· Natural Remedies · Good Fats vs. Bad Fats – How To Know The Difference
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Good Fats vs. Bad Fats – How To Know The Difference

the skinny on fats 2

Lately I’ve been hearing so many different ideas, opinions and suggestions about what constitutes a “healthy diet” that it has my head spinning. Especially when it comes to the type of FAT we consume. I know there are “good” and “bad” fats…I know most of us consume TOO MUCH fat overall…..but other than that, I didn’t know much.

I decided it was time to educate myself a little better and it turns out I hardly knew ANYTHING about this important-to-our-health topic! Since I doubt I’m the ONLY one who is somewhat confused about all the “good fat – bad fat” talk, I decided I would share, in as simple a way as I can, some of what I learned. After all, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

First off, it’s important to point out that fats are important nutrients that we NEED in order for our bodies to function properly. Fats help our bodies make cells, protect our organs, and absorb minerals. But not ALL fats are good for our bodies.

Here is a rundown of the FOUR different types of fats and how they each affect our health:

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Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as the “good fats” because they are good for your heart, your cholesterol, and your overall health.

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Monounsaturated Fats

Monounsaturated fats include olive oil, peanut oil, and avocado & nuts. These fats can help to lower bad cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and regulate and blood-sugar levels. However, not all monounsaturated fats are created equal. The less processing your oils undergo, the better. For example, canola oil is often touted as a light and healthy vegetable oil option, but did you know that it goes through refining, bleaching, “degumming,” and deodorizing processes before it hits the store shelves? These processes can destroy much of the nutritional value of the oil. Instead of canola oil, try cooking with unrefined oils such as coconut, olive, sesame, or avocado. They are minimally processed and full of nutrients!

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Polyunsaturated Fats

Polyunsaturated fats are primarily found in vegetable oils (such as sunflower, sesame, soy, corn and safflower), as well as nuts and seeds. These fats can protect against heart disease, lower blood pressure, help protect your muscles, and help your blood to clot.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat. They’re typically found in oily fish, such as salmon, tuna and mackerel. While all types of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good for you, omega-3 fats are proving to be the best fats you can choose.

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Saturated fats and trans fats are known as the “bad fats” because they increase your risk of disease and elevate cholesterol.

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Saturated Fats

Saturated fats, which can be found in animal products like milk, butter, and lard, can raise our overall cholesterol levels. That being said, not all “bad fats” are completely unhealthy; some, such as whole-fat dairy products which are a good source of calcium and protein, and coconut oil which contains an unusual blend of short and medium chain fatty acids, have positive health benefits when consumed in moderation. Grass-fed animal products are far superior to conventionally-produced animal products in levels of vitamins and antioxidants, so replacing your current butter with grass-fed can be a good change for your health.

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Trans Fats

Of all four groups of fats, trans fats are the WORST for our health. A trans fat is a normal fat molecule that has been twisted and deformed during a process called hydrogenation. During this process, liquid vegetable oil is heated and combined with hydrogen gas. Partially hydrogenating vegetable oils makes them more stable and less likely to spoil, which is very good for food manufacturers—and very bad for us!

Sources of trans fats include margarine and vegetable shortening, and both of those ingredients are used in a great deal of fast foods and commercially-prepared snack foods. Keep an eye out for “partially hydrogenated” oils on the ingredients list of the foods you buy. These are trans fats and should be avoided.

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No amount of trans fats is healthy. Trans fats contribute to major health problems, from heart disease to cancer.

 

So what can we do to ensure that we are getting the right amount of good fats in our diet while avoiding the bad?

Here are just a few tips that I plan on implementing in my diet:

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  • Cook with olive oil. Use olive oil for stovetop cooking, rather than butter, stick margarine, or lard. For baking, try vegetable oil.

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  • Eat more avocados. Along with being loaded with heart and brain-healthy fats, they make for a filling and satisfying meal.

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  • Reach for the nuts. Add nuts to vegetable dishes or use them instead of breadcrumbs on chicken or fish.

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  • Snack on olives. Olives are high in healthy monounsaturated fats. But unlike most other high-fat foods, they make for a low-calorie snack when eaten on their own.

