The Good and Bad of Oils and Fats

You are probably overwhelmed by the numerous articles on the subject of oils and fats alone. Let me make it as simple as possible for you so you can make informed choices.

Beauty secret: Eat the good fats - monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Beauty secret: Avoid the bad fats - saturated fat and hydrogenated fats.

It is well known that bad fats contribute to heart diseases and cancers but little is said about how our choice of fats can affect our looks.

Again, it’s simple: good fats help retain your youthful beauty and energy, bad fats are ageing and are beauty thieves!

By the way, though I refer to oils and fats, oils are simply fats which are liquids at room temperature.

Let’s go into more detail.

Photo courtesy of Foodista

Good Fats

Good fats are monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They will be liquid at room temperature and so present as oils; they are very fragile to heat and light. These oils should be kept in a cool dark place and never reused.

Monosaturated fats include Olive Oil, Peanut Oil and nuts such as cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts and macadamia nuts.

Polyunsaturated fats divide into two groups, omega 3 and omega 6. Seed oils like Sesame Seed Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil and Flax Seed Oil are rich in omega 6 whereas fatty fish such as salmon, trout tuna and herring are rich in omega 3.

Do eat plenty of good fats. After all, Olive Oil is a staple of mediterranean cooking and there people live 5 years longer on average than in the UK!!

Bad Fats

Bad fats are usually solid at room temperature. They include butter, margarine, the fat around meats, chicken skin, cheese and cream.

Bad fat fits into two categories: saturated fat and hydrogenated or trans fats. Saturated fat is present in most fatty foods and also in tropical oils such as palm oil and coconut oil. Trans fats are created by manufacturers turning oils into solids which remain so at room temperature, like margarine or vegetable shortening. It has long been recommended that both these types of fat should be taken as sparingly as possible for health reasons. To remain as youthful as you possibly can, it's just as vital to eliminate them.

Everybody needs fat - it is impossible for the body to obtain the good from food without it - and our cell membranes need it to function. You must never cut fat out but you should base your diet largely on monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

The more you cut out the bad fats the better it is for you. I personally don't eat any foods containing bad fats but, if you can't manage that, at least make a step in the right direction. Foods which include bad fats are pastries, pizzas, cheese, cream, butter, fatty meat, chips and other fried foods not made with a good fat oil.

Cooking with oils

Oils are delicate in nature and can be easily spoiled by heating. It is always advisable to keep the heat down to a minimum when cooking with oils as the more nutrition that is left in the oil, the more it will serve your purpose with regard to eating to stay young. Any one of the following oils may be used for cooking:

  • Flax seed oil
  • Peanut oil - often called groundnut oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Olive oil

For baking and frying (not that you should be frying), it is not advisable to use olive oil as it has a very low smoking point and will break down and spoil at 190c/375f and above. It is also worthwhile to note that the better quality the olive oil, the easier it breaks down and spoils during cooking.

There is another oil that I would highly recommend and is one of my favourites - Good Oil. This oil, I would always use raw. They go to enormous lengths to ensure that the oil reaches the consumer via the best methods - I don't want to ruin all their hard work by heating it. It is wonderful to use on anything that you would usually use a spread or a dressing for. I drizzle it on bread and add it to salads.

So that's the low down on oils and fats! Keep healthy and stay young!

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