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Fat is what gives our foods flavor, and if you know exactly which oils to select, you get the best of both worlds—great tasting food that guards and protects your health too. Remember, it is the type of fat in your diet that really matters. Your goals are to bring in the make-me-healthier fats and to keep the unhealthy fats out.

Ground Rules

Use extra virgin olive oil as your oil of choice. It is fine for room temperature and low to moderate heat cooking. For high heat (frying, etc.) see below.

When the robust flavor of olive oil is not desired, use neutral tasting avocado oil or canola oil. “High heat” canola best for cooking/baking. Choose organic canola if you prefer non-GMO foods like I do.

Use grape seed oil, sesame oil, or avocado oil for high heat food prep like stir-frying or pan-frying. (All stand up well to very high heat.)

Use pan sprays for a quick and easy way to apply a light coating of oil when desired. Olive oil or canola oil-based varieties best for low to moderate heat and refined grape seed or coconut oil varieties best for high heat.

Feel free to use nut oils (walnut oil, macadamia oil, etc.) when called for in recipes – they are all great for you!

For very occasional (I hope!) deep frying, use coconut oil, peanut oil, or avocado oil.

Avoid the oils high in omega 6 fats (Americans consume too much of this fat)—corn oil, soybean oil (also called “vegetable oil”), safflower oil and sunflower oil.

Strictly avoid all shortenings like Crisco.