GoodGuide doesn’t rate cooking fat or oils, mainly because characterizing the health benefit of an oil depends on a lot of information that is simply not available or quantifiable. Some examples of this information are the purpose of the oil (i.e., will you be using it for salad dressing or for stir frying?) and an individual’s typical oil consumption (both amount and proportion of each type of oil).
Fortunately, Andrew Wilder (Eating Rules) and Andy Bellatti (Small Bites) have put together this great chart to help you decide what type of cooking fat to use, no matter what you plan on making. The chart takes into account some of the most recent research into dietary fat and health, including the importance of the omega 3:6 fatty acid ratio, the potential benefits of lauric acid (found in coconut oil), and the fatty acid profiles of butter from grass-fed vs. grain-fed cows. If you’d like to dig further into the science behind the chart, read this companion post on Andy’s blog. One thing Andy points out in his summary is that most processed foods contain fats you should be avoiding – they’re cheap to make and nutrient-poor relative to other fats.
For the shopper trying to parse through all the science though, this visual representation of all the options makes it easy to understand some of the trade offs between choosing one fat over another.