By Dr. Stephen Phinney and the Virta Team
Every oil or fat has a temperature range within which it performs best and a point at which it begins to breakdown (smoke point). Some sources are great for high heat and others must remain at lower temperatures. Cooking oils high in saturated fats are a great choice because they are highly resistant to heat-induced damage. If you plan on using a high heat method, like grilling or frying, be sure to select an oil that is meant to sustain high temperatures, like coconut oil. A very rough rule of thumb when cooking with olive oil is that the lighter the oil’s color, the higher its smoke point. Olive oil is great for cooking but different types should be used for different cooking methods. Light olive oil can withstand higher temperatures of over 450 degrees F in comparison to extra virgin olive oil, which has a deeper color and has a smoke point of 320 degrees F.