" The science that saturated fat alone causes heart disease is non-existent. The science that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol is also very weak. Since we now know that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, the concern about saturated fat is even more absurd today.” - Dr. Dwight Lundell, MD Cardiologist
You heard the man! The age-old thinking that fat makes you fat and causes heart disease is absolute rubbish and not backed up by science whatsoever. In fact, the research linking white flour, white sugar and chemical additives to cancer and coronary heart disease is much stronger. Lesson learned: eat real food…you know, the kind your grandmother used to serve before our pantries got filled with the manufactured artificial junk. Explain to me how fat-free margarin made with 30+ ingredients is better for you than butter. You can't, because it isn't. Go ahead, FIGHT ME!
Look at this research conducted by the NHDS on heart attacks since 1979:
1900: Heart disease is rare Butter Consumption: 18 lbs. per person, yearly Vegetable Oil Consumption: 11 lbs. per person, yearly
2012: Heart disease is the leading cause of death Butter Consumption: 4 lbs. per person, yearly Vegetable Oil Consumption: 59 lbs. per person, yearly
We are clearly being fed the WRONG INFORMATION. If you're thinking to yourself, but I never use vegetable oil…think again. It's in everything. Cereal, potato chips, salad dressings, etc. Read, re-read and read again the nutrition labels of what you're feeding your body and the growing bodies of your children.
More to the point - The Healthiest Cooking Oils:
1. Ghee (clarified butter)
Since going Paleo, I've heard so much about Ghee and have yet to use it! Apparently you can buy it or make your own from butter.“Ghee is rich in the fat soluble vitamins A, D, and K2. It is also rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) — the essential fatty acid found almost exclusively in grass-fed animals which is now believed to protect against cancer, heart disease, and type II diabetes.” (source) My lactose intolerant friends will be happy to know that the milk solids are eliminated from ghee, so it's a casein and lactose-free fat.
Best used: when cooking in a skillet (e.g. eggs, stir frys, sautéed veggies, etc.)
2. Coconut Oil
Just the other day I was relaying a recipe to a client and when I mentioned coconut oil he gasped and said, "coconut oil!? Nicole! that's terrible for you." It should be mentioned that he's a retired doctor and quite…grey, so his nutrition education is a bit dated, if you will. Don't worry, I set him straight. Coconut oil is in fact, very good for you and has been said to aid in weight loss, support heart health, boost metabolism and benefit skin (source).
Best used: in baked goods or in savory dishes (e.g. Thai food) where the slight nutty flavor will compliment the taste.
3. Olive Oil
Another great heart healthy fat, olive oil contains beneficial antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Be warned: Some companies get away with mixing olive oil with cheap vegetable oils, so look for the "100%" claim and make sure you're getting what you pay for.
Best used: for cold foods (e.g. salad dressing) or with low-heat cooking
4. Palm Oil
Palm oil is a great healthy option for high heat cooking. It is made from the palm fruit which is native to africa. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding palm oil because many palm oil plantations have contributed to the decimation of the rainforest. However, you can source responsible and sustainably harvested palm oil.
Best used: for high-heat cooking
Repeat after me, not all butter is bad. One poorly done research study and the world decides to boycott butter, or use acai berries in absolutely everything. Reign it in folks. In short, our bodies (the brain especially) need dietary cholesterol in order to function properly. So you can all stop freaking out about eggs and butter. Don't believe me? Read up on why butter is a health food here. PS. Buy grassfed.
Best used: in baking and low-heat cooking (e.g. eggs…hm, imagine that)
The oils you think are healthy but in fact, aren't: grapeseed oil, canola oil/rapeseed oil, vegetable oil/soybean oil, vegan butter substitutes and corn oil.
You can find more information on the 5 worst oils to cook with here. What do you cook with?
Eat well. Live well. Be well.