Oils – the good, the bad and the downright UGLY!


Our bodies need fats in order to absorb certain fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, along with beta-carotene. Every cell in our body has a lipid bilayer (double fat layer). Consuming healthy fat also contributes to satiety (sense of fullness) after a meal, as the body processes fats, along with proteins, more slowly than carbohydrates.

But not all fats are beneficial. Many “seed” Oils labelled as “Vegetable oil” are harmful to our health, and the daily consumption has risen over the years to alarming levels with the addition of baked shelf stable foods like biscuits and breads.

Beneficial Oils

1. Olive Oil
Virgin olive oils are those in which the oil has been extracted without using chemicals, Extra virgin is the highest grade and contains more than 30 different phenolic compounds, a group of phytochemicals that include many with anti-inflammatory and blood vessel-expanding actions. Extra-virgin olive oil contains higher amounts of monounsaturated fats compared to other oils, these fats lower your LDL (inflammatory) cholesterol levels and help improve HDL (anti-inflammatory) cholesterol. Consume raw.

Alzheimer’s research suggests that certain extra-virgin olive oils contain a natural anti-inflammatory compound called oleocanthal, If it’s present in the olive oil, you can taste it as a peppery finish in the back of your throat.

2. Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseeds are an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid – a form of omega-3, this is  polyunsaturated fat that your body cannot produce on its own. It also contains Omega 6, which if you eat animal protein – you will be getting enough 6. Don’t heat this oil, as doing so can disrupt the fatty acid content, use it in cold dishes like smoothies and salads. It also tends to go rancid very quickly and easily once exposed to air. Refrigerate.

3. Avocado Oil
Avocado oil is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats. This oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil, so it is better for higher-heat cooking.

4. Walnut Oil
Walnut oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, primarily alpha-linolenic acid, it has a very low smoke point, so it should not be used for cooking. It has a rich, nutty flavour and is best for salad dressings.

5. Sesame Oil
Sesame oil is another polyunsaturated fat, and has known anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, potentially helping to lower the odds of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis. It has a high smoke point, which makes it good for high-heat cooking like stir-frying.

6. Coconut Oil
Composed of roughly 90% saturated fat — this isn’t the same as the saturated fat found in red meat that clogs your arteries and aids inflammation. Coconut oil has a high amount of medium-chain fatty acids, which are harder for the body to convert into stored fat.
Use this oil in moderation, its great mixed with Ghee for baking vegetables.

7. Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil is low in saturated fat and has a high smoke point, which makes it a good choice for all kinds of cooking and grilling. It contains omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and the added benefit of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant.

8. Ghee
Ghee is rich in beneficial nutrients (A, E and K) and contains several fatty acids CLA – Conjugated linoleic acid and SCFA (short chain fatty acids) that support healthy insulin levels, reduce inflammation and have benefits for people with bowel disorders such as IBS and Crohn’s. It is free of lactose and casein protein as these particular components are removed in the separation process.  Ghee has a high smoke point than butter, which means that it can be heated to a higher temperature without the risk of oxidising and forming harmful free radicals.

Oils to limit or avoid

1. Partially Hydrogenated Oils
These artificial trans fats are created through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Used in ALL margarines (even the ones that start with healthy ingredients like olive oil).
Its best avoid all partially hydrogenated oils as they contain trans fatty acids which prolong shelf life, but shorten human life.

2. Sunflower Oil and other “seed” Oils
Sunflower oil is high in unsaturated fats and low in saturated fat. Which makes it a good candidate on paper. I would avoid this and other seed oils.

A good article explaining this – https://chriskresser.com/how-industrial-seed-oils-are-making-us-sick/

3. Palm Oil
Palm oil is composed of roughly equal parts saturated fat and unsaturated fat, it’s often used in processed foods in place of partially hydrogenated oils. People with diabetes should pay close attention to their saturated fat consumption as they are at higher risk of heart disease. Palm oil also has the added low brow environmental factor in that the farming has decimated the orangutan population to the point where they are now endangered.

2. Canola Oil
Again in theory this oil looks ok – Canola oil has only 7% saturated fat and is high in monounsaturated fat. It also contains high levels of polyunsaturated fat and Trans fat. Not only is Canola a GMO food, it is sprayed with chemicals and processed with a solvent called hexane, which is used to extract oil from rapeseed to make canola oil. I avoid this oil like the plague!

Oil | Trans Content (%)

Soybean* | 0.4-2.1%
Walnut* | 2.0-3.9%
Sunflower | 1.1%
Canola* | 1.9-3.6%
Olive | 0.5%
PH soybean oil** | 43.6-50.2%

*Results of multiple samples of commercial oil
** Partially hydrogenated soybean oils for comparison


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