Lately, I’ve been getting loads of questions about fats and oils, especially with so many people doing a keto-style diet.
We’re all slowly getting on board that fat is a GOOD thing, and fat is not making us FAT! But there are some fats we want to have more of, and some fats we want to have less of or avoid if we can.
WHY DO WE NEED FATS?
Basically, our bodies use fat for tons of different processes, but especially for hormonal balance. Many of our glands actually use fats to be able to produce hormones, and those hormones are what regulate our weight, hair growth, circulation, blood sugar, stress management, and so much more.
WHY ARE SOME FATS “GOOD” AND SOME FATS “BAD”:
A large part of what makes some fats “bad” is the processing of them. It can be an excellent addition of fats to add some oil your salad, or cook with oils, but if that oil is heated or processed in a way that makes it rancid, then it has the opposite effect inside our bodies. Instead of it being healing and feeding our organs and helping them to make hormones, it has the potential to erode, or damage our cells. When our cells become damaged, they become less able to take in the nutrients that we’re getting from food. And if our nutrients aren’t getting into our cells, then we’re not getting proper nutrition from the foods that we’re eating and we end up with all sorts of problems. Makes sense right?
HOW DOES HEAT AFFECT THE QUALITY OF FATS?
One of the least expensive and most commonly used oils in the food industry is Canola or vegetable oil. Unfortunately, this is a fat source that is very sensitive to high heat. But in the processing of the fat into oil, it goes through a high heat process. With that process, the oil that is derived becomes rancid. So even before it’s put in the bottle, and even before we buy it off the shelf, it has already “gone bad”, and that’s what can wreak havoc on our cells in the long term.
There are lots of other oils that are sensitive to high heat too. For example, with olive oil, the heat tolerance or “smoke point” is around 350F degrees. So any time that we are using our extra virgin olive oil to bake something at 400F degrees +, we are damaging the structure of that oil and making it rancid before it even goes into the body.
SO NOW WHAT?
Don’t worry! There is hope if you’re looking to increase your fats and help balance your hormones. Here’s what you can start looking for:
Try looking at your labels, and checking the ingredient list on store-bought salad dressing. Often, we find canola oil or vegetable oil in the ingredient list of many processed foods.
When you’re buying an oil to use at home, check the “smoke point” or heat tolerance of that oil. Consider using the ones that are for lower temperatures for cold salads or as finishing oils after cooking.
Find your favourite oils and start making your own salad dressings! One of the easiest ways to get in those healing fats is by drenching our veggies and salads in your own home-made dressing(that is, if you like dressings….I’m a huge salad dressing fan!).
SOME OILS TO START USING:
There are lots of different kinds of oils that are considered “good” for us and can be really healing. Here are some of my favourites, and what temperatures they do best in:
For Salad Dressings
For Medium Heat(200-350F)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For High Heat(400F+)