Healthy Fats & Dangerous Fats

September 24, 2019
Lyndall McAlpine

All fat is NOT created equal!

Fat is one of the three critical macronutrients along with protein and carbohydrates.

Some fats are super-health-boosting and others are super-health-busting. 

Health-boosting fats support your brain, hormones, immune system, heart health, and moods. Health-busting fats pretty much bust all of these. So it’s important to be choosing the right ones.

Here’s a definitive list of the fats to use and the fats to ditch.

Health Boosting Fats

Health-boosting fats are from:

  • Nuts and seeds (inc hemp, flax & chia)
  • Fish
  • Seaweed 
  • Pasture-raised/grass-fed animals/eggs/butter
  • Olives
  • Avocados
  • Coconuts
Virgin fats and oils

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 – purified by washing with water, settling, filtering and centrifuging only, and no solvents! Plus, the minimal processing helps to maintain some of the quality of delicate fat molecules, as well as their antioxidants.

Extra virgin olive oil must:
  • Be cold pressed
  • Not contain any refined olive oil 
  • Possess superior quality based on chemical composition and sensory characteristics.

Health-busting fats

Health-busting fats are from:

  • Seed & vegetable oils like safflower, soybean & corn oils
  • Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils.
Hydrogenated oils

Hydrogenated oils are particularly bad! This is because they contain small amounts of “trans” fats. Studies show that trans fats lead to among other things insulin resistance, inflammation & belly fat. They also drastically raise the risk of heart disease. A good reason to ditch any foods in your cupboards that contain safflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, or any hydrogenated oil.

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.

How to get more health-building fats

  1. First simple step is to ditch any foods in your cupboards that contain safflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, or any hydrogenated oil. 
  2. Try substituting one of the health-boosting oils whenever you have a recipe that calls for the other stuff. Try flax oil or even flavourless mct oil in your salad dressing, avocado and/or olive oil in your cooking, and coconut oil in your baking.
  3. Third, make healthier versions of your go-to processed foods.

Here’s a super-simple, healthy mayonnaise recipe. It’s way better for you than the unrefrigerated stuff you find on the shop shelves.

What’s your favorite fat and why? Let me know in the comments below.