August 22, 2015
The question of which dietary fats are good and which are bad has caused a lot of confusion lately. Some fats are heart-heathy, some are not. Some oils are processed with chemicals, some are not. Some break down at high temperatures, some do not. Some sound healthy because of the word vegetable in their name, but aren’t. What’s a cook to do?
We thought we’d put together a short primer on which fats to use and when. Bookmark this page and refer to it when in question.
BAD FATS/OILS Most cooking oils on the market are processed with chemical solvents, steamers, neutralizers, de-waxers, bleach and deodorizers before they end up in the bottle. Highly processed seed oils contain very high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, that can have detrimental health effects when consumed in high quantities. Sadly, these oils are in nearly everything we eat nowadays. Grain-fed livestock, is also high in omega-6. A diet high in omega-6 is associated with an increase in inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and cancer to mention a few.
Here are the industrial oils to toss from your kitchen:Canola oilVegetable oilCottonseed oilSoybean oilSunflower oilSafflower oilCorn oilGrapeseed oilRapeseed oilRefined palm oilSesame oilRefined peanut oil
GOOD FATS/OILSThese are the saturated fats and healthy plant-based oils from meat, seafood, eggs, nuts, and avocados that are loaded with omega-3s. It has recently been debunked that saturated fats cause heart disease. In fact, it’s the very removal of these from the American diet and the increase of sugar and carbohydrates that has attributed to a whole host of health issues, including obesity, diabetes and chronic inflammatory conditions.
Saturated fat has been shown to have positive effects on the body, including helping the liver to function more effectively, boosting the immune system and aiding in the regulation of hormones.
Some things to keep in mind during food prep:
Best fats for hot use (with their smoke points):Beef tallow (400°F)Lard (370°F)Duck fat (375°F)Schmaltz (375°F)Ghee (450°F)Avocado oil (400°F)Coconut oil (350°F)Extra virgin olive oil (325°F)Grass-fed butter (350°F )
Best for cold use:Extra virgin olive oilMacadamia oilAvocado oilHazelnut oilAlmond Walnut oilFlaxseed oilGrass-fed butterCoconut oil
At The Organic Butcher, we carry a wide array of high quality oils and animal fats, and can help guide you toward the right choice for your needs. Just ask!
August 25, 2015
The info on oils is essential. I never knew refined oils were to be tossed. When I live in Paris I buy unfiltered olive oil—Whole Food carries their own unfiltered, and I wonder if they’re of the same quality.
For stir fry I had been using peanut oil because of its high heat capacity but haven’t come across one that isn’t refined. And as for butter, what do you think of the “European style” butters on the shelves? I’ll look for grass-fed from now on.
Thanks again for this kind of information. It’s invaluable. Btw, have you raw sheep and goat cheese?
November 09, 2018
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