May 15, 2016

Fat Is Not Our Enemy – Part 1

You may need a magnifier to read some of the products mentioned in the image below. However, you can read about each item here. I would urge you to read this as well on Facebook.

Which fat is for frying? Don’t use the typically large bottles of cheap vegetable and seed oil such as sunflower and corn oil. They contain a high proportion of Omega-6 fatty acids of which most of us already get too much in our diets and some of the commercial processing methods are questionable. The ‘least bad’ of these big bottle solutions is probably rapeseed oil, sometimes marketed as colza, though remember that it is highly processed, purified and bleached before it passes through a de-odoriser to take away the 'cabbagy' smell, although admittedly, it is richer in Omega-3. These seed oils also emit unhealthy elements into the air where you are cooking when heated so - be careful with them.

Martin Grootveld, professor of bio-analytical chemistry and chemical pathology at De Montfort University, was asked in 2015 to investigate the "healthiest" oils to cook with for the BBC series Trust Me I'm a Doctor. We know that when fats and oils are heated the molecular structure changes, producing chemicals called aldehydes that have been linked to heart disease and cancer even in small quantities. But what his team discovered surprised even him. They found that sunflower oil and corn oil produced aldehydes (which are toxic compounds) at levels 20 times higher than recommended by the World Health Organization. Many people are not aware of the aldehydes and their toxic nature.
  • Saturated fats are good for you so it’s quite OK (even beneficial to your health) to use beef dripping, butter, coconut oil and goose fat!
  • ... Especially coconut oil, sometimes labeled as coconut butter, is heart-healthy. It doesn’t go easily rancid and has a high smoke point, so it’s great for frying. Some people say it has too much taste but in it’s mostly the distinctive smell that reminds you of its origins.
  • The cheaper olive oils have a relatively high smoke point but they go rancid more quickly than the above-mentioned fats and oils so keep in a cool dark place. Extra virgin is better kept for salads.
  • Ghee - make your own clarified butter to allow for higher cooking temperatures and store it, for months if needed, in your fridge; Ghee is both delicious & nutritious.
Aldehydes = Any of a class of reactive organic chemical compounds obtained by oxidation of primary alcohols, characterized by the common group CHO, and used in the manufacture of resins, dyes, and organic acids.

When it comes to fats and oils, there are three degrees of saturation. Your cooking choices are: saturated fat, mono-unsaturated fat and poly-unsaturated fat; although you won't find that on the label. Importantly, the first two are much more resistant to heating.

The third group, poly-unsaturated fats deserve our attention because they can be so rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which the body needs because it cannot make them itself. As a general guideline, our diets have become too rich in Omega-6 so we need to seek out as many ways of ingesting Omega-3 as possible… preferably through fresh foods rather than pills. On this message, all nutritionists agree, but not necessarily when it comes to reducing Omega-6.

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