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Sunflower Oil vs Olive Oil vs Canola Oil

sunflower oil vs vegetable oil


Modern market offers numerous healthy vegetable oils for the substituting unhealthy saturated fats with beneficial unsaturated ones. In order not to be confused, one should know the basic comparative information about the most common oils in the kitchen. One of them is sunflower oil competing mostly with olive oil, canola oil and with some other vegetable oils as well. Although all of the oils are rich in heart-healthy fatty acids, they have significant differences in their lipid composition and nutrients (vitamins, phytosterols).

Notice. The following comparing concerns standart original linoleic sunflower oil. All values are per 100g.

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Sunflower oil vs. olive oil

The fat formula of olive oil is very healthy. It is mostly monounsaturated fat (73 g); the amount of polyunsaturated fat is only 11 g and saturated fat – 14 g (69% DV). Total Omega-3 fatty acid index is 761 mg, Omega-6 – 9763 mg.

Sunflower oil, on the contrary to olive oil, has more polyunsaturated fats (65,7 g) in its lipid composition, while there is only 20 g of monounsaturated fat. There is no Omega-3 fatty acid and Omega-6 index is 65702 mg. According to the American Heart Association, the excess amount of polyunsaturated linoleic fatty acid (Omega-6) is unhealthy, although human body does need it in certain amounts. The better side of sunflower oil fat profile is that it is comprised of a little less saturated fat – 10,3 g.

Olive oil beats sunflower oil when it comes to other nutrients as well. According to NutritionDataSelf, besides of Vitamin E (14,3 or 72% DV), olive oil has Vitamin K (60.2 mg or 75%), some amount of betaine (0,3 mg), choline (0,1 mg), calcium (1,0 mg), iron (0,6 mg), potassium (1,0 mg), sodium (2,0 mg). There are also 221 mg of phytosterols in olive oil.

The strong aspect of sunflower oil is its extreme richness in antioxidant Vitamin E – 41,08 mg or 205% DV. There is also a small amount of Vitamin K – 5,4 mg (7% DV) and choline (0,2 mg). Sunflower oil does not possess any other minerals and vitamins. There are 100 mg of phytosterols in it.

One more important for comparison aspect is a smoke point. According to Wikipedia, sunflower oil has it on the level of 227 °C (440 °F), while extra virgin olive oil – of 191°C (375°F). More processed type – extra-light has a high smoke point, but it lacks the nutritional benefits of extra virgin olive oil.

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Sunflower oil vs. canola oil

Canola oil like olive oil is mostly monounsaturated fat – 63,3 g. Polyunsaturated fat index is 28,1 g, saturated fat – 7,4 g. Therefore, the most balanced lipid composition is it of canola oil in comparison to sunflower oil and olive oil. There is also the largest amount of Omega-3 – 9138 mg; Omega-6 index is 18645 mg.

Still, sunflower oil has the greater amount of Vitamin E than canola oil – 41,08 mg (205 %) vs. 17,5 mg (87% DV). But canola oil is richer in Vitamin K – 71,3 mg (89% DV); choline is at the same low level – 0,2 mg. No more appreciable vitamins and minerals are found in canola oil.

At the aspect of smoke point sunflower oil beats again, like it was with olive oil. The smoke point of standard canola oil is 206°C (400°F).