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What is the daily recommendation of cooking oil for an adult?

Posted on: 10 Nov 2021

By: Dr Vinoth Kumar

Published in:

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Overall requirement of calories for an adult per day is 2000 calories. The calories coming from cooking oil should preferably be less than 250 calories

So the recommended amount of oil per day is-

2 table spoons or 30 ml of cooking oil
• One tablespoon = 15 ml of cooking oil=120-130 calories
• 2 tablespoons or 30 ml which gives 250-260 calories


There is no single best cooking oil. We have to choose the best cooking oil based on the following points

1.Saturated fat content of the oil
2.MUFA content of the oil
3.Omega6-omega 3 fatty acid ratio
4.Smoking point of the oil
5.Oil extraction method


• More than 5-7% of calories should not come from saturated fat per day
• 5-7% roughly equals to 100-150 calories for an average adult.
• This 100-150 calories includes saturated fat coming from cooking oil, milk, cheese, butter, ghee, red meat, deep fried food items, processed food products, cookies, pastries, ice creams etc

Some type of cooking oils have high percentage of saturated fat.

Ex. coconut oil, ghee, palm oil

Coconut oil contains 80-90% saturated fat. So, each tablespoon of oil gives 130 calories with 100 calories coming from saturated fat alone
our recommended total saturated fat consumption per day itself is only 100 to 120 calories.

So, if we consume 2 table spoons of coconut oil it gives almost 200 calories from saturated fats which is much more than the maximum recommended amount (150 calories)
If we also consume other food products rich in saturated fats like milk and milk products& and red meat the total calories coming from saturated fat will go up to 300-350calories which is very harmful for the body.

Hence 2 points to be remembered when we use ghee or coconut oil

1.restrict them to 1 tablespoon and use another tablespoon of any other oil with less saturated fat (Ground nut oil, sesame oil, olive oil, almond oil, avocado oil etc)
2.whenever you are using food products prepared from ghee or coconut oil try to restrict the usage of milk, butter, cheese, red meat, chicken with skin etc

There is no clear evidence to show that coconut oil or ghee is bad for health. In fact, there are some benefits but the right amount and right way of usage of coconut oil or ghee is more important


MUFA Mono-Unsaturated Fatty Acid
MUFA is very important in reducing the bad cholesterol
Oils which are very rich in MUFA are olive oil, avocado oil, and almond oil.
There are other commonly used oils in India that have adequate amount of MUFA. They are ground nut oil, sesame oil, mustard oil and corn oil.


Poly-unsaturated Fatty Acids are of two types.
Omega6 and omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 6 fatty acids are available in sunflower, safflower, and soybean oil
Omega 3 fatty acids are available in flax seed oil, walnut oil, ground nut oil or sea fish
Recommended ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 should be 5:1 to 10:1 for a healthy cholesterol level but most of our Indian diet contains 40:1 ratio. This means our omega 3 fatty acid consumption is very negligible. So, its always important to add oils rich in omega 3 PUFA or sea fish in the diet for a healthy living


Whenever oil is heated, beyond a particular temperature, it starts breaking down, reacts with oxygen and start producing toxic chemicals and that temperature is called the smoking point.of a particular oil
Every oil has different smoking point, and every type of cooking needs a different type of oil with a different smoking point. So, we need to know the oils with low, medium and high smoking points.
Oils with moderate to high smoking points can tolerate more heat and can be used for deep frying without breaking the oil.As most of the Indian cooking involves deep frying and stir frying we need to choose oils with moderate and high smoke point.

Oils best suited for deep frying and Stir frying are:

1.Groundnut oil
3.Sun flower & safflower oil
4.Seasame oil
5.Coconut oil
6.Avocado oil

Oils that are not suitable for deep fry and stir fry:

1.Extra virgin olive oil(EVOO)
2.wallnut oil
3.flax seed oil
So if we want use EVOO , it is better to use it for salad dressings ,dips and toppings. It can also be used for baking.

If we want to use olive oil for deep fry and stir fry we can use Virgin olive oil or extra light olive oil which can tolerate hight heat but they have very less healthy chemicals like polyphenols and antioxidants compared to EVOO


There are two major types of oil extraction methods that are commonly used

a.Chemical method
Most of the commercially available cooking oils are extracted by chemical method. To extract maximum oil from the seeds a chemical called hexane is mixed with the seeds and at the end of processing the hexane is removed. During this process the levels of a lot of essential minerals, vitamins and antioxidants in the oil comes down. Hence it is not the best quality oil for cooking

b.Cold pressed method
In this method oil is extracted by pressing the seeds without much of heating process. Hence most of the essential nutrients and minerals are retained and it is the best form of oil for a healthy heart


Its preferrable not to reuse cooking oil. In case for economical reasons it is to be reused, follow the instructions below to make it less toxic.
Once used for deep frying, the oil should be kept closed with a lid and allowed to cool. Then filter all the food particles with a cotton cloth and store it in a opaque airtight container because oil undergoes damage on exposure to high heat, light and oxygen.
That oil may be used for mild cooking like sautéing Its better not to reheat the oil to higher temperatures to avoid oxidation and toxic free radical production which are harmful for the body.


Each type of cooking oil has different proportions of MUFA, omega 3 and omega 6 PUFA, saturated fatty acids, polyphenols, antioxidants, vitamins and other essential minerals. Hence we have to use all type of oils for our cooking so that we get maximum benefits of all oils. This can be achieved by,

Three methods:

1.Use different oils every 2 3 months
2.Use blended oils-where different proportions of two oils are mixed and sold
3.keep two to three types of oil at home and use different oils for different types of cooking


For Deep fry and stir fry: Ground nut oil
For Sauteing: Sesame oil/ Vegetable oils
For Baking and topping: Olive oil/walnut oil

Recommended amount of oil for cooking is 2 table spoons per day
Choose the right oil for each type of cooking
Don’t reheat the oil and avoid using it multiple times