Are refined vegetable oils more suitable for cooking? 12-06-2020

Are refined vegetable oils more suitable for cooking? 12-06-2020

The basis for any vegetable oil is that you can press it from any nut or seed. This is why there is a growing number of specialty oils in recent years, like pistachio oil, pumpkin seed oil and avocado oil. The specific taste of these oils can be a great added value to some dishes. There are even specialty oils infused with specific aromas, like Pistachio oil with garlic taste.

There is still a lot of discussion about the health benefits of fatty acids. An increasing amount of studies indicate that some oils actually contain fats that are not beneficial human health (e.g. sunflower oil, peanut and soya oils). Beneficial fatty acids (studies explain) can be found in fish, walnuts or ‘specialty oils’ which we will clarify later in this article.

The terms ‘oil’ and ‘fat’ are often misinterpreted. The difference between the two, is that vegetable oil becomes liquid at room temperature (20-25 degrees Celsius), while fats are more firm and will not become liquid at these temperatures. Because vegetable oil consists mainly out of unsaturated fatty acids it remains liquid at lower temperatures. A health benefit that comes with consuming these unsaturated fatty acids, suggest it lowers the chances of heart and vascular deceases (USDA, 2020).

Some brands are known to supply inferior quality refined oils. These oils are known to contain added aromas, hardened vegetable oils and even animal fats.

Differences between extra virgin oils and regular vegetable oils

Vegetable oils indicated as ‘extra virgin’, are most commonly pressed below 30 degrees Celsius and with a fatty acid content below 1% (USDA, 2020). This is the best quality of vegetable oil there is. The big difference is that the extra virgin oils are not very suitable for cooking or frying. Most of these oils get sticky and the specific aromas in these oils will transfer to the cooked or fried product. Refined vegetable oils are far more suitable for cooking as they are almost completely void of aromas and therefore won’t transfer any extra taste to your dish.

Many people use sunflower oil for frying. After reusing the oil for 7 to 11 times, the added water caused by dipping frozen goods in the fat, can make the oil an explosion hazard. Because of this, guidelines from oil producers suggest to refresh your frying oil regularly.

In short, cooking with refined vegetable oils (e.g. refined sesame or refined sunflower oil):

– contains healthy fatty acids; suitable to heat, multiple times

– better than cooking with butter

– can add an extra aromatic touch to baked dishes

Reviewing the above, is it safe to say that specialty oils are healthier than regular vegetable oils? The answer remains to be seen, as the main concern is how they are being used. Virgin/extra virgin vegetable oils should be used as aromatic additions to dishes, where refined vegetable oils are more suitable to be cooked.

At Dipasa we hope the above contributes in answering some questions you may have regarding refined vegetable oils. If you would like additional information, do not hesitate to contact our sales department at:


USDA (2020). Retrieved 5 June 2020, from