Recommended use: Use these healthy fats liberally when cooking.
Backed by big commercial investments, there’s been a reasonably successful campaign to replace the traditional saturated fats we used to eat with highly processed seed oils. But like with most shifts away from our natural diet, this has not had the best consequences. Cardiovascular diseases have not gone away; instead, they have soared to record highs.
Fats are a natural human food and not inherently unhealthy. The health problems start when unnatural fats like trans fats (found in processed seed oils and margarine) and oxidized fats (found in foods fried in seed oils) enter our blood stream.
The best fats for cooking are fats high in saturated fats and monounsaturated fats. These fats are heat stable and don’t oxidize when you cook with them. Healthy fats include:
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Animal fats (lard, tallow, goose or duck fat)
- Butter (best avoided if you have a milk allergy or lactose intolerance)
- Coconut fat
- Some sunflower oils (check for a monounsaturated fat content of 70% or higher)
Avoid fats high in polyunsaturated fats (like most seed oils and some nut oils) because they oxidize quickly. Oxidized fats can cause inflammation in your body, potentially leading to atherosclerosis and heart disease.