By

Jennifer Low is a Registered Dietitian, with an MSc in Nutrition and a degree in Psychology. Clinically she specialises in disordered eating, bariatric surgery and IBS.

Olive oil

The oil of choice in the Med is made from pressing whole olives from the native olive tree – different grades include blended, virgin and extra-virgin.

The nutritional lowdown
Olive oil contains more monounsaturated fat than any other oil – the type that helps to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol. That’s why it’s often touted as one of the healthiest oils. Extra-virgin olive oil contains polyphenols, too, which act as antioxidants in the body. Different oils are best suited to different uses. For example, extra-virgin is perfect for dressings but less ideal for cooking as it has a low smoke point (the temperature at which the oil starts to smoke and break down, losing its quality, flavour and health benefits).

olive-oil-rapeseed

 

Rapeseed oil

Bright yellow rapeseed crops are now widely grown in UK fields. The oil is extracted from the seeds of the rapeseed plant to produce a golden oil.

The nutritional lowdown
Rapeseed oil contains the least saturated fat of all oils – and that’s good, as current advice confirms a diet high in saturated fat is linked to poorer heart health. It has less monounsaturated fat than olive oil, but a bigger proportion of polyunsaturated fat, which helps to lower LDL cholesterol. Plus, rapeseed oil contains considerably more vitamin E than olive oil – a tablespoon provides a fifth of our daily need for this powerful antioxidant. It’s also a good choice for cooking as its high smoke point allows it to retain its nutrition credentials.

The verdict

Rapeseed oil is healthier. It’s lower in saturated fat, higher in vitamin E and has a higher smoke point, making it the better choice for cooking. However, it doesn’t have the polyphenols that extra-virgin olive oil contains. Opt for rapeseed oil for cooking and olive oil for drizzling, but use both sparingly as they’re high in calories.

*Weight-loss results will vary and are down to your individual circumstances and the amount of weight you have to lose.