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  • Dress your own salad. Commercial salad dressings are often high in saturated fat or made with damaged trans fat oils. Create your own healthy dressings with high-quality, cold-pressed olive oil, flaxseed oil, or sesame oil.

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  • Try to eliminate trans fats from your diet. Check food labels for trans fats. Avoiding commercially-baked goods goes a long way. Also limit fast food.

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  • Limit your intake of saturated fats by cutting back on red meat and full-fat dairy foods. Try replacing red meat with beans, nuts, poultry, and fish whenever possible, and switching from whole milk and other full-fat dairy foods to lower fat versions.

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  • Eat omega-3 fats every day. Good sources include fish, walnuts, ground flax seeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil.

With so many different sources of dietary fat—some good and some bad—the choices can get confusing.

But the bottom line is simple: don’t go NO-FAT, go GOOD FAT.

the skinny on fats 1

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  • Oh…also our brains are mostly fat…so low fat eating which probably increases the sugar we are eating is starving our brain. Good fats like olive oil, nuts, avocado etc is good for us. If carb loaded, fat free diets were good for us then why has obesity, heart disease, stroke and diabetes become so prevalent? Reseachers are calling Alzheimers TYPE THREE DIABETES!!!! WHY?
    Truthfully, wellness is not profitable to the Pharmaceutical industry and this industry funds the medical schools….seeing the picture…? So please read the book or check out the website. Just Google ‘grain brain’. Have fun!

  • Please read the book ‘The Grain Brain’ by Dr. Perlmutter a respected Neurologist. You will change your mind about canola oil. Also he reports surprising stats on cholesterol and foods. (Surprisingly eggs do not make a contribution to higher cholesterol …) I started the eating plan In his book and feel better than I have in years. It is not hard to follow and there are great recipes on his website. I LOVE the no ‘oatmeal’ porridge!!! Basically a serving of protein and a good fat for each meal with all the green veggies prepared in salads make meal planning easy. The book lists the preferred protein and fats so you aren’t guessing.

  • I just wanted to chime in with the others about butter and saturated fat. When we stopped eating those things and went to unnatural sources of fat and low-fat (high carb, high sugar), the obesity epidemic skyrocketed. Heart disease and cholesterol also went through the roof (side note, dietary cholesterol is rarely absorbed by the body, and in the rare instances when it is, the liver makes adjustments and produces less). I have spent countless, COUNTLESS hours researching this subject, and I would recommend anyone who has questions do the same! Knowledge is power :)

  • Great post! Thank you for doing all the work and sharing this information with us. So tell me, my favorite cookie recipe calls for shortening…what else can I use? I’ll be eating nuts until I can find a way to enjoy my grandmother’s cookie recipe!

    • You can use lard in place of shortening, and I believe you would be able to use ghee (clarified butter, very high smoke point) but I know that butter can affect the texture of cookies so ghee might as well. But I would try lard! (If you think that sounds insane, definitely research it! Don’t just think I’m a nut lol)

  • Jillee, I am very disappointed to read this article. I have been a long time follower of your blog and your information here is not very accurate. Please follow this link to read about the truth on fats, especially saturated fats, from the Weston A Price Foundation. I am a RN, and have done lots of research on nutrition and find Weston A Price to be beyond reproach.

    http://www.westonaprice.org/basics/principles-of-healthy-diets#confused

    • I also wanted to mention that in Weston A Price’s documentation of indigenous people, some tribes consumed as much as 70% of their diets from fats. Despite this they were very healthy, active, and lived long lives. These people had little illness and most died from old age, or accidents. Heart disease and chronic illnesses were simply unseen.

      • I haven’t read the research about the tribes, but did it mention those people also get TONS more exercise than the average person? I would tend to believe that also has a lot to do with the low numbers of disease and illness found within tribes.

        Jillee, obviously this is a touchy subject and everyone has their own opinions. At least it opened up the discussion and helped us all learn something.

