You might remember a time when fat was demonized. But, all fat is not created equal!
Fats are one of the three critical macronutrients; along with protein and carbohydrates. Some fats are super health promoting while others are super health busting.
In this post I will be separating the health boosting fats from the health busing fats.
Heath building fats support your brain, hormones, immune system, heart health, and moods. Health busting fats pretty much bust all of these (brain, hormones, immune system, heart health, and moods). So, therefore the information I’m sharing today is so important.
As a general rule, the fats from whole foods that are the least processed will be the healthiest for you. But, you knew that already, right?
So, let me give you a definitive list of the fats to use and the fats to ditch.
Health boosting fat are from:
- Nuts & seeds (hemp, flax, and chia)
- Pasture-raised/grass fed animals/eggs
“Virgin” oils are my favorites, and here’s why. 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.
Do you think these standards ensure a higher quality product, I do!
Plus, the minimal processing helps to maintain some of the quality of delicate fat molecules, and their antioxidants. Win!
Now let’s talk about health busting fats.
Health-busting fats are from:
- Seed and vegetable oils like safflower, soybean, and corn oils
- Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils
Hydrogenated oil is 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 increase the risk of heart disease. Yikes!
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.
Here are three ideas for getting more health-building fats.
- You have my permission to ditch any foods in your cupboard the contain safflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil or hydrogenated oil. Soybean oil alone accounts for over 75% of oil consumed by Americans, so it’s pretty popular ingredient.
- 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.
- Make healthier versions of your go-to processed foods. I’m giving you a super-simple mayonnaise recipe to start you on your way. It’s far better for you than the unrefrigerated stuff you find at the grocery store.
Now let me know your favorite fat and why in the comments below.
Recipe (healthy fat): Mayonnaise
Makes about 1 ½ cups
1 large or extra-large egg
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic
1 cup of olive or avocado oil
- 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 mixture starts to thicken.
- Now you can do a slow drizzle. Stop pouring, every once in a while, checking that the oil gets fully incorporated.
- Store leftovers in a covered container in the fridge for up to 1-2 weeks.
Serve and enjoy!
Tip: Use this in place of mayonnaise for egg, salmon, and chicken salads, etc.