Healthy and Unhealthy Fats
I wrote a post earlier about “saturated fats” and how at one time we were ministered to about how bad they were for us. We were told that there was a difference between healthy and unhealthy fats.
Back in the day when the first food pyramid showed up, there was a larger section for proteins and fats; because according to the author of that food pyramid, (before the USDA got hold of it) fats were necessary for our body and brain to function.
According to the “story”, way back then, we were already being lied to. The very first food pyramid looked nothing like it does today. Back then scientists and the USDA changed the whole food pyramid and then told us that saturated fats were really bad for us; especially our hearts.
Well, no one bothered to test that theory so it was all just hearsay; nothing about what the USDA and these scientists told us was true. There are healthy and unhealthy fats; especially when it comes to saturated and unsaturated.
So I want to give us all a brief bit of re-education on what “fat” is, where it comes from, and what it does for us.
Healthy and unhealthy fats come from different sources; animal products and plant oils. When we add them to processed foods, we end up with four different types of fats.
four totally different healthy and unhealthy fats
Saturated, Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated, and Trans Fats/Hydrogenated Fats.
We all know that the worst and most dangerous kind of fat (at least for us) is Trans Fats or Hydrogenated Fats. These fats contribute to heart disease and are being removed from the food industry. If you find any food with “hydrogenated” in the label, it should be avoided at all cost.
The last time labels were checked, according to The Truth Behind The Diabetes Epidemic, items such as frozen cookie dough, refrigerated rolls such as crescent rolls, chips, and supermarket cakes and frosting all contained trans or hydrogenated fats. This kind of fat could be found in basically anything that would have used butter in the past. This fat is so hard for our bodies to clear; it takes about 90 days for our bodies to be rid of it.
Saturated Fats are solid at room temperature. They are extremely resistant to becoming rancid. You can associate this fat with meats, dairy products, and eggs. Coconut oil and nuts are mostly saturated as well. You might see coconut oil more and more these days on your grocery store shelves since it is fast becoming the go to fat for pretty much everything. In fact, people eat it by the spoon full for energy.
Monounsaturated is liquid at room temperature. It is quite vulnerable to becoming rancid. The number one oil provided in this class is Olive Oil.
Polyunsaturated is found only in small quantities and is extremely vulnerable to becoming rancid. This is mostly found in nuts, flaxseed, and fish oils.
Stepping back in time to the theory about saturated fats being bad for our hearts, researchers believed that saturated fat would raise our LDL. When they saw people who had heart disease, also had high LDL, it was from those two things that they concluded that saturated fat must cause heart disease.
But they never turned it the other way to look for people who had high LDL and didn’t have heart disease. Turns out it’s quite a common thing to have high LDL but not have heart disease. It could have been that they might have found the real culprit of heart disease had they just pushed a little harder the other way.
There are two kinds of LDL. A light and fluffy good kind which is type A and a precursor to our hormones. If we drive that LDL down too far, testosterone cannot be made.
The second kind is a small dense bad one that makes plaque. It’s this second LDL that is found in sugar, and white flour. So, the more of those things that people eat, the more we are going to see people with bad LDL which is our cholesterol and it doesn’t matter about our fat intake one bit.
The medical community is now beginning to focus on triglycerides, rather than on LDL. They are shifting their thoughts that saturated fats are bad for us to the thought processes that saturated fats may not be bad for us, but that indeed hydrogenated and trans fatty acids are the bad news. And also that triglycerides are a much better measure of a person’s risk of heart disease.
If you want to know more about this whole topic; Gary Taubes’ had a feature in the NY Times called “What If Its All Been A Big, Fat Lie?” and then Time Magazine’s 2014 cover story “Eat Butter: Scientists Labeled Fat The Enemy. Why They Were Wrong.”
Healthy Fats? Yummy.
Yes, there are healthy fats. Fats in meats or in dairy and this includes red meats and butter. It’s the fat in meats that give it its flavor! And cooking chicken without the skin is ruining the whole chicken. It’s the Chicken Skin that keeps the moisture in while cooking and that gives the meat its flavor.
Eggs, Coconut Oil, Avocado, Lard, Nuts and Seeds, and Seed Oils; olive, peanut, sesame, flax, etc., all of these are forms of fat but they are healthy fats.
The first thing I did was yell, then laugh, when I read “lard” was healthy. Because I was taught by the church that I went to (many moons ago as a child) and many of you were taught other things about lard; but I always thought that it was one of those bad ones and that it would clog our arteries.
Food and Wine magazine had an article “Lard: The New Health Food” which gives us a great explanation and straightens out all of the misunderstandings that we had been taught about lard. Lard has been placed in the same category as olive oil. It is a monounsaturated fat and has been placed back on the good cooking oils list. (I have always thought however that lard is solid at room temperature, at least this is what I thought? Am I wrong?) I will have to do some checking and I hope there are people out there reading this that can offer some explanation as well?
Coconut oil is supposed to be great to use, especially when changing the way that we eat. It is called a “medium-chain fatty acid”; our bodies won’t store it as fat but instead we burn it like a carb which is used as quick energy.
I’ve seen people eat it off of a spoon, and I’ve seen them putting it into their coffee. It looks like lard, white and solid, but melts at low temps very quickly. You can purchase it refined, so it doesn’t taste like coconut or unrefined. Either way they are both the same. There is no special process to refine; they just remove coconut proteins.
Use Coconut Oil for all of your cooking. I’ve used it in cakes, cookies, zucchini bread, stir fry, fried chicken. Anything that I use olive oil or butter for; I have substituted and used Coconut Oil. The only thing I wouldn’t use it for is when you want that butter taste to come through. Like when I make a cheesecake and the graham cracker crust must taste like butter.
I just read an article, about a book that I will probably purchase and then tell you about. But the jist of this article was to tell about the three foods, in the United States, that are almost always fake when we get them. Whether it’s in the grocery store, specialty stores, and yes, even in restaurants.
The first fake food we are fed was parmesan cheese. The second food is olive oil. And the third food is (fish) but red snapper to be specific. Now I don’t know how anyone could sell fake red snapper unless possibly in a restaurant. The fish itself is very meaty and chunky. I don’t know about the taste because most fish turns me off. But the author of this book has travelled the world over and over and does nothing but eat in fine restaurants, most likely. He is very well known. It’s pretty bad when you pay top dollar for “olive oil” and you get a bottle full of other oils mixed in. The way he describes real olive oil, it is nothing like I have ever seen here in the U.S. before.
Fats We Must Avoid!
- Trans Fats; partially hydrogenated vegetable fats/oils.
- Unsaturated oils; those that have not been cold pressed or expeller pressed
All commercially prepared seed oils; from corn, canola, vegetable, etc., that are found on our grocery store shelves are not safe to eat.
When they process these oils, they use very high temperatures and chemical solvents to extract the oils. When extracting the oils in this manner, they have an odor to them that is not very favorable. There are scents added back to these oils to make them smell “fresh”; taking all unnatural and ugly smells away.
There you have it, the Healthy and Unhealthy Fats of it.
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