      • I applaud people for sharing their OPINIONS and BELIEFS without casting aspersions on others who don’t agree with them. :-)

  • All great info….thank you Jillee. I use Barlean’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil and I buy it at Amazon.com. I love this coconut oil and use it for baking, frying anything, even toss potatoes in it before roasting them and warm our dog’s home cooked meals in it. It’s very healthy for dogs too. Another book that is a must read and talks about good and bad fats is GRAIN BRAIN by neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter. The surprising truth about wheat, carbs and sugar– our brain’s silent killers. It’s about brain health and how to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and why we need a high fat/low carb diet for our brain’s health. Very enlightening. He says higher cholesterol is better for the heart and brain!!! Totally opposite of what we’ve been told in the past. Shows how vital it is to stay tuned to the latest findings.

  • Ahhhh! Such a hard subject. I’ve been trying to figure this out for awhile. So much conflicting info out there. I’ve liked the “Food Matters” info so far. Much more natural approach, and they seem fairly balanced. But I haven’t fully followed everything they’ve said, and changing eating habits has been a process for us for sure!

    It’s so frustrating though. We switched to canola oil a couple years ago because my online reseach said that was better than other oils. Then I heard about all the nasty processes and things that go into making canola oil-not to mention canola is all GMO. Sigh….. who do you listen to? How can you know what’s really best?

    Thanks for posting this. It seems most people behaved themselves and didn’t get too mean about things. That’s good. Maybe I missed it though…

  • I have to respectfully disagree that Deborah gave solid advise. I can’t stick my head in the sand and refuse to accept the idea that what we’ve grown up thinking about nutrition, specifically the in ‘fats’ dept. might not be in our best interest. I won’t be too lazy to do what it takes to be healthy. It’s so worth the effort to research, buy and use coconut oil (not that expensive) or to find the ‘good butter’ at the store (the taste alone makes it worth every penny!) I appreciate all the good info that’s been shared on this topic. Thanks for leaving it open for discussion.

  • Ugh I LOVE coconut oil, I use it for everything, from baking, cooking, EVERYTHING. I use it in place of butter in a lot of places, because I’m lactose intolerant and can’t eat butter that often. I use coconut oil on my cat, on my skin, hair… I can’t think of what I don’t use it for :]

  • I had my physical yesterday and my cholesterol was under 200 but triglycerides were over 400. I take Red Rice Yeast and CoQ10 for cholesterol. My physician and I had a great talk about my choice of fats. So, your blog today was very helpful. One thing my physician said that I found helpful was that when eating nuts eat raw nuts. The roasting process changes the good fats. She also suggested eating sliced almonds versus whole. The whole nuts are often not chewed thoroughly and do not break down well in digestion and we miss some of the good benefits.

    I am so turned off by packaging claims and I have become unimpressed with claims of “organic”.

  • A GREAT topic, and by the comments, one that many of us are concerned about. I’m glad you brought it up. I cook with and use mainly beef tallow, coconut oil and olive oil. We are big nut eaters, but I’m the only one in the house who eats avocados and olives (yippee for me!). Thank you, Jillee, for bringing up this topic.

  • I forgot to ask my question. I use only 2 kinds of oil these days–a high quality olive oil & coconut oil (just the LouAna brand so far b/c I don’t know what kind is best).
    What of coconut oil? What are the different kinds? What are the different processes? Is organic really necessary?–I mean are these tropical places using dangerous chemical to boost their harvests? It seems to me that coconut trees just grow and don’t need interference from people to grow more/bigger etc. And what kinds of pests infest–I am guessing none. So–aren’t they all pretty much organic?

    • I will try to answer your question:

      There are two different kinds of coconut oil: refined and unrefined.

      Refined is normally considered regular and it has virtually no coconut taste or aroma. It produces oil from dried copra (not fresh coconuts) and the oil typically undergoes various levels of being deodorized and bleached.

      Unrefined is normally considered virgin (or extra virgin in the US) and it possesses a fresh coconut taste and aroma. It is typically made from fresh coconuts, but processing techniques will still vary in determining the product’s final quality.

      For the most health benefits coconut oil should be purchased in the unrefined or (extra) virgin form. It is even more beneficial to choose a variety that is organic and raw.

