All you need to know about oils

Virgin, extra virgin, pomace olive oil… What’s the difference?

Vegetable oils are present in any kitchen. They are used daily for seasoning or cooking. What are the nutritional benefits of different oils? How to combine them in a balanced way? You will find in this article a description of the properties for each type of oil, as well as tips for everyday use. This article also includes animal derived  fats like butter or lard.


Oil quality varies depending on the way it is extracted. Virgin oil comes from mechanically crushed fruit or seeds. It is rich in antioxidants and vitamins, its flavor is intense. Refined oil is extracted by chemical extraction using solvents and / or heat, and it is filtered and deodorized to make it more stable. Thus, refined oils better withstand heat and keep longer than virgin oils. In return, they have lost their flavor and nutritional value during the refining process.


The oils are composed of four types of fatty acids, in various proportions: saturated, monounsaturated (omega-9, oleic acid), di-unsaturated (omega-6, linoleic acid) and polyunsaturated (omega-3 , alpha-linolenic acid). These fatty acids have different properties. Thus, omega-3 have a favorable effect on cardiovascular disorders. These are essential for the proper functioning of our body. A balanced diet must therefore include a variety of vegetable oils, each having its nutritional specificity and to bringing components that our body can not make.


All oils have a smoke point, or critical temperature, from which their compounds degrade into toxic and carcinogenic components. The smoke point is specific to each oil, this the reason why some are not recommended for cooking. If oil start smoking while you are cooking, throw it away, because it has lost its nutritional value.

The table below summarizes the properties of the most common edible oils. Combine them and use various oils to take advantage of their benefits and their flavors! For example, use extra virgin olive oil or nuts for your salad dressings and rapeseed oil to cook your food.

Tableau huiles logo ENG
Composition and use of vegetable oils and animal derived fats.

Let me know if you need more specific information or a detailed article on some oils!



Wikipedia; Le Figaro ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

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