1. Are All vegetable Oils same? Or Are cooking oil and vegetable oil the same thing?
A vegetable oil is an edible oil. But an edible oil does not have to be a vegetable oil.
Edible oil is the generic term for oils that absorb more heat energy and are therefore very suitable for cooking. Edible oils can come from animal (like lard, tallow and butter) or vegetable (like coconut, soy, corn, rape, sunflowers, palms, etc.) sources.
“Vegetable oils” have also been classified as seed oils such as soya, maize, rape, olives, cottonseed and sunflower. They are mostly unsaturated oils. They are liquid at room temperature. Oils from countries close to the equator are also called tropical oils, especially coconut and palm. These are saturated oils and usually in solid form if they occur in cold countries of the hemisphere.
Most of the edible oils are made from the seeds of the plants – cotton seed oil, soya oil, coconut oil, olive oil and so on. But there are also a few that are of animal origin – butterfat, tallow.
All oils from plant seeds are not edible and are therefore not used for cooking – tobacco seed oil, tung oil, castor oil and so on.
Edible oils can be a vegetable oil. But all vegetable oils are not edible oils.
Roughly speaking, yes, they’re the same. All edible oils are made from something that can be regarded as a vegetable, i.e. an edible plant. But when these terms are used and the specific plant is not named, it often means that the oil is made from two or more types of oil. There is nothing wrong with that in itself, but the name of the plant – e.g. olive, rape, safflower oil, etc. – is not wrong. – helps the consumer to find the right oil for his needs.
2. Which oils are seed oils?
A seed oil is a vegetable oil obtained from the seed (endosperm) of a plant and not from the fruit (pericarp).
Most vegetable oils are seed oils. Some common examples are sunflower oil, rapeseed oil and sesame oil.
Some important vegetable oils are not seed oils. Some examples are olive oil and peanut oil.
3. Which oil is healthiest for cooking?
What are the different types of cooking oils? Or
What kind of oil is good for cooking?
Edible oils are mostly vegetable oils that are similar, if not identical, to those of the industrial biotech industry for use as biofuels such as biodiesel, for use in cosmetics and other everyday biotech products. Edible oils can be solid or liquid at room temperature.
Edible oils are defined by the government of Ontario, Canada, as “a food that is not a dairy product, regardless of origin, provenance or composition, made wholly or partly from a fat or oil other than that of milk”. The US FDA does not provide a definition of edible oils on its website.
Vegetable oils consist of carboxylic acids with long hydrocarbon chains, unlike petroleum-based oils, which lack the carboxyl group at the end. The carboxyl group makes the oils edible and allows our enzymes to attack and degrade the chain in a process called beta-oxidation. The length of hydrocarbon chains and whether they are saturated or not, or unsaturated in a cis or trans conformation, determines how easily they are metabolized and how healthy or unhealthy they are as part of our diet.
Edible oils are of course distinguished from inedible oils such as petroleum-based products (petrol, heating oil and related products). Different forms of greases and lubricants can also be considered inedible oils. There are also a number of vegetable oils that are inedible to humans – but very useful for other purposes (especially as biofuels). These include jatropha, karanja, mahua, linseed, rubber seed, cotton seed and neem oil.
Frequently used cooking oils
While there are dozens of edible oils, a handful accounts for a very large proportion of the world’s edible oil production. All of these oils can be used for cooking, but are also used as biofuels.
maize germ oil
rapeseed oil/rapeseed oil
Healthiest oils for human consumption
Edible oils can be divided into three large groups: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils. It is easy to distinguish between these groups:
Saturated oils are solid at room temperature; this describes shortenings, margarine and some other commonly eaten oils.
Monounsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature, but begin to solidify in the refrigerator. These include olive oil and peanut oil.
Polyunsaturated oils remain liquid when refrigerated or at room temperature. These include rapeseed, sunflower and walnut oils.
Saturated oils are considered relatively unhealthy as they can contribute to higher cholesterol levels and heart disease. Thus, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils are usually a better choice for general health.
In addition to these considerations, it is also helpful to know that certain oils provide important nutrients. For example:
Olive oil is rich in antioxidants that can contribute to heart health.
Walnut oil contains omega-3 fats that can help lower cholesterol.
Grape seed oil is rich in vitamin C.