Oils ain't oils

Oils ain’t oils

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So what should what sort of fats and oils are good for us? It’s all a little bit confusing and information changes all the time. For instance, not so long ago we were told that eggs were bad for us. Yes, they contain cholesterol, but there’s no evidence that they raise your cholesterol, so enjoy the yolk – it’s where the goodness is.

Saturated fats
They are stable in your body, don’t mind being heated and are not prone to going rancid. Classic examples include butter, lard, goose fat, and our favourite coconut oil. When our forebears ate lots of lardy products, heart disease was rare (circa 1920s). Since the 1950s, the consumption of animal products, like butter, has continually declined and yet heart disease remains a real issue. Makes you wonder doesn’t it, are saturated fats the great evil we are led to believe?

Trans-fatty acids
These are the ones I really don’t like. In a process called hydrogenation, a normally liquid oil gets turned into a solid, eg. margarine and shortening. In this process, the cheapest oils are used – soy, corn, canola – and mixed with tiny metal particles – usually nickel oxide. Our bodies really don’t like these (go figure), they block the utilisation of essential fatty acids and guess what – they increase your cholesterol. Trans-fats are found in packaged foods, fast foods, deep fried foods, margarines, spreads and many other foods.

Fat and oils I like
I cook with – coconut oil, ghee, bit of butter, a little sesame or extra virgin olive oil (the cool kids call it EVOO).
I dress my salads with – EVOO, flax seed or some yummy nut oil.

For a really interesting read and yummy recipes, I highly recommend Sally Fallon’s ‘Nourishing Traditions’ and where much of this information comes from. She will challenge the way you think about many foods.

It’s a big subject worthy of an evening seminar (please let me know if you are interested).