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Clean Fats and Oils
Fat is an important element to include in our diets. Not so very long ago doctors and nutritionists demonized all fat as bad. Now the tables have turned and they are recognizing that some fats are very beneficial to our bodies.
Our body needs fat. It aids in the absorption of certain vitamins and is an essential element to provide us with energy.
What is important to recognize is that not all fat is good despite what Keto proponents suggest. It used to be Atkins that glorified bacon and now the keto cult is making fat bombs and loading up on the cream cheese. I am not trying to beat up on keto and there is a time and place for this diet. It should not be a lifestyle though unless you have a medical condition like epilepsy and then you could certainly talk to your doctor about this for more long term management. Read Why you Should be Eating Carbs.
Otherwise, common sense and what we know about nutrients and how they work in our bodies take us down a different path. Bacon is delicious and I love it but it is NOT healthy. Consuming large amounts of greasy coconut oil, cream cheese, or butter is not healthy.
The more liquidy the fat the healthier it is. Monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat are considered to be the most heart-healthy and tend to become thinner at room temperature.
Monounsaturated fats have been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. They are found in:
- Nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans) Raw or Dry roasted. If you see oil in the ingredient list that means it has been fried and should be avoided. Not Clean!
- Vegetable oils(safflower, avocado, olive)
- Soybean Oil(must be non-genetically modified organism(GMO) certified)
- Canola Oil(must be non-GMO certified)
- Corn Oil(must be non-GMO certified)
- Cottonseed Oil(must be non-GMO certified)
- Peanut Oil
- Peanut butter and almond butter(if no other ingredients like hydrogenated oil) should be just peanuts or peanuts and salt.
Polyunsaturated fats are considered “essential” meaning your body cannot produce them on its own and can only be delivered through the food we eat. These are also good at lowering bad cholesterol and providing heart benefits including lowering blood pressure and supporting a regular heart rhythm. These fats come primarily from plants and part of the component of this fat is omega 3 fatty acids which are super beneficial for the heart.
Especially high in omega 3 fatty acids are the following:
- Chia seeds (5,060 mg per serving)…
- Salmon (4,123 mg per serving) …
- Mackerel (4,107 mg per serving) …
- Walnuts (2,570 mg per serving)
- Cod liver oil (2,682 mg per serving) …
- Flax seeds (2,350 mg per serving)
- Sardines (2,205 mg per serving) …
- Caviar (1,086 mg per serving)
- Soybeans (1,241 mg per serving)
- Anchovies (951 mg per serving) …
- Herring (946 mg per serving) …
- Oysters (370 mg per serving) …
Saturated fats: (Use these sparingly)
These are fats that are found mostly in animal products and they tend to remain solid even at room temperature. Studies have found that diets high in saturated fats tend to raise cholesterol levels especially the bad kind. They may possibly increase the risk of heart disease although there are new studies indicating they may not be as bad as once thought. It is still advisable at this point to consume them minimally.
- Dark chicken meat and poultry skin
- Fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb
- High-fat dairy foods (whole milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream)
- Tropical oils (coconut oil, palm oil, cocoa butter)
Trans fats: Avoid completely! Not Clean!
These fats/oils have indisputable evidence showing the negative health effects and should be avoided at all costs.
You will find trans fats in:
- Vegetable shortening
- Fried food(deep-fried fast food like french fries, doughnuts, chicken)
- Store-bought baked goods(pastries, cakes, cookies)
- Processed snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn)
Partially Hydrogenated Oil: This is a process used to turn unsaturated fat into a solid by adding hydrogen. This process turns it into a trans fat and is NOT Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the FDA which is trying to ban it from being added to food.
Genetically Modified Organisms
Some oils will most certainly be GMO unless they state otherwise with a label. Non-GMO or non-GMO Project verified. These oils include:
- Soybean Oil
- Canola Oil
- Corn Oil
- Cottonseed Oil
Oils that are naturally non-GMO include: (you not need to worry about a label)
- Rice Bran Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Olive Oil
- Safflower Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Read your ingredient list and stick to polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Consume saturated fats only minimally and completely avoid trans fats, partially hydrogenated oil, and genetically modified organisms(GMO’s).
Remember that all fats have a very high caloric count so even those considered healthy should be eaten minimally to avoid weight gain.