    • Yes peanut oil is use in turkey frying. I have no idea what category it falls into because I’ve never actually used it. No matter where we stand on fats and such I know my husband will still fry turkeys in peanut oil and we will enjoy them.

    • I buy California Olive Ranch. Best to stick to olive oil made in the US, as there’s a huge scam with lots of Italian olive oil not being pure olive oil (despite labels), often cut with inferior vegetable oils (and so upping our intake of Omega-6, which is not good).

  • I’m excited to look into several of the books that were recommended in the comments.

    I didn’t know not to heat Olive Oil. I know if you add butter it will raise the smoking point. Is that still a no no? And, if canola oil and others shouldn’t be used, what do you recommend for baking? My daughter loves to bake so if I threw out all of our oil she may throw a fit, lol.

    Thank you everyone for sharing your opinions and additional facts.

  • I think a lot of folks are misreading this post. I had to read it 3 times myself. I think the problem is that there is gray area between the “Good & Bad” fats; and that area could have been expounded upon. For an example–Polyunsaturated fats fall under the good category (why? because the “powers that be” put them there). But we know that PolyU’s are not created equal. While many of them have redeeming qualities; they also can carry with them a host of bad points. With some PolyU’s we are better off throwing out the chicken with the oil (you know the baby & the bath water saying). On the flip side, many of the” bads”, depending on their source and processing have redeeming qualities that can even “trump” PolyU’s.
    Perhaps what we need is a rating system of Evil, Bad, Worrisome, Borderline, Not So Bad, Goodish, Almost Tops & Best.

  • I so agree with many of the feedback (comments) here. I cook, use coconut oil almost exclusively. In baking and in cooking. On occasion, I will use butter, but 99 percent of the time I use COCONUT OIL. With a husband with heart disease, diabetes and abnormal cells (pre-cancer) I have to be careful. I also, use coconut oil as a face and hair moisturizer as well as toothpaste (just straight coconut) I tried it once, and I won’t go back to tube toothpaste again. It leaves my teeth feeling like I’ve just been to the dentist…………………………….

  • What I find interesting in reading the comments is that people ” trust” their sources so therefore their sources must be right. Some say you can’t trust the FDA because they have hidden agendas. Well how do you know your trusted sources don’t have hidden agendas? How many trusted sources in the past have later turned out to be exposed as someone or some group subsidizes by one industry or another? Even doctors get their consultant fees from somewhere. Does Dr. Weill or other researchers mentioned get their funding from any particular industry supporting a particular view? So who can you really trust? Remember all the hype re eggs, sugar,etc? Oils are going through the same thing. It may be years before it’s all sorted out. People need to do what is best for them and their families and experiment. Using the oils that make you feel better. Read a variety of sources and buy the at oils you can afford. Coconut oil is really expensive, and if you wanted to use it not only for cooking, but hair and skin care that could put a big dent in one’s budget. The other oils/using the right butter— where does one find the right butter? Seems what is good for you today will kill you tomorrow.

    • I agree, Rebecca. I’ts impossible to know. My husband’s male relatives died early of heart disease but so far Hubby is still OK at 60 year old. He’s been on cholesterol meds for several years. I do plan to research these oils and switch to more healthy ones.

    • Deborah, you’re right, it’s hard to know who to trust. When studies are done, the results may be meaningless, depending on how the study was conducted. For instance, studies that showed that low fat diets were best were arrived at by allowing the high fat people to also eat high carb, thus skewing the results. Even when studies are mentioned in the press, they can leave out important parts of the study and latch onto peripheral bits, touting them as results.

      For me, it seemed like it made sense that because we evolved eating meat fats, that’s what is best for our bodies. The sugars (except honey), grains and oils we eat and use were not around then, and our bodies have a problem with them. Meats, fish and fowl and greens were around all year, and other vegetables and fruits were seasonally available, so that’s our healthiest diet, IMO. But I still read studies to see what’s being discovered each day.

  • Please read “The Cholesterol Myth”. It is an eye-opener about a lipid theory proposed many years ago about the relationship of high cholesterol foods and heart disease. This theory, despite many tests, has never been proven to be true. But Big Pharma has made millions…

  • Susan, for your oven fried chicken use lard from pastured pigs, chicken fat, bacon grease, duck fat, coconut oil. Do a search for local suppliers or buy from your food coop, make friends with CSA farmers, you will find sources! Try to find raw milk, if your state doesn’t allow the sale, get involved to change the law! Know your farmer!

