The Healthier Cooking Oil Most People Prefer - Exclusive Survey

Picking the right cooking oil is a fun step when it comes to making a tasty dish. Since cooking oils are made up of fat they are often used to brown and flavor various dishes. These fats help the body take in nutrients and they support healthy skin and nerves, explains the University of Rochester Medical Center. While there are many different types of cooking oils, vegetable oil is one of the most commonly used oils.

In fact, between 2020 and 2021, roughly 209.14 million metric tons of vegetable oil were produced globally, points out Statista. These vegetable oils include canola oil, palm oil (and palm kernel oil), sunflower seed oil, peanut oil, cottonseed oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. But there are also specialty oils that range in flavor such as walnut, flaxseed, or avocado oil.

With that said, which of these healthier cooking oils do most people (actually) prefer? Health Digest wanted to investigate the top cooking oils our readers keep handy, and here's what we found out.

Olive oil is the most preferred cooking oil

Health Digest asked 610 readers, "Which healthier cooking oil do you prefer?" The top response was olive oil. Roughly two-thirds — 65.25% — of respondents chose olive oil as their go-to cooking oil. According to WebMD, olive oil is loaded with antioxidants, fights inflammation, and supports brain and heart health.

The second most popular cooking oil was avocado oil (11.97%), followed by coconut oil (8.20%). However, 6.39% of readers preferred sesame oil, while 6.23% favored peanut oil. The least preferred healthy cooking oil was safflower oil (1.97%).

While there are different preferences for cooking oils, keep in mind that not all oils handle high heat well. When oil is cooked at high temperatures, it can reach its smoke point and start to break down, points out Healthline. At this point, the oil may start to oxidize and form free radicals, which can be harmful to health.

So, if you're cooking with high heat, the University of Rochester Medical Center suggests picking a refined oil that has a high smoke point like avocado, coconut, or refined olive oil. But if you're cooking with medium heat, peanut oil and less refined olive oils work great. As for nut, seed, or canola oils, stick to low heat.