PUBLISHED: 9:03 PM on Wednesday, February 16, 2005
The Secret is in the oil
The start of the new year can signal many changes in your kitchen - whether it's a resolution to add a healthy flair to your cooking style or simply to maintain your ideal weight for bathing suit season. With the wide range of healthy cooking options out there, most people don't know that something as simple as using the right oil can bring them a step toward good health.

It's a common misconception that all fats and oils are bad for you, when in actuality the right fats and oils provide an effective energy source for the body, as well as enhance the texture, taste and aroma of many foods. The key to a healthy diet is to stay away from foods and oils with high levels of trans and saturated fats, such as processed foods and vegetable oils, and use products with high levels of monounsaturated fats that may have positive health benefits, such as avocados, olive oil and canola oil.

The large number of cooking and salad oils in the market can make your head spin, so which are the healthiest ones to choose? Canola and olive oils have long been held as the gold standard in cooking and salad categories. Canola oil has an ideal balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for a healthy cardiovascular system and have been noted as having specific health benefits.

However, food companies are now looking into new types of functional cooking oils that will serve as healthier alternatives to conventional oil. After more than a decade of research and huge popularity in the Japanese market, a diacylglycerol (DAG) oil is arriving in the U.S. market. Clinical studies have indicated that higher concentrations of diacylglycerols (DAGs) help maintain a healthy lifestyle when used as part of a sensible diet. Enova brand oil (, a diacylglycerol oil that is clinically shown to store less as fat in the body, is now widely available.

"Enova oil is made from all natural soy and canola oil, and since it is not a fat substitute, digestive disturbances are not expected," said Mary Lee Chin, MS, RD. "More importantly, the oil has a light, mild taste and can be substituted for conventional cooking or salad oil in any cooking routine."

Even though these oils are healthier alternatives, they are still comprised of fat, and it is important to not overdo the amount used in your recipes. In fact, one to two tablespoons can be optimal for your daily allowance.

"An important thing to remember is that you don't have to sacrifice your favorite foods in order to maintain a successful New Year's regime," says chef Kathleen Daelemans, best-selling author and host of the Food Network's "Cooking Thin." "The journey to good health can be as simple as how you prepare your food by using healthy products like Enova oil."