    • Go to Realmilk.com. There is a “finder” on the website and you put in your state and you can see where you can get raw milk in your area or as close to it.

  • I’ve always heard you should never use “extra virgin” olive oil to cook, only in salads, etc… And that you could use regular olive oil for cooking. So is this true, I’m throwing my canola out!!!!

  • Thank you ! Thank you! to everyone who has posted. I literally just walked over to my cabinet and threw out my bottle of canola oil. Right on the label it says “0 grams trans fat…100% pure and natural…good for your heart…provides the best nutritional balance….” Oh my no wonder people are confused. I have always gone the route of pure etc foods but I guess from now on I will stick to pure and natural foods that I know where they came from. Yeah…..what is a canola???? :0 Can anyone please advise me how to make my panko “fried” chicken? I cook it in the oven in my cast iron pan but thought I was doing good by using olive oil- why is olive oil not good to heat? What should I use now?

  • Hopefully with situations like this post, it will help spread the word that America (and lots of doctors and nutritionists) needs to change the way we eat and what we’ve learned in the past about what to eat/not eat. As I mentioned in a reply above, both our general practitioner and my husband’s cardiologist have changed their recommendations about how to eat and admit that what they have been telling their patients for years is wrong. As one doctor put it in regards to my and my husband’s health issues, “It’s not your fault but it IS your problem”. Now we’re working on our health problems by changing our diet, with the help of our doctors’ new guidelines, and things are improving drastically!

  • I agree with those above, choose coconut oil, organic butter, your body know what to do with it, not these engineered oils that are thought out in a chemistry lab. Our body needs nutrients from natural things. I follow Dr Russell L. Blaylock, he has a wonderful newsletter every month and helps to understand how we should eat and other toxins to stay away from. It is worth looking into. I will check out the others that your readers have suggested, I’m sure by comments they sound well informed. The Blaylock wellness report Vol 10 No.5 goes extensively into Fats. Article “Revealed” the Food Industry’s Deadly Lies about Fat. A must read to understand “fats”. Remember there is a lot of money going into marketing products that are unhealthy, some are outright lies. I do love your site but can’t agree with you on this topic sorry. Do keep up doing your topics, if anything here you sparked a lot of knowledge and I hope followers have read these and do some research of their own. This just might have been ’round a about’ good thing for those that read the comments. Gets people out there thinking about what they are consuming.

  • Both our general practitioner and my husband’s cardiologist have recently done a complete turn-around in the recommendations they are giving to their patients about how to eat. And YOU are spot on, Rebecca! We are following their guidelines and our health is improving dramatically. It’s been difficult to throw out the window everything we previously learned about how to eat but the changes are right before our eyes so there’s no denying it.

  • Oh my goodness. Take jillee’s advice or don’t. Everyone is responsible for their choices. Research anything thoroughly before taking it as fact. Including all these comments and advice. Everyday the “facts” and “studies” tout something as amazing and the next day it will kill you.
    Thanks for the great articles and recipes Jillee.

  • Dear Jillee:

    I am so happy you posted this! It takes a lot of courage and style to continually put your ideas “out there” never knowing the response you may receive. I have immensely enjoyed all of your posts and have learned so many valuable things through them. look forward to many more coming to my inbox.

    I respectfully suggest checking your local library for two excellent books on the matter of nutrition and fats: “Nourishing Traditions (The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats)” and “Eat Fat, Lose Fat”.

    I also applaude your decision to cook and eat healthier.

    Hugs,

    Gramma Lu in T’Rivers, WI

  • Agree completely with Rebecca. Would never recommend vegetable or canola oils. They are very unhealthy. I cook with coconut oil and grass fed butter. These are very healthy options. Use olive oil only when I am not concerned about the smoke point. Also, never concerned with calorie counting and never use the word “diet” to describe how I eat. Eat fresh. Eat local. Eat organic. End of story.

