The Skinny on Fats
Fats, once vilified in the United States, are now coming back into food ‘fashion’. Thank goodness!!
So have you ever wondered what the REAL truth is? About fats, I mean?
If you have a cholesterol problem, it’s likely you have a doctor telling you to avoid saturated fat.
So are saturated fats bad?
The human body cannot live without fat. In fact, your cell membranes are made up of fat. Yes, each of the millions of cells in your body is covered with a sheath of fat. Fats provide the building blocks for cell membranes.
So how can we eat fat, even saturated fat, and be lean and healthy?
Is there a secret?
The answer is yes. The secret is the way you eat fat….
Some fats should be totally avoided:
- Vegetable oils (corn, soy and peanut, for example)
- Trans fats
- Oxidized fat
A trans fat is a man-made disaster!
Trans Fats are formed from hydrogenation, a chemical process that changes a liquid oil into a solid fat. They raise cholesterol levels faster and higher than any saturated fat and should be AVOIDED. Whenever you see the word hydrogenated in front of any oil name on a package, avoid it like the plague.
An oxidized fat is a fat that has deteriorated chemically. The fastest way to deteriorate a fat is to overheat it. Some fats, are by design, supposed to be eaten cold or lightly heated.
We’ve all heard the saying: ‘Different strokes for different folks’…
With fats, my mantra is: Different fats for different uses.
- If you want a crispy roast chicken, your fat is duck fat. Yes, duck fat! Duck fat is considered a saturated fat, but in reality is a combination of monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and saturated fat. The smoke point of duck fat is right around 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- A fat, such as extra virgin olive oil, has a smoke point of only 320 degrees Fahrenheit. It should be used cold or in low temperature cooking.
- If you want to ‘sauté’, you are better off with butter, yes butter… It has a smoke point of 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Better still is ghee (my personal preference) with a smoke point of 375 – 485 degrees, depending on the purity. The higher the purity, the higher the smoke point.
- If you want to sear meat or stir fry, my go-to would be avocado oil due to the high smoke point of 420 degrees.
The French eat fat and stay thin; this is part of the reason why.
All these numbers are tough to remember so I’ve created a handy downloadable chart for you. You can print it out and keep it your kitchen for reference.
Check out my article: Trans Fats? Types Of Fat, The Smoke Point Of Fats & Why It’s All Important ; it’s filled with great information about fats including what happens to fats when overheated.
OK – now go spread some butter your grain-free toast 🙂
This Week at Nina Cucina
Speaking of fat, have you considered vinaigrette sauce? Vinaigrette is not only for salad; it’s wonderful warm on meats, fish or cooked veggies. In fact, in can turn a meal from mediocre to MARVELOUS with very little effort. Check out some great vinaigrette recipes here .
Recipe of the Week
This week’s featured recipe spotlights two healthy fats: coconut and omega-3 fatty acids. My Thai Salmon recipe is a fast and easy mid-week meal that’s filled with omega-3s from the salmon plus the health benefits of coconut! More on the health benefits of coconut in another newsletter 🙂