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  • Writer's pictureDr. Hansra

Cut down on excessive calories by spraying your oil

Updated: Feb 4, 2023

Most people recognize that regular consumption margarine is unhealthy due to its unfavorable lipid profile and impact on cardiovascular health (1). Although the research linking butter to cardiovascular disease is less clear, butter still contributes to the development of obesity (2-5). More people have made the switch from cooking with margarine and butter to more plant based oils like avocado and olive oils. These oils have been associated with numerous beneficial effects including protection against cardiovascular disease (6-9). Despite the potential benefits of using olive oil and avocado oil they contain 120 calories per tablespoon serving (9). Many of us use much more than this serving size when cooking our food which can easily add up to hundreds of calories in one sitting. Most people are conscious of what they eat and how many calories we consume. Remember that there can be too much of a good thing especially if you are trying to maintain a negative energy balance or calorie deficit. To down significantly on extra calories from oil use you should use oil in a spray bottle rather than pouring it directly into a pan. Using this technique you can coat your pan with oil and significantly save calories.

"When it comes to your diet there can be too much of a good thing" -Dr. Damien Hansra MD

Generally we use about 2 seconds of spray which equals about 5 pumps with a spray oil bottle. This is estimated to be about 14 calories and 1.5 grams of fat. Compare this to 120 calories and 14 grams of fat for a tablespoon of olive or avocado oil (9, 11). If you spray your oil then you could potentially save thousands of calories over one year.

Let's do some math: let say you use a tablespoon of olive oil every day you cook = 120 calories x 365 days per year = 43,800 calories per year = 12.5 pounds worth of calories per year! Now let's calculate for spray oil: If you use 2 seconds of spray olive oil ( about 4-5 pumps with a spray oil bottle ) every day you cook = 14 calories x 365 days per year = 5,110 calories per year = 1.5 pounds worth of calories per year. Now, subtract 12.5 pounds per year on bottled olive oil habit - 1.5 pounds per year on spray oil habit = 11 pounds per year lost by switching from bottle to spray!

I favor the use of buying your own glass container and filling it with your own high quality oil rather than buying canned spray oils. Although store bought avocado oil and olive oil sprays are advertised as 0 calories for 1/3 second, the truth is they do have calories but under Food and Drug Administration rules if one serving has less than 5 calories it can be labeled as calorie free (10). In addition to deceptively marketing zero calories on the bottle of spray can oils many investigators have found additional chemicals and additives in spray can oils even when marketed as 100% oil (10-14). Other than oil some spray oils may contain chemicals and additives such as polydimethylsiloxane, soy lecithin, dimethyl silicone, Diacetyl, and propellants: butane, isobutane, and propane (12-15). Given the possible acute and long term side effects of the above chemicals and additives I don't buy spray oils for myself or my family so I would never recommend it to you.

"When it comes to weight loss and health the little things can add up" -Dr. Damien Hansra MD

Last thoughts

I prefer to use avocado oil over olive oil because it has a milder taste that I enjoy and also it has a higher smoke point than olive oil. The smoke point is the temperature at which it starts to degrade and release harmful chemicals therefore avocado oil does burn or smoke as quickly. I bought a glass container on Amazon for $7 and I store it in a cabinet out of the light as UV light can ruin your oil. If you can't store it in a dark place then buy the dark amber glass bottles. Last, you can also try spraying your morning toast and cutting down on butter with the spray oil technique. When it comes to weight loss find small things to change in your diet and in the long run you can achieve your goals over time.

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  1. De Souza RJ, Mente A, Maroleanu A, Cozma AI, Ha V, Kishibe T, Uleryk E, Budylowski P, Schünemann H, Beyene J, Anand SS. Intake of saturated and trans unsaturated fatty acids and risk of all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. BMJ. 2015 Aug 11;351:h3978.

  2. Hariri N, Gougeon R, Thibault L. A highly saturated fat-rich diet is more obesogenic than diets with lower saturated fat content. Nutr Res. 2010 Sep;30(9):632-43.

  3. Nettleton JA, Brouwer IA, Geleijnse JM, Hornstra G. Saturated Fat Consumption and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Ischemic Stroke: A Science Update. Ann Nutr Metab. 2017;70(1):26-33.

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  7. Dreher ML, Davenport AJ. Hass avocado composition and potential health effects. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(7):738-50.

  8. Flores M, Saravia C, Vergara CE, Avila F, Valdés H, Ortiz-Viedma J. Avocado Oil: Characteristics, Properties, and Applications. Molecules. 2019;24(11):2172. Published 2019 Jun 10.

  9. Avocado Oil vs. Olive Oil: Is One Healthier? Avocado Oil vs. Olive Oil: Is One Healthier? ( Accessed 08/17/21.

  10. Food and Drug Administration/ NUTRITION LABELING AND EDUCATION ACT (NLEA) REQUIREMENTS-ATTACHMENT 1 | FDA. Accessed 08/17/2021.

  11. Eat Out Eat Well. If Cooking Spray Is Made With Oil How Can It Be Calorie Free? If Cooking Spray Is Made With Oil How Can It Be Calorie Free? - Eat Out Eat Well. Accessed 08/17/21.

  12. Selo Olive. Is spray olive oil safe? Better alternatives... Is Olive Oil Spray Safe? Better Alternatives... | Selo Olive Oil. Accessed 08/17/21.

  13. CRISCO® OIL SPRAYS. Crisco® Oil Sprays | Truth In Advertising. Accessed 08/17/21.

  14. Mashed. The Sneaky Way Cooking Spray Can Add Extra Calories To Your Meal. Accessed 08/17/21.

  15. Fox News. The truth about what’s really in cooking sprays. The truth about what’s really in cooking sprays | Fox News. Accessed 08/17/21.


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