Food, What the heck should I eat? Series-Fats & Oils

When you hear the word fat, do you cringe? We’ve heard lot of mixed messages, eat high-fat, no, eat low fat. It’s consistently changing. I used to think fats were a big no, no. Then I learned you don’t need to fear fats, just make sure you consume the right kind. 

You heard the saying “Fat that passes through your lips ends up on your hips?” Well, not entirely true, the right fats can actually help speed up your metabolism and help lose weight. 

We’ve heard great things about Omega-3 fats, and yes, they are “essential” for life. They are found in fatty fish, seafood, eggs, grass-fed meat, flaxseeds, algae, and walnuts. 

Now Omega-6 fats can be both good and bad. Good: Nuts, seeds, small amount of grains, & beans  Bad: Highly refined vegetable oils and ultra processed packaged foods. 

Americans are getting almost 10% of their calories from refined soybean oil (most abundant source of omega 6) and it’s everywhere fast foods, grains (think bagels or pasta), desserts, packaged snacks, potato chips, muffins, conventionally raised meat, or almost anything cooked in a cafeteria, diner or restaurant.

Monounsaturated fats…yes! For example, olive oil, nuts and nut oils (not peanut oil), avocados, other plants and animal foods. But, monounsaturated fats are also in canola oil but here it is refined and bleached with strong chemicals and high heat. 

Trans fats: Hydrogenated trans fats, think margarine, Crisco vegetable shortening, fake-butter spreads. They contribute to chronic inflammation, diabetes, obesity, dementia, and even the risk of cancer. Avoid the word hydrogenated in ingredient labels. Even if the front of the package says “zero” trans fats, you can’t trust it, you must check the ingredients label. 

Olive oil can be tricky. Olive oil is great for salads, raw, or in sauces and gravies slow-cooked over low heat. Olive oil can be harmful when used for cooking. Olive oil has a low smoke point, therefore, if you cook it over high heat it oxidizes, and releases toxic substances. Another tip, make sure the olive oil is real and not fake, believe it or not, it’s a major source of income for criminal organizations in Italy.  True extra virgin olive oil is dark green in color and tastes strongly like olives. 

To make it simple:

Organic, cold-pressed, extra virgin oil (use it on salads, if you use it for cooking make sure it is only at a very low temperature) 

Organic Virgin Coconut oil use for cooking at higher temperatures

Get most of your fats from: Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, grass-fed dairy, avocados, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, and grass fed butter. 

Stay away from refined vegetable oils, seed oils, and bad omega-6 fats, they contribute to inflammation and chronic diseases. 

Key to remember: Remember the saying “Fat that passes through your lips ends up on your hips?” This is when it is true. Fats combined with starch or sugar are a rapid track for weight gain, think French fries, ice cream, buttered bread, and pasta with cream sauce, crackers, cookies, desserts.

So, what the heck should I eat?

Organic avocado oil

Butter from pastured, grass fed cows or goats

Grass feed ghee (clarified butter) 

Organic virgin coconut oil 

Organic, humanely raised tallow (beef fat)

Organic, humanely raised lard (pork fat)

Organic, humanely raised duck fat

Organic, humanely raised chicken fat

Use these raw, but don’t cook with them:

Organic extra virgin olive oil

Walnut oil

Almond oil

Macadamia oil

Sesame seed oil

Tahini (sesame seed paste)

Flax oil

Hemp oil

What should I avoid?

Soybean oil

Canola oil

Corn oil

Safflower oil

Sunflower oil

Palm oil

Peanut oil

Vegetable oil

Vegetable Shortening

Margarine

“Hydrogenated”

Anything else that looks fake

Which oils do you use? Which ones will you try? What information did you find surprising?

Vanessa Flores