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Graphics: Eidia Moni Amin

A Definitive Guide To Cooking Oils, Inside & Out

The world of oils is a vast one and it’s not always clear what can be used towards what purpose. (Almond oil is good for your hair, but what about to eat? Is olive oil really that bad when cooked?) Herewith, we’ve compiled all the basics on all the big players in the world of cooking oil.

As a note, you’ll see we’ve excluded canola and vegetable oil, which we are aware are the most common oils. Towards the first, canola is an oil mired in controversy: it does have documented health benefits, but the solvent hexane is used in the extraction process. Currently, it is unclear if the hexane is entirely removed from the oil, and hexane has pretty serious environmental ramifications (the EPA considers it an air pollutant). Our exclusion of vegetable oil is more a reflection on the non-standard composition of the oil, which is typically a mix of palm, canola, soy, corn, and any other “plant derived” oil.

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