  • I can’t believe everything I read especially such an important topic concerning my health. This made we go and research on both sides of the fence, which I have to thank all of you including Jillee.

  • Personally, my family limits any animal fats, other than fish. We cook with coconut oil, and we use olive oil in things that either won’t be heated or won’t be heated much. We replace things like mayo with mashed avocado and eat seeds and nuts as regular parts of our diet. We also limit our dairy since as Elizabeth stated it is so over processed that most of the nutritional value is gone – unless you can find a raw source locally and afford it. We also avoid processed foods since they are full of so much crap food ingredients that either provide no nutritional value or are harmful to the body.

    Thank you for bringing this topic up and starting the conversation. I just hope most people read through the comments as well :-)

  • Since switching to saturated fats and getting away from processed foods, my husband is no longer on blood pressure meds, his cholesterol is lower, I’ve lost 16 pounds and my family’s overall health has improved tremendously. We proudly eat full fat yogurts, milk, and cheese, and only cook with coconut oil or olive oil. I can’t afford to buy everything organic but we focus on the things that matter. We’ve all been seduced by the convenience foods in our society, but this family is in recovery!

  • I am hoping this discussion causes many to do their own research. And even the cardiologists and nutritionists are often not up to speed because research is a good 17 to 25 years ahead of what they know. Case in point: over 25 years ago lipid researcher Dr. Mary Enig tried to get the word out about the dangers trans fats but all her efforts were stifled by the food industry among others. Dr. Enig went on to co-found the Weston A. Price foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to getting the truth out about nutrition and to encourage people to eat nutrient dense foods. Another example of a perpetuating myth has to do with cholesterol. Consider the fact that cholesterol is essential in the structure of all our cell membranes and also many of our hormones and decide if you would like to be more informed about that before doing everything you can to lower your cholesterol artificially. To be fair to Jillee there is one word about coconut oil in the paragraph about monounsaturated fats where she also mentions the reasons why canola oil is not a good choice.

  • When checking your labels for trans fats, remember that any amount up to .5 grams does NOT have to be listed. Add up the broken down fat grams and see if they add up to the Total Fat Grams listed. If not, you most likely have hidden trans fats!

    Also, please remember that the Settled Science of today is the Bunk Science of tomorrow. Everything that Jillee listed here is basically what my husband’s cardiologist and dietitian both recommended. Olive oil can be used for cooking as long as you keep your heat to medium or below. Most stove tops don’t go over 350* at medium and olive oil’s smoke point is 375*. Besides, the Greeks have been cooking with olive oil for centuries. ;)

  • Jillee, I love your blog and have used it a lot in the past several years. I have to tell you, in all fairness, that these comments are spot on. :) Does that mean that I like you any less? No, absolutely not. I will continue to read your blog………..

  • Vegetable oils have been banned from our house for over a year. Coconut oil, grass-fed butter, tallow, and other healthy saturated fats are what we use for cooking. Olive, nut and avocado are terrific for salads and other cold uses. Between this change and eliminating grains, my health turn-around has been so complete that my doctor took me off of all medications. Wishing good health to you and the rest of your readers!

  • Thanks for making an effort to clarify. I’m curious if your research included information on low fat dairy. I’ve heard some terrifyingly gross information about how much these products are processed, especially skim milk. So for my family right now, we only buy organic whole milk and hope the increased cost is worth it.

    • There’s a reason low fat string cheese doesn’t string and why low fat cream cheese has that gross taste and doesn’t melt well. When removing fat, they also remove vital nutrients and have to add them back. You just can’t add back reasonable texture and flavor. They actually have to add back Vitamins A and D to low fat milk because they’re removed with the fat.

  • HI Jillee, I applaud you for trying to eat healthier. Coconut oil has multiple benefits and should have been mentioned in this post. Some years ago it got a bad rap because in its solidified state it looked like lard and lard was considered bad. However, at 76 degrees it changes to a liquid and our bodies are warmer than that so in the body it is liquefied. Canola oil is a junk oil. We know that olive oil comes from olive trees, avocado oil comes from avocados but where does canola oil come from? There is no plant named canola. Canola oil comes from the rapeseed plant, a highly toxic plant. Supposedly it is refined but I wouldn’t trust it. It is made in Canada so they named it canola, meaning Canada oil. They knew if they named it rapeseed oil no one would purchase it. The powers that be did a real marketing piece when they touted it as a healthy oil and peddled it to unsuspecting consumers. Besides, the taste isn’t even flavorful like that of the better oils.

