Know your Fats – Good vs. Bad

Part One: Oils

 

Fatty Acids fit into 3 categories – saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Current diets are too high in polyunsaturated fats, as we find these in abundance in manufactured foods (as hydrogenated vegetable oils). What this means is we now consume too much Omega-6 and insufficient Omega-3. To correct this imbalance we need to consume more Omega- 3 rich oils, whilst reducing our Omega-6. Excessive amounts of Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats promote the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, inflammatory diseases, depression and autoimmune diseases.

What are trans fats?

A partial hydrogenation process is used to turn liquid vegetable fats (oils) into solid (unsaturated fats). These solid fats have better functional characteristics for cooking, baking, and are more stable for long-term storage.  Trans fatty acids are unnatural and accumulate in our body, causing disease.

Breakdown of Fats
Mostly Saturated
  • Butter
  • Ghee
  • Palm Oil
  • Palm Kernel Oil
  • Tallow
  • Coconut Oil

  (Coconut oil is 65% medium chain fats, 28% Saturated fats, and 8% mono & polyunsaturated fats)

Mostly Monounsaturated: Omega-9 (Oleic) 
  • Olive Oil
  • Chicken Fat
  • Duck Fat
  • Goose Fat
  • Sesame Oil
  • Rice Bran Oil
  • Canola Oil*

Sesame oil equal parts omega-9 & omega-6

Rice Bran oil is (42 % omega-9 & 37 % omega-6)

Canola oil is typically hydrogenated into trans fats, shortenings and margarines.

Mostly Polyunsaturated: Omega-6 (LA-Linoleic Acid)
  • Corn*
  • Cotton*
  • Soybean*
  • Safflower*
  • Sunflower*

* These fats are typically hydrogenated into trans fats, shortenings and margarines.

 Mostly Polyunsaturated: Omega-6 (GLA- y-Linolenic Acid)
  • Borage
  • Evening Primrose Oil
Mostly Polyunsaturated: Omega-3 (ALA- alpha-Linolenic acid)
  • Flaxseed Oil

 (ALA can convert to EPA/DHA in the body)

 Mostly Polyunsaturated: Omega-3 (EPA & DHA)
  • Fish Oil

 

As fats have differing properties, they also have differing smoke points. Below is the best way to consume oils:

Best for cooking 
  • Butter/Ghee
  • Coconut, palm and palm kernel oils
  • Tallow and suet from beef and lamb
  • Lard from pigs
  • Chicken, goose and duck fat
For Salads  & Dips (best stored in a the fridge)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (also OK for low heat cooking)
  • Expeller-expressed sesame oil
  • Cold-pressed flaxseed oil
For Fat-Soluble Vitamins
  • Fish liver oils such as cod liver oil
Fats that contribute to disease states

The following can contribute to cancer, heart disease, immune system dysfunction, sterility, learning disabilities, growth problems and osteoporosis:

  • All hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils
  • Industrially processed liquid oils such as soy, corn, safflower, cottonseed and canola
  • Fats and oils (especially vegetable oils) heated to very high temperatures in processing and frying.

 

 

References

Simopoulos, A P 2002, ‘The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids’, Biomedicine & Pharmacotheraphy, Vol. 56, No. 8, pp. 365-79

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12442909

Enig, M G, ‘Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils, and Cholesterol’, 2000, Bethesda Press, USA