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Have you ever wondered what the healthier oil is: avocado oil or olive oil? Or which one makes the best cooking oil? In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the avocado oil vs olive oil debate to try and determine which one is healthier and better suited for cooking.
Chosen Foods, one of the avocado oil brands we use, recently published a blog article promoting the benefits of avocado oil. We use both avocado oil and olive oil a lot at home, and I decided to compare both types of oil and share with you the findings of my research.
I'll also introduce you to Kasandrinos, one of my favorite olive oil brands. Make sure to use code MK to get 10% off your order.
Saturated vs. Unsaturated Fatty Acids
Both olive oil and avocado oil consist primarily of fat. More specifically, they consist primarily of fatty acids. So before we jump in to the comparison between olive oil vs. avocado oil, let’s take a look at the differences in the various types of fatty acids that make up those oils, including monounsaturated, saturated, and polyunsaturated fat.
Understanding the risks and benefits of each fatty acid category enables you to better judge the health benefits of cooking oils.
What’s the Difference Between Fat and Fatty Acid?
Fatty acids are molecules; in other words, they are the building blocks of fat. Most people use the terms interchangeably, and while that isn’t technically correct, it’s OK for the purpose of understanding the health benefits of cooking oils. To learn more about fat and fatty acids, check out this article.
Saturated Fatty Acids
You can find saturated fatty acids primarily in foods sourced from animals, such as dairy products and meats. They are also present in relatively high amounts in coconut oil, peanut oil and palm oil.
Saturated fatty acids (and all fatty acids) are comprised of chains of carbon atoms connected to one another by chemical bonds.
There are different types of saturated fatty acids. These types are classified based on their number of carbon atoms, and each type has different chemical properties. The term “saturated” stems from the fact that their “carbon atoms are completely filled with hydrogen atoms.”
What is essential for us to remember is that not all saturated fats are the same when it comes to their impact on the human body. Moreover, different foods contain different types of saturated fatty acids.
I grew up being told that saturated fats are bad for your health, and there seemed to be plenty of pseudo-scientific evidence to support that so-called “lipid hypothesis.” But based on recent scientific research, there is little indication that saturated fat is actually bad for your health. I wrote about the “low-fat lie” in another article that goes into more detail, so check it out if you are interested.
If you don’t have time to go into the details, here’s the conclusion of a study published in 2012, titled “Dietary intake of saturated fat by food source and incident cardiovascular disease”:
Although dietary recommendations have focused on restricting saturated fat (SF) consumption to reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, evidence from prospective studies has not supported a strong link between total SF intake and CVD events. Associations of SF with health may depend on food-specific fatty acids or other nutrient constituents in foods that contain SF, in addition to SF.
You can learn more about the various types of saturated fatty acids here.
Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
You can find monounsaturated fats in nuts, olive oil and avocado oil. The term “mono” comes from the single, double bond between two carbon atoms. You can learn more about the different types of monounsaturated fatty acids here.