I Heart Fats
Fat. I'm sure the word conjures up an image that is anything but sexy. The truth is we've been told our entire lives that fat is gross, unhealthy, ugly, will kill us, etc. etc. I'm not sure if you're on board yet with the unveiling of fats for health, but if you're not, you need to be. The invaluable information below is gathered from a document that Caroline Berringer, NTP, CHFS, FES put together to educate the students of the Nutritional Therapy Association regarding fats. I must give her all the credit for this. You can find her document in the link provided (1).
According to Caroline Berringer, there is a dangerously flawed theory, which started circulating in the 1950's, that low-fat diets are best for our health. Taking it a step further, vegetable fats have been promoted as the healthier option over animal fats. Chances are the fats and oils you've been purchasing from your local grocer are denatured, refined, unstable and quite dangerous to consume. Due to their processing methods, these fats are quite poisonous to our bodies causing us much harm. It's my goal to help spread the truth about fats to clear up the negativity around them and to help you choose the right ones for the right purposes and leave the others on the shelf where they've already been rotting.
But first, it's of paramount importance to understand the benefits fats have in the diet.
Why We Need Fats in Our Diet
- Help to satisfy our appetites making us feel satiated and keeping us full until the next meal
- Aid in the production of healthy hormones, mostly the sex hormones
- Enhance mineral absorption in the diet
- Provide a long-burning source of energy — especially for the heart (surprise!)
- More efficient source of energy than glucose (sugar)
- Build healthy bile; the substance used to digest fats and emulsify them for digestion
- Nourish every cell in our bodies by maintaining healthy cell membranes
- Aid in the formation of anti-inflammatory substances in the body (inflammation is the cause of most diseases)
- Allow us to heal quickly and effectively
Cooking With Fats
The most stable and healthful fats for cooking at high temperatures are animal fats and tropical oils which belong to the saturated fat family. These saturated fats and cholesterol have been wrongly accused as the cause of heart disease. Thankfully there's new research showing that dietary cholesterol intake has very little to do with overall cholesterol levels. The truth is that there were very few cases of heart disease before the 1920's when saturated fats were used in the kitchen in abundance. Once Americans began consuming less saturated animal fats and increased the amounts of vegetable fats is when cases of heart disease started to rise. Wake up people!
Unsafe Fats to Consume Under Any Circumstances
- Canola Oil
- Cottonseed Oil
Unsafe for Any Heat Exposure
- Pumpkin Oil
- Safflower Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Vegetable/Soybean Oil
- Corn Oil
- Flax Oil
- Hemp Oil
- Pine Nut Oil
Safer For Cooking
- Avocado Oil
- Macadamia Nut Oil
- Sesame Oil
- Olive Oil
- Peanut Oil
Safest Fats to Cook With
- Tallow, Beef or Lamb
- Chicken, Duck and Goose Fat
- Coconut Oil
- Red Palm Oil
- Tea Seed Oil
Chemically Processed Fats
Avoid all fats, oils and products that have been processed with the following terms.
- Cold-processed (confused with "cold-pressed")
- Extra Virgin
- First-cold pressed or Cold-pressed
For more details regarding types of fats, extraction processes and more please go to Caroline Barringer's document, Fats: Safer Choices for your Frying Pan and Your Health, which can be found here.