KNOW YOUR OILS – BEST AND WORSE

 

A quick peep at our pantry will reveal that we only use three types of oil in our diet.  Extra-virgin Cold pressed olive oil, organic coconut oil and organic red palm oil (from now on I shall refer to them as tropical oils).  Olive oil, a better monounsaturated fat, is great for salad dressing but not recommended for cooking or frying due to the fact that its chemical structure makes it prone to oxidative damage when heated to high temperatures.

 

And polyunsaturated fats, which include common vegetables oils such as corn, soy, safflower, sunflower, canola and colza, are absolutely the worst oils to use in cooking. These omega-6 oils are highly prone to heat damage because of all the double bonds they have in their chemical structure.

 

I threw away all of mine and I recommend you do the same. Here’s why:

 

  • All of the vegetable oils listed above are generally heavily refined during processing, so that makes them already inflammatory before you even cook with them (which does even more damage).

     

  • When you fry in oil you create transfats, which you already know are bad for you, but this is not the main problem.  Despite the fact that some transfats are created, they are relatively minor in amount.   However, there are far more toxic chemical which are the by-products of frying omega-6 oils.

     

  • Frying destroys the antioxidants in oils and as such oxidises the oils. This causes cross-linking, cyclisation, double-bond shifts, fragmentation, and polymerisation of oils that cause far more damage than transfats.

     

  • They contribute to the surplus of omega-6 fats in your diet, and the imbalance of the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. I believe that excessive consumption of omega-6 fats contributes to many health concerns.

 

Most of what is labelled as "vegetable oil" is simply heavily refined soybean oil (processed under high heat, pressure, and industrial solvents, such as hexane)... sometimes perhaps it may also be heavily refined cottonseed, safflower, corn, grapeseed or other oils too.

 

In most instances, almost all of these processed oils are NOT HEALTHY for you.  I'll explain why below...

 

If you buy processed food or deep fried food, you can usually be certain that these unhealthy oils are used to prepare your foods (or worse, they may use hydrogenated versions of these oils... aka - transfats).

There only two oils that are stable enough to resist heat-induced damage – these tropical oils are organic coconut oil and organic red palm oil. 

 

So, whenever you need an oil to cook with, use one of the organic tropical oils instead of butter, olive oil, vegetable oil, margarine, or any other type of oil called for in recipes. Even though I don't fully recommend frying foods, if you must fry, the smartest choice will be organic coconut oil.

 

Interestingly, organic tropical oil contains the highest amount of saturated fat of all edible oils. For years we’ve been told that saturated fats are dangerous, but now we already know that it are in fact the unsaturated fats that are the main culprit when it comes to heart disease.  Saturated oils are much more stable in cooking and frying conditions and less inflammatory then polyunsaturated oils with cooking.  This is why tropical oils such as palm and coconut oils (and even animal fats such as lard and butter) are best for cooking... they have very little polyunsaturates and are mostly composed of natural saturated fats which are the least reactive to heat/light and therefore the least inflammatory in your body from cooking use.

 

That's also why natural butter (NOT margarine) is one of the best fats for cooking. This all goes directly against what you hear in mainstream health talk... because most health professionals don't truly understand the biochemistry of fats, and falsely believe that saturated fats are bad for you... when in fact, they are actually neutral in most instances... and saturated fats from tropical oils are actually good for you as they contain mostly medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are lacking in most people's diets.  Therefore you should have peace of mind knowing that you're making the right choice by using great-tasting Organic Tropical Oil.

 

My choices for top healthy cooking oils that I use:

 

  • Virgin Coconut Oil (very stable at med-high temps and healthy fats)

  • Virgin Red Palm Oil (very stable at med-high temps and healthy fats)

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (only for low temp cooking)

  • Extra Red Palm Oil (only for low temp cooking)

  • Real Butter (grass fed butter is actually healthy and contains important nutrients like vitamin K2, omega-3's, and CLA.)

 

Of course, with all of that said... we should keep in mind that trying to minimise our cooking with oils can help to reduce overall calories. Cooking with oils in moderation is okay and can actually help satisfy our appetite more, but be careful not to overdo it as the calories can add up quickly.

 

It is estimated that artificially hydrogenated transfats which are found in fast food, processed foods, and pastries - are ultimately responsible for a huge number of fatal heart attacks every year. These dangerous unsaturated fats are the ones you should ban from your diet, not naturally pure organic tropical oils, which is a better alternative because it contains very few fats with highly perishable double bonds – and has NO transfats.

 

Not all fats are equal.  The terms "fats" and "oils" are often used interchangeably, but fat is solid at room temperature, while oils are liquid. But what's really important is the structure.  Organic tropical oils’ uniqueness is directly related to its chemical structure, or more precisely, the length of its fatty acid chains.

 

Organic tropical oil is comprised of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also called medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs.  Organic tropical oils are considered to be nature's richest source of these MCFAs.  Organic red palm oil is a little bit harder to come-by than organic tropical oil but it can always be found online and in specialised health food stores.

By contrast, most common vegetable or seed oils are comprised of long chain fatty acids (LCFAs), also known as long-chain triglycerides or LCTs.

 

For those of you who are interested in the science behind this, there are several reasons why these long-chain fatty acids are not as good for you as the MCFAs in organic tropical oil:

 

  • LCFAs are difficult for the body to break down - they must be packaged with lipoproteins or carrier proteins and require special enzymes for digestion.

  • LCFAs put more strain on the pancreas, the liver and the entire digestive system.

  • LCFAs are predominantly stored in the body as fat. (That's why most people believe that the fat you eat rests on your tummy and hips)

  • LCFAs can be deposited within arteries in lipid forms such as cholesterol.

    Conversely, the MCFAs in organic tropical oil are better, because:

  • They are smaller. They penetrate cell membranes easily, and do not require lipoproteins or special enzymes to be utilised effectively by our body.

  • MCFAs are easily digested, consequently putting less strain on your digestive system.

  • MCFAs are sent directly to your liver, where they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat.

 

Organic tropical oil has often been compared to carbohydrates in its ability to be "burned" for energy. However, since insulin is not involved in the process of digesting the MCFAs in organic tropical oil, you won't get those carb-related spikes in your blood sugar level. So if you are concerned about retaining your blood sugar levels in the normal range this is a non-issue for you.

 

When it comes to choosing organic tropical oil I recommend that you ensure that it’s not refined, purified, bleached, deodorised or hydrogenated and that is made from fresh coconuts or palm fruit in cold processing.

 

The use of organic tropical oil is one of the smartest dietary measures I recommend.  It packs no guilt. No cholesterol. No transfats. No downside. Make it part of your whole diet.