While eating the right foods and being active are certainly the main tools to get in shape, the oil we cook our food with can also make a difference in our weight loss journey. Several healthy oils have been scientifically proven to improve our overall quality of life, including weight loss among many other health benefits. Lately, these oils are especially popular among people following low-carb diets the Ketogenic diet, which primarily focuses on consuming and burning healthy fats for fuel.
What it is: Olive oil is simply liquid fat obtained from mechanically or physically processing (pressing) olives, the fruits of the olive tree. Extra virgin olive oil is considered to be the best quality of olive oils since it is the least processed type, so it keeps most of its healthy components.
Why is it good: Olive oil is very rich in the anti-inflammatory antioxidants oleocanthal and oleuropein, which protect against heart disease by reducing the “bad” LDL cholesterol and raising the levels of good, HDL cholesterol. It contains more monounsaturated fatty acids than any other cooking oil out there, and it also has modest amounts of the fat-soluble vitamins E and K.
What studies say for weight loss: An 8-week study concluded that an olive oil-enriched diet resulted in greater weight loss than a low-fat diet. Also, because fats are naturally more satiating, most of the participants chose to stick with the olive oil diet for at least a 6 months post-study period.
What is it: Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from the “meat” of mature coconuts harvested from the coconut palm. It is composed of a high amount (about 55%) of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are healthy fats that are associated with many health benefits.
Why is it good: The MCTs from coconut oil are harder to convert to body fat, so they are instead mostly used as fuel for the body.
Consuming coconut oil boosts the levels of ketones in the blood, which when present in the body they have been shown to be beneficial for fat loss, controlling hunger and cravings, reducing brain fog and improving mental clarity.
Also, just like olive oil, coconut oil has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol levels.
What studies say for weight loss: A study published in the European journal of clinical nutrition has found that a daily intake of about 15-30 grams (1-2 tablespoons) of medium chain fatty acids increased energy metabolism by 5%, which is about 120 calories per day.
What is it: MCT is actually a byproduct of coconut oil. While coconut oil is about 55% of MCTs, MCT oil is made completely (100%) from MCTs.
And while coconut oil contains all 4 medium-chain fatty acids, including a high amount of lauric acid (the least efficient MCT of the 4), MCT only uses the two most efficient MCTs for energy, capric and caprylic acid.
Why is it good: MCT oil basically has all the benefits that coconut oil does, but it is a more concentrated solution. And since MCTs help boost blood ketone levels in a short period, if you follow a low-carb diet like Keto, consuming it is an effective way to get into ketosis faster and further promote fat burning.
What is it: Avocado oil is made by processing (pressing) the fleshy parts of the fruit of the Persea Americana (avocado). It contains mostly monounsaturated fats and a small amount of saturated and polyunsaturated fat.
Why is it good: Avocado oil is rich in Oleic acid, which is a very healthy monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid.
It also has a high amount of antioxidants, which help balance cholesterol levels and keeping free radicals in check.
Among them, it contains a high amount of Lutein, an antioxidant that has been shown to be very beneficial for eye health.
What studies say for weight loss: Since avocado oil is relatively new to the market there are no notable studies on weight loss yet, but it has a pretty decent nutrient profile as compared to the other oils, and many health experts believe it’s just as good!
What is it: Flaxseed oil, also known as Linseed oil, is made by grinding flax seeds into a fine powder using an oil expeller, which is then pressed and the natural oil in the powder is extracted.
Why is it good: Like flaxseeds, flaxseed oil is loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s have been associated through many studies with benefits like reduced inflammation, improved heart health and anti-aging properties for the brain.
Flaxseed oil also acts like a mild laxative which can help people struggling with constipation or diarrhea. A good example is ketogenic diet. But the truth is that you can get enough fiber on keto if you incorporate high fiber oils and foods to your diet.
What studies say for weight loss: Flaxseed oil has been shown to contain dietary fibers that can effectively suppress hunger. A crossover study suggest that these fibers help in the suppression of hunger and cravings which can indirectly lead to weight loss.
What is it: Walnut oil is a relatively new, rare oil that is produced by cold-pressing walnuts that have been previously dried.
Why is it good: Walnut oil has a good ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, which helps keep body inflammation in check.
Also, other than omega-3’s and 6’s It contains high levels of omega-9 fatty acids which improve blood circulation and help keep your arteries supple.
Like the other oils, studies have found walnut oil to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
What studies say for weight loss: As it is the case for avocado oil, walnut oil is also new on the market, so we are yet to see studies specifically for weight loss.
An author and health enthusiast, Alex Reed, started Bodyketosis with a mission to help you to take charge of your weight and health using the keto lifestyle. Through personal experience and extensive research, he offers insightful tips for everything keto.
Disclosure: I am not a nutritionist nor a doctor. The information on this site is not meant to be given as medical advice.