The High Fat Low Carb craze is everywhere. Clients always ask me about Keto for various conditions. I’ve even run my own High Fat Low Carb group program that helped dozens of clients shed some weight, improve energy and get rid of migraines.
We all agree … fat is our friend (refined sugar is the real enemy). But here’s the thing.
All fat is NOT created equal!
Fat is one of the three critical macronutrients, along with protein and carbohydrates. Some fats are super-health-boosting and, others are super-health-busting.
Health-building fats support your brain, hormones, immune system, heart health, and moods. Health-busting fats pretty much bust all of these (brain, hormones, immune system, heart health, and moods).
This is why the information I’m sharing today is so important.
As a general rule, the fats from whole foods that are the least processed will be the healthiest for you. This makes sense, right? But do you know what those are?
Let me give you a definitive list of the fats to use, and the fats to ditch.
Health-boosting fats are from:
● Nuts and seeds (hemp, flax, and chia)
● Pasture-raised/grass-fed animals/eggs
I also love “virgin” oils, and here’s why. Getting the oil out of a whole food involves some processing. Sometimes it’s by squeezing, or heating. Other times it’s by using chemical solvents. The word “virgin” is used to show minimal processing (and no solvents!).
According to the World Health Organization’s Codex Alimentarius:
“Virgin fats and oils are edible vegetable fats, and oils obtained, without altering the nature of the oil, by mechanical procedures, e.g., expelling or pressing, and the application of heat only. They may be purified by washing with water, settling, filtering and centrifuging only.”
By these standards, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVO) must:
● Be cold pressed
● Not contain any refined olive oil
● Possess superior quality based on chemical composition and sensory characteristics.
These standards ensure higher quality and that’s a win in my books! Plus, the minimal processing helps to maintain some of the quality of delicate fat molecules, as well as their antioxidants. Win-win!
Health-busting fats are from:
● Seed and vegetable oils like safflower, soybean, and corn oils
● Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils.
Hydrogenated oils are particularly bad because they contain small amounts of "trans" fats. Studies show that trans fats lead to insulin resistance, inflammation, belly fat. They also drastically raise the risk of heart disease. When you heat these types of fats in food processing, the fats break down and oxidize. This contributes to free radical damage.
Don’t forget, we’re not just talking about buying bottles of these fats for home cooking. We’re also looking at the processed foods that contain them (crackers, cookies, cakes, breads, processed meats and vegetable products) and the cooking methods for preparation (deep fryers).
How to get more health-building fats
First, you have my permission to ditch any foods in your cupboards that contain safflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, or any hydrogenated oil. Soybean oil alone accounts for over 75% of oils consumed by Americans, so it’s pretty popular in the “non-health food” department. Let’s not forget that soy and corn are one of the most genetically modified crops in North America, which adds a whole other layer of complexity.
Second, try substituting one of the health-building oils whenever you have a recipe that calls for oil. Try flax or olive oil in your salad dressing (raw), avocado and/or olive oil in your cooking, and coconut oil in your baking. Avocado oil is exceptional for cooking at higher temperatures (it has a higher smoke point) and olive oil should only be used at low temperature.
Third, make healthier versions of your go-to processed foods. I’ll help you out now with my super-simple mayonnaise recipes! Both AIP and Paleo approved. They are way better for you than the unrefrigerated stuff you find at your grocery store.
Now tell me: What’s your favourite fat and why? Let me know in the comments below.