Fats: Keep the Good and Ditch the Bad
Fat is an essential macronutrient that supports your brain function, hormones, immune system and heart health.
There are two types of fat: one that supports these functions and another that busts all of these (brain, hormones, immune system, heart health, and moods).
That is why the information I’m sharing in this blog post is so important.
As a general rule, eating whole foods will ensure you’re eating health-boosting fats since they’re the least processed.
But, you already knew that, right?
So let me give you the lowdown on the fats to keep and the fats to ditch.
Fats to Keep
Health-boosting fats are found in:
- Nuts and seeds (hemp, flax, and chia)
Make sure that you choose “virgin” oils. Getting the oil out of a whole food involves some processing. Sometimes it’s by squeezing or heating. Other times it’s by using chemical solvents. The word “virgin” is used to show minimal processing (and no solvents!).
According to the World Health Organization’s Codex Alimentarius:
“Virgin fats and oils are edible vegetable fats, and oils obtained, without altering the nature of the oil, by mechanical procedures, e.g., expelling or pressing, and the application of heat only. They may be purified by washing with water, settling, filtering and centrifuging only.”
For example, extra virgin olive oil must:
- Be cold pressed
- Not contain any refined olive oil
- Possess superior quality based on chemical composition and sensory characteristics.
Don’t you think these standards ensure higher quality? I sure do!
Plus, the minimal processing helps to maintain some of the quality of delicate fat molecules, as well as their antioxidants. Win-win!
Fats to Ditch
Health-busting fats come from:
- Seed and vegetable oils like safflower, soybean, and corn oils
- Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated
Hydrogenated oils are particularly bad; this is because they contain small amounts of “trans” fats. Studies show that trans-fats lead to insulin resistance, inflammation and belly fat. They also drastically raise the risk of heart disease. Lose-lose!
Don’t forget, we’re not just talking about buying bottles of these fats for home cooking. We’re also looking at the processed foods that contain them.
How to get more health-building fats
First, you have my permission to ditch any foods in your cupboards that contain safflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, or any hydrogenated oil. Soybean oil alone accounts for over 75% of oils consumed by Americans, so it’s pretty popular in the “non-health food” department.
Second, try substituting one of the health-building oils whenever you have a recipe that calls for the other stuff. Try flax oil in your salad dressing, avocado and/or olive oil in your cooking, and coconut oil in your baking.
Third, make healthier versions of your go-to processed foods. I’ll help you out now with my super-simple mayonnaise recipe below. It’s way better for you than the unrefrigerated stuff you find at your grocery store.
Now tell me: What’s your favorite fat and why? Let me know in the comments below.
Mayonnaise Recipe (makes about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 large or extra large egg
- 1 cup olive or avocado oil
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ tsp salt
- Add all ingredients except oil to your food processor
- Process until creamy (about 10 seconds)
- With the food processor running, add a few drops of oil into the egg mixture
- Every few seconds add a few more drops
- Continue until the mixture starts to thicken
- Stop pouring, every once in a while checking that the oil gets fully incorporate
- Store leftovers in a covered container in the fridge for up to 1-2 weeks
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: Use this in place of mayonnaise for egg, salmon, chicken salads, etc.
Dr. Anna ND
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/labelling/food-labelling-for-industry/fats-and-oils/eng/1392751693435/1392751782638?chap=5
- All About Healthy Fats. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-healthy-fats
- The Cooking Oil Comparison Chart. https://eatingrules.com/cooking-oil-comparison-chart/
- Why Extra Virgin Olive Oil is The Healthiest Fat on Earth https://authoritynutrition.com/extra-virgin-olive-oil/
- Saturated Fat: Good or Bad? https://authoritynutrition.com/saturated-fat-good-or-bad/