Q. My husband and I use a lot of olive oil. Are canola, corn and other plant oils as healthy?
A. ”There’s no definitive evidence right now to show that olive oil is superior to other liquid plant oils,” explains Alicia Romano, MS, RD, LDN, Registered Dietitian, Frances Stern Nutrition Center, Tufts Medical Center.
“One of the differences between oils is in the types of fatty acids in them. You’ve probably heard a lot about the health benefits of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids; these are polyunsaturated fatty acids.
“Some research suggests that replacing saturated fats in butter and lard with polyunsaturated fats from plant oils is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Both soybean oil and corn oil are higher in polyunsaturated fats than olive oil. That said, olive oil—and its mostly monounsaturated fats—is still considered a healthy choice. In fact, there is preliminary evidence that phytochemicals in extra-virgin olive oil may contribute to the reduced cardiovascular risks associated with the Mediterranean diet pattern. If you prefer the taste of olive oil to other options, by all means use it to cook with and dress your salads. Ideally, consume a variety of plant oils, the same way you eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to obtain maximum benefits. But there is an exception: Tropical oils like palm and coconut are high in saturated fats, so oils relatively higher in unsaturated fats are the better choice.”