Butter and healthy fats are delicious and healthy, yes healthy! So why have they been vilified for so long, well the truth is that money talks and influences far more so in this world than truth.
In her book, The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat, and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, Nina Teicholz reveals the truth about healthy fats. Stop cheating your health and taste buds and become informed.
For far to long healthy fats have been lumped into the lies, myths and misinformation about fat that have become believed and regurgitated by so many. This is not to say that there are not unhealthy fats, there certainly are but not all fats are unhealthy. Healthy fats are necessary for a healthy body and life. One very important note on fats and oils of any kind is that never should they be over heated. The heat level is different for different types of fat and oils, so it is important to understand this when cooking and using. Example, Olive oil should never he heated, I use butter extensively in cooking and baking, coconut oil in higher heat cooking.
Most countries have regulated or outright banned the use of harmful trans fats, and the food industry has changed to the use of vegetable oils. While the banning of trans-fat is a very good move, unfortunately a move to industrial produced vegetable oil is far from an ideal or healthy replacement. Like trans-fat, vegetable and even nut oils when over heated degrade and oxidize, and it is this oxidation that makes the oils toxic. One very important byproduct of oxidation of oil is called aldehyde (cyclic aldehydes) formation, which studies have shown cause high levels of inflammation and increased LDL cholesterol (another misunderstood function in the human body – more on this in an upcoming article) associated with increased heart disease.
In addition to inflammation and LDL damage, animal studied have also shown that cyclic aldehydes cause toxic shock through gastric damage, which in addition to gastrointestinal related disease also is consistent with the rise in immune problems. Fat in the diet has been inaccurately associated with increased heart disease and LDL cholesterol primarily due to flawed and manipulated research in the past. Lumping all fats under “fats” has vilified the good and essential fats along with the bad.
The magic in saturated fat
Essential fats as one person in the documentary movie on fat and carbohydrates “Cereal Killers” states “there is magic in fat” is quite correct. Healthy essential fats are just that, both healthy and essential for good health. In effect there is magic in fat!
We all seem to know that olive oil is good for you but saturated fats from animals (beef, pork, lamb, chicken with the skin, full cream dairy etc) and tropical vegetables (coconut oil, palm oil etc) have been vilified as bad for you, when in fact they are essential and offer your body a large number of health benefits. Your body cannot function without saturated fats as it needs them for the healthy function of your; Bones, Cell Membranes, Heart, Hormones, Immune system, Liver, Lungs, Weight Loss (they satiate/reduction of hunger, aid in the burning of body fats and sugar), insulin regulation/resistance and Genetic Regulation.
When you look at the list of body organs and functions above that are influenced by saturated fats, there really isn;t much more left in the human body that saturated fats in a diet don’t benefit. The proper use of fats and oils is important to the health benefits or damage that oils and fats offer.
Using fats and oils properly
As stated previously, not all oils and fats can be used in the same manner. Some old should only be used cold or at room temperature while others can be lightly heated and others can be heated to greater degrees. Oil and fats should never be heated to a degree that they smoke or darken, at this point the oil of fat has become oxidized and toxic.
Cold oils: These are oils that have a very low heat or smoke threshold, they should never be heated as oxidation of the oil occurs quite quickly. These oils include; olive, sesame, cold pressed nut and seed oils, butter.
Light heated or warmed oils: These are oils with a slightly higher heat or smoke threshold and can be warmed. These oils should not be used for deep or pan frying of foods. Heating these oils slightly enhances the flavour of the oils and is about the only reason to heat them. These oils include all of the cold oils.
Higher heat oils: Deep frying or high heat frying of food, while not fully recommended by me, if done should be done at temperatures between 350° and 375° Fahrenheit. Lower than 325° and the oil will be absorbed into the food, making for greasy food. Higher than 375° and oxidation in the oil forms and become toxic. The oils to use include: Animal fats (Lard and Tallow), palm oil, coconut oil, butter, safflower, sunflower, peanut (allergy alert), vegetable oil such as canola (I do not use or recommend vegetable oils or canola, or corn(gmo) or soy (gmo)).
For more on oils and fats to use and not use – go here
Don’t fear the fat as there is magic in fat.