  • Oh wow! I am very confused! I guess everything in moderation…For myself, I make my own salad dressing with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, make my own baked goods with applesauce instead of oil, snack on nuts, have gaucomole and beano chips instead of sour cream dip and chips, etc. I just try to think of how to eat the healthiest food by reading labels and making a lot of things myself.

  • I too use coconut oil, tallow, my own pastured and rendered lard, as well as bacon fat from bacon derived from pastured animals. My pantry no longer contains any of the industrial seed oils – these things are not natural, are highly processed, and most likely rancid before they even hit the store shelves.

  • Dear Jillee,
    I’ve spent last four years researching healthy food and “alternative” medicine and the advice I have is this:
    – use coconut oil for cooking because it has a high smoking point (logical if you think that it sits inside a dark brown sphere on top of palm trees in the tropical heat). Also, does not get stored in your fat, but is immediately used by the body.
    – other oils and omega 3-rich foods are better unheated, because omega 3 fats turn into free radicals when heated. Exceptionally, you can heat olive oil, but preferably not for long and not at high temperatures.

    • I love using coconut oil but need some help here. Do you have any tips for cooking w/ coconut oil? I find that I have a really hard time keeping food from sticking (and then getting the pans clean). Everything sticks!! Eggs are especially awful. What am I doing wrong? I use really good tri-ply stainless steel pans.

      • Do you let your pan get hot enough? Heat it without oil for a couple minutes until you think it’s good then let it go a little longer. Then add your oil. Your food will let go when it’s ready, leaving things alone is the hardest part about cooking sometimes!

    • Coconut oil is mentioned in the monounsaturated fats paragraph, under good fats. I thought Jillee did a good job with general information about good and bad fats.

  • Oh Jillee :( You know I love you, and you know I love this blog but the comments about vegetable oil, soybean oil, etc, are spot on. You should never heat olive oil to it’s smoking point either. I do use organic avocado oil periodically, but mostly I use grass-fed beef tallow, pastured pork-lard, or grass-fed butter in all of my cooking. The saturated fats are SO MUCH healthier for you than the poly- and mono-unsaturated fats. The Weston A Price foundation is an excellent resource to learn about TRUE healthy fats to nourish our bodies properly.

    Keep up all your great posts, Jillee.

    • I agree that healthy meat fats seem to be the best fats for us, but there will be more research on this. It appears that homo sapiens evolved eating grass-fed meat fats, so that sounds healthiest for us. Gary Taubes is about to do some serious research on this through the Nutrition Science Institute, so maybe we’ll have the most reliable answer to this in a few years.

    • I have been reading the Eat Fat Lose Fat book based on Winston Price’s research also. I am so confused about everything, but it does say things like whole milk and butter are better then the low fat versions and butter. I have been incorporating the coconut oil into my diet too. Also I have been slathering the oil on my hands and it has kept them from drying out this winter.

    • Rebecca is very much on the ball here. Saturated fats have erroneously been villified for far too long now. The good news, is the truth about saturated fats and polyunsaturated oils is starting to be spread largely due to social websites and internet access reaching more and more homes. I would try Dr. Mercola and/or Gary Taubes, if I really wanted “expert” understandings on this much maligned topic.
      No detriment to Jillee, I subscribe for a reason. She is very clued in to thrifty, imaginative ideas that together help make the world a nicer place.

  • So glad you posted this Jillee. I just got a Fitbit and I’m starting to eat much healthier and exercising more. The Fitbit syncs with the My Fitness Pal app, which helps count your calories (among other things). There’s a daily and weekly log of all of your nutritional intake and it shows poly- and monounsaturated fats. I’m not sure why but the “goal” for both is zero. I’m usually around 2 or 3 grams a week. I’ve had no trans fat though! :)

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