid, which is found in coconut oil) have been linked to improving insulin resistance and alleviating inflammation.
When compared with long-chain fats, lauric acid is more likely to be used for energy in the body instead of being stored as adipose (fat) tissue.
The Last Word on Low-Calorie Oils for Weight Loss
If you’re looking to lose weight, there are plenty of plant-based oils to choose from. Focus on consuming low-calorie oils high in healthy fats, like monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids, in order to intake enough nutrients.
Taste preference and cooking method are also important factors in which type of fats and oils you choose.
Related Questions: Low-Cal Cooking Oils
Can I lose weight eating oil?
Yes, you can lose weight while consuming low-calorie oils. Selecting oils low in saturated fats and high in mono- and polyunsaturated fats (MUFAs and PUFAs) can provide health benefits that aid in your weight loss journey.
Which cooking oil is best for weight loss?
Sesame oil and canola oil are both excellent additions to a weight loss diet. Canola oil is more affordable, but sesame oil has a unique flavor (so a little goes a long way). Both oils contain 10% saturated fat or less, meaning they are full of healthy fats and other health-promoting nutrients.
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