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Cooking Spray vs. Cooking Oil

Fitday Editor

In the comparison between cooking spray and cooking oil, it is useful to compare and contrast the two to begin to determine which is the better product to use when cooking. The best way to think of cooking spray is as a kind of oil that comes in a spray form and which can be used as a lubricant, emulsifier and lecithin. Its major use is as an application to frying pans to make sure that food does not stick. On the other hand, cooking oil is merely the purified fat that comes from a plant origin; it is normally in liquid form at room temperature. There are pros and cons to using either cooking spray or cooking oil.

Safety Issues

Cooking oil can undergo a change in its characteristics when it is heated. Further, certain kinds of cooking oil can even become unhealthy if they are heated above specific temperatures. Therefore, if you are choosing a type of cooking oil, you must always make certain that you compare the heat tolerance of the cooking oil with the cooking method. On the other hand, cooking spray does not have this concern, as all it really is is a fine mist that you spray on the bottom of pans to ensure a non-stick surface when cooking, grilling, baking, roasting or broiling. However, cooking spray is highly flammable and even explosive, more so than mere cooking oil. So if you are outside with a grill or barbecue going, you are advised to keep the cooking spray away from any open fires.


While many cans of cooking spray deceptively claim to have no fat or calorie content, this is misleading because each second of spray time equals the release of about 7 calories into your food. If you work that out to a full can of cooking spray, depending on the size of the can, you can get up to 1000 calories in a can of cooking spray. On the other hand, cooking oil can be high in the unhealthy saturated fat content, especially if you use palm oil or coconut oil. In addition, cooking oil can degenerate into poisonous compounds if heated to the point of becoming burned. If this kind of oil is consumed for long periods of time, it can lead to complications such as birth defects and joint disease.


It appears that cooking spray is healthier for you than cooking oil, even with the fact that each can contains numerous calories. Unlike cooking oil, cooking spray cannot degrade into potentially dangerous compounds that, when consumed over a period of time, lead to serious health problems. However, cooking oil is probably the safer of the two to use in cooking since it is not as explosive or flammable as cooking spray is.

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