best cooking oil when dieting

Questions About Cooking Oils

Enova Cooking Oil

Question: What’s your opinion about Enova cooking oil? I’ve heard it contains no trans fat and less of it is stored in the body as fat.

Answer: Enova oil is very interesting. It is a blend of soybean and canola oils. As far as calories and fat are concerned, it’s exactly the same as all oil, so it’s not an “oil substitute” or any lower in fat or calories.

The big thing about Enova oil is that it is metabolized differently to other oils, which means more of it is burned and less of it is stored as fat, even though the body absorbs it in the same way as conventional fat. Although research is still continuing, Enova looks pretty good as a healthy oil. It has been selling in Japan since about 1999 and is only available in the US fairly recently. I’m not sure how widely available it is at present.

Question: I limit my oil consumption and I want to use what is best. I have always used olive oil because of the health benefits. Would Enova be a better choice, or should I just stick to olive oil? Which one gives the best health benefits?

Answer: That’s a close call and I can only say that, for the moment, I’m going to stick with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and eat lots of oily fish.

One important thing about the fats we choose is to try to get the balance right between omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. At present we’re eating too much omega-6 and not nearly enough omega-3. The best dietary approach is is to keep our intake of all oils (including olive oil and Enova) modest, and to increase our intake of omega-3 by eating more oily fish and flaxseed oil.

Question: I have read about coconut oil. It claims to have several health-improving qualities. One being that it stimulates the thyroid which helps us to lose weight. Do you think there are any real health benefits from coconut oils?

Answer: Coconut oil received good publicity back in 2003 when it was described on the cover of the magazine, Woman’s World, as “The new thyroid cure”. I think this was, to say the least, overstating the case! It is true that it breaks down in the gut slightly differently to other oils, but as far as weight loss is concerned I think research will show that coconut oil is no better than many other cooking oils. In any event, it contains 120 calories per tbsp – the same as any other oil – so it doesn’t contain any less energy.

It sounds to me a bit like the “kelp” craze of a few years ago. Iodine is needed for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland and supplements are often given to patients with this condition. Then some marketing guru decided: “Hey! Kelp contains iodine which helps to regulate the thyroid, so let’s sell kelp as a weight loss supplement!” Of course, what he didn’t say is that unless you have an underactive thyroid it makes no difference at all! Furthermore, to my knowledge, even the supposed weight loss benefits for hypothyroidism were never established in clinical trials.

The bottom line is, adding coconut oil to your diet is unlikely to cause you any harm. Will it help you lose weight? Well let’s put it this way: the type of cooking oil you choose is not likely to have the slightest effect on your weight, compared to the amount of it you use.