The Oil Lowdown

The Oil Lowdown— Which Oils to Use in the Kitchen

It’s becoming common knowledge that healthy dietary fat does not make you fat; in fact, healthy fats and oils are important to a well-rounded eating plan. Healthy fats rebuild cells, support hormones, support the brain and neurotransmitters, which makes them necessary for a healthy diet. The question is which fats should you use?

Oils and Fats You Should Avoid

Let’s start with the fats to AVOID. These include vegetable oil, canola oil (rapeseed), corn oil, and soybean oil. The main reason these fats are such an unhealthy source is due to the processing (over processing) in which unnaturally high temperatures are used, causing oxidation and rancidity. Then they are processed with a petroleum solvent to extract the oil from the seed, before being treated with more chemicals. Some of these are also hydrogenated (hydrogenated fats turn into trans fats in the body). The oxidation process cause inflammation and cell mutation, which is linked to cancer, heart disease, endrometriosis, and other health issues.

Synthetic trans fat is the worst kind of fat because it increases unhealthy LDL cholesterol while decreasing healthy HDL cholesterol. Because of this, you should avoid synthetic trans fat completely. Here’s a list of commonly places you’ll find trans fat:

  • Shortening
  • Margarine
  • Fried foods (fried in unhealthy oils like the ones listed above)
  • Anything that has “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredients (even if the Nutrition Facts shows 0 Trans Fat)
  • Ramen noodles
  • Fast food
  • Frozen food like pies, waffles, pizzas, and fish sticks
  • Donuts
  • Potato chips and crackers
  • Frozen non-dairy whipped toppings

Basically, processed foods are more likely to have trans fat, so they should be avoided whenever possible.


Oils and Fats to Include in Your Diet

On the other hand, there are good oils that are healthy and should be included in the diet. Here are some fats and oils that you should include in your diet.


Is Saturated Fat Really Bad for You?

Despite popular belief, saturated fat is not bad for you as has been believed for the last 50 years or so. Though many believe that eating foods high in saturated fats will lead to heart attacks, the truth is that healthy sources of saturated fats actually boost your energy levels and they slow down absorption so you can go longer before you start feeling hungry. Some vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E, and K, need fat to be absorbed by the body and saturated fats are great carriers for these vitamins.

Here are some sources of healthy saturated fat:

  • Butter (made from grass-fed raw organic milk)
  • Coconut oil
  • Avocados
  • Raw Dairy
  • Organic nut oils like walnuts
  • Raw nuts
  • Organic pastured egg yolks
  • Grass fed meats

Now that you know what fats and oils are healthy and which are not, let’s talk about which ones to use in the kitchen.

Coconut Oil — Great for Frying and Baking

When it comes to cooking, coconut oil is just the best oil to use for cooking foods. Unlike oils like vegetable oil, sunflower oil and canola oil, which are susceptible to heat damage and wreak havoc on your body, coconut oil is able to be heated while still promoting heart health. It also helps with weight loss and thyroid function. It can also be used in baked goods.

Avocado Oil — Great for Frying and Baking

Another great oil to use for cooking is avocado oil. Avocados are very healthy and studies suggest that they provide long-term health benefits including helping to prevent cancer. In addition to frying, you can also use avocados in place of fat in recipes, such as ones that call for oil, butter or shortening, by replacing it one to one. For example, if it calls for 1/2 cup oil, replace with 1/2 cup avocado.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil — Great Drizzled over Foods

Extra virgin olive oil may seem like another great oil to cook with. It’s a good source of monounsaturated fats and it’s known to have many health benefits. Even so, it should not be used in cooking. Why not, if it has so many health benefits? Because as it’s heated, it becomes very susceptible to oxidative damage Olive oil is awesome for dressings and drizzled over things like grilled vegetables. It can be mixed with many different ingredients to create new flavors and then used as a dressing. Remember to store olive oil in a cool, dark place and immediately replace the cap after you’re done using it. This will reduce oxidative damage and prevent it from going rancid as quickly, so it will last longer.

When it comes to cooking in the kitchen, using the right fats and oils can mean increasing your health and your energy. And remember, fats in food don’t make you fat! They’re part of a health-filled diet.


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