Now that you know what healthy fats are in Part 1 and Part 2, it’s important you understand how to use fats.  Proper utilization of fats in your diet can increase energy, decrease stress and cravings, and even help you lose body fat while improving the taste of your food.  There is more to fats than just eating the good ones and avoiding the bad though.

When cooking fats, it’s important that you keep your fats stable.  Cooking oils and meats at high heat actually causes changes in the fats.  When oils are repeatedly reused, or heated above their smoke point, they may build up toxic compounds or release them into the air.  Many oils and sources of fats also contain powerful antioxidants than can be destroyed by heat or denature over time.   It is easy to tell whether a cooking oil has been heated above its smoke point because starts to smoke and produce an unpleasant odor.  It’s best to use the lowest heat needed because damage can occur below the smoke point and you can lose some of those other beneficial nutrients at lower temperatures as well.

 

Oil Saturated Monounsaturated Polyunsaturated Smoke point
Almond 8% 66% 26% 221 °C (430 °F)
Avocado 12% 74% 14% 271 °C (520 °F)
Butter 66% 30% 4% 150 °C (302 °F)
Coconut oil 92% 6% 2% 177 °C (351 °F)
Lard 41% 47% 2% 138–201 °C (280–394 °F)[32]
Mustard oil 13% 60% 21% 254 °C (489 °F)
Olive oil (extra virgin) 14% 73% 11% 190 °C (374 °F)
Olive oil (virgin) 14% 73% 11% 215 °C (419 °F)
Palm oil 52% 38% 10% 230 °C (446 °F)
Peanut oil 18% 49% 33% 231 °C (448 °F)
Rice bran oil 20% 47% 33% 254 °C (489 °F)
Soybean oil 15% 24% 61% 241 °C (466 °F)
Sunflower oil (high oleic)[34] 9% 82% 9%
Sunflower oil (linoleic) 11% 20% 69% 246 °C (475 °F)
Walnut (Semi-refined) 9% 23% 63% 204 °C (399 °F)[35]

 

I personally do all my cooking on low heat using an enamel coated cast iron skillet.  Cooking slower also preserves more nutrients in the food and the natural flavors.  Some of you may be aware of the negative effects of over heating certain foods like red meats.  Cooking at low temperature ultimately reduces the risk of creating bad elements, and increases the natural nutrients of the food you will be ingesting.

How and where your fats are stored is also important.  Some fats are more stable at room temperature while others are best preserved in a refrigerator or cooler conditions. For oils, the typical place is above the oven or on the counter for most people.   These are two of the worst places because they get warm, and the counter is exposed to light which can damage the antioxidants in the fats.  A cool pantry or the fridge is a better option for most oils.

What should I eat with my fats?

The best things to have with fats in your diet are high fiber vegetables and protein.  Fiber is crucial so that some of the fats make it to the colon where they can be digested by the beneficial flora in the lower digestive tract.  The byproduct of this later digestion is short chain fatty acids, which increase insulin sensitivity and help reduce cardiovascular risk. Eating fiber with your fats is a great way to use fat to get lean.

Avoid eating fats with high carb foods.  Fat plus insulin is not the best for staying lean.  The reason for fat’s negative rap is the common association of high fat and high sugar foods.  If you think of our natural evolution, there are no natural food sources where there are high amounts of fat and carbohydrates.  Our system does not deal with fats and insulin at the same time very well.  The nice thing about fats though, is because they improve the flavor and sustenance of your meals, you should find yourself craving fewer and fewer carbohydrates.

OLIVE OIL by The Health Food Companion from Tomm Coles on Vimeo.


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