In part 1 we exposed some lies about fats. But we know you are all dying to know what we consider the bad fats and why they are not good choices for a real food lifestyle. First of all, let’s remind you of the good fats listed in part 1:
1) Butter from grass-fed cows (no hormones or antibiotics used) – cream and whole milk from the same source are also great healthy fats!
2) Lard or tallow (pig or cow fat)
3) coconut oil (unrefined)
4) palm kernel oil (unrefined)
5) avocado oil (unrefined)
6) olive oil (cold-pressed) – used in low temp cooking and dressings
7) sesame oil in small amounts – used in low temperature cooking
8 ) nut oils in small amounts
What are the bad fats?
1) Trans fats:
Of all the fats, TRANS FATS (TF) are truly the worst. And it is EXTREMELY unfortunate that the major medical establishments (such as American Heart
Association) have demonized saturated fats so as to be classified with the horrifically unhealthy and toxic trans fats. Trans fats have the pseudonyms: hydrogenated oils, partially hydrogenated oils, TFA (trans fatty acids). Be aware that they are one in the same, although there is evidence that partially hydrogenated fats are actually worse for you than fully hydrogenated (go figure). TF are unfit for human consumption due to the extreme and repeated high heat processing, metallic ingredients, emulsifiers, bleaching, oxidizing, dyes, etc. Two of the most common trans fats are margarine and shortening (like Crisco). However, Tropical Traditions has created a Palm Shortening which is not hydrogenated and is safe for use in all cooking. This is the only shortening product (that we are aware of) that is safe to use.
Trans fats are usually created with inexpensive polyunsaturated oils that start as a liquid at room temperature: soy, corn, cottonseed, or canola oils. Hydrogenation (adding hydrogen for shelf life) makes the oil a solid at room temperature. Here is the process:
- extraction at high temperatures to make the oil from seed or vegetables (creates rancidity)
- mix the oil with nickle oxide (metal!!!)
- add hydrogen gas under high pressure and high temperatures (adding more rancidity)
- add soap-like emulsifiers and starch to give a better texture and consistency (yum)
- steam cleaned at (again) high temperatures (this removes the foul odor)
- bleach the oil as it is now GREY (EEEWWW)
- Dyes and strong artificial flavors are added to re-flavor the fat
Sound appetizing? Just use the real thing — REAL BUTTER!
More recently, butter manufacturers have also been adding hydrogenated vegetable oils to their mixtures to offer a lower cost “butter” option to consumers. Do not be fooled. Always read labels. Manufacturers are tricky… and a product may change without your knowledge.
Obviously, trans fats are not going to do anything positive for your health. They are linked to a myriad of diseases and health problems: Cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes, obesity, immune system dysfunction, low-birth-weight babies, birth defects, decreased visual acuity, sterility, bone and tendon problems, lactation difficulty. Avoid trans fats at all costs!
2) Rancid Fats:
If trans fats are the worst, rancid fats are the MOST INSIDIOUS! This is because they are found in EVERYTHING from packaged products to marinades and dressings to restaurant food. In other words, it is hard to eat anything on a grocery store shelf (or from a restaurant) that doesn’t use these oils in some form. (Yet another excellent reason to make all food yourself!)
These fats are made rancid by high heat processing and unnatural extraction methods (unless cold-pressed). Even if these oils were derived from a cold-pressed method (near impossible to find), polyunsaturated oils are unable to sustain cooking at high temperatures. Polyunsaturated oils oxidate when heated, producing free radicals. Free radicals are unjoined atoms with no electron making them chemically reactive. These free radicals attack tissues and cells causing damage to the DNA/RNA strands and trigger mutations.
Polyunsaturated fats are: soy, corn, canola, and safflower oils. These fats could be considered acceptable only in small amounts on occasion and only if the extraction methods are cold-pressed (which is very HARD to find and will likely never be the case in restaurant or packaged foods) . And they should never be heated by cooking, frying, or baking - EVER! So really, there is not much use for them if you are a real food freak. The only time I might ingest any of these oils would be unknowingly from a restaurant I may visit. And, even then, I will usually try to choose dishes that use butter or lard.
Again, it should come as no surprise, that there are multiple health problems associated with oxidized rancid fats : premature aging, arthritis, cataracts, Alzheimer’s Disease, Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Additionally, scientific evidence suggests that heart disease is associated with polyunsaturated fats and NOT saturated fats. The Lancet published an evaluation of fat in artery clogs and found only 26% was saturated and the rest was UNSATURATED fats with POLYUNSATURATED FATS making up over half! 1
3) High Omega 6 Fats used in excess
As if rancidity isn’t enough, most polyunsaturated oils (and some traditionally prized seed and nut oils) are too high in Omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils need to
be consumed in equal ratios by the body otherwise serious health problems can occur.
The same offenders of canola, safflower, soy, and corn oils are high in Omega 6 and low in Omega 3. Other oils such as peanut oil, cottonseed oil, sesame oil and most nut oils are also extremely high in Omega 6 and low in Omega 3. This means that your diet should not be comprised of these as a large portion of your dietary fat intake.
Health problems associated with Omega 3 deficiency: asthma, heart disease, and learning disabilities, and blood clots.
So… given all of this readily available information, how can it be that the medical community and government based health institutions vilify natural and healthy saturated fats and endorse unhealthy fats like canola oil? Good question! In part 3, we will be exploring the reasons why these health “experts” may not have your best health interests at heart.
1 Felton, C V, et al, The Lancet, 1994, 344:1195
The rest of the information was taken from Nourishing Traditions or the Weston A Price Foundation website in which much of the information is documented with research from published documents and studies.