We are told by many websites, blogs and different people to eat certain fats and avoid other fats, leaving us all confused. Most of the times we end up trying to avoids some fats, when in fact many of them are very healthy and necessary for the wellbeing and good function of our body!
Fats are needed to provide energy, keep us warm and protect from injury. Refined cooking oils have all nutrients stripped out (like white sugar). And those are the ones we have to avoid.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 are two essential fats we need. They help to regulate inflammation. When lacking, certain diseases can occur: heart disease, diabetes, join and skin problems, some types of cancers, etc...
Nowadays we are told that coconut oil is the best to cook with (and it is!) but let me tell you a fact: Real butter is just as good. They are both saturated fats and they both do the same job: They don't oxide with heat! They have pretty much the same calories, fats etc. The only difference is one is vegetable origin and the other is animal origin. They are both as good to cook with and to consume! So if you were avoiding butter is time to include it again in your shopping list!
When I say "real butter" I refer to butter which is hard (saturated) not any of the spreadable versions.
To prove the facts above here is a table that compare coconut oil vs. Butter:
As you can see there is not much difference between the 2 and actually butter has slightly less calories than the coconut oil.
Ghee is another amazing product you can use to cook. Ghee (Clarified Butter) A staple in traditional Indian cooking and Ayurvedic medicine, ghee is made through a simple process of boiling butter and then pouring off the butterfat, leaving behind the proteins (casein and whey) and the milk solids (which includes lactose)
So those above were saturated fats. Now lets talk about Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated, hydrogenated and trans-fats!
Monounsaturated: These fats are abundant in Olive and canola oils. They lower bad cholesterol, leaving the good cholesterol unchanged.
Don't be afraid of eating avocado! Avocado is an excellent source of fibre and good fats necessary in our body, it is high in B vitamins and it is a good antioxidant. Also rich in potassium and contains anti-inflammatory properties.
I actually hate when some diets tell you not to eat avocado, but tells you to eat their processed cereal bars! (bit silly, don't you think?)
Olive oil oxides a bit when cooking but is the second best option to cook with after coconut oil and butter. Extra virgin olive is very good to add to salads raw as it has so many beneficial properties for our health.
Polyunsaturated: Abundant in corn, soy and sunflower oil. This type of fats tends to lower both good and bad cholesterol.
They oxide when heated and they are mostly refined to a point where they stripp out all their nutrients. These types of oil are not recommended to cook with.
Some of these oils are very high in Omega 6 which they are very good to consume without heating them up! So you can add them on salads, porridge, soups and smoothies after cooking them to get all the nutrients from them!
The following picture show this healthy oils that have many nutrients and health benefits to consume raw. (not heated):
Hydrogenated Fats: This fat results from a process where hydrogen atoms are added back to polyunsaturated or monounsaturated in order to protect rancidity (to increase shelf-life) and turns oils into spreadable fats. This procedure causes hydrogenated fats to become saturated fats, but in the process also generates trans-fats (see below). Thats why spreadable butter aren't good. Always check ingredients and make sure the word trans-fats or hydrogenated aren't in any spreadable butters you buy. I personally just avoid them:
Trans-fats are unnatural fats and have dose-related toxic effects in the body. This is why we should avoid them. As you know I always promote 1 or 2 cheat meals a week. Which means you have ate 80% healthy 20%unhealthy. If you do it the other way around this could bring you terrible long term health problems!