Oils Ain’t Oils
Good fats and oils are essential for any healthy balanced nutrition plan, they provide a source of energy, protect the heart and blood vessels from disease, thus promoting good cardiovascular health, provide building blocks for our cell membranes, and help absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E and K). However choosing fats and oils can often seem overwhelming with so much conflicting and often confusing information.
So just what is the lowdown on oils and fats?
Good Fats Vs Bad Fats
Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats are generally known as the ‘Good Fats’ and are derived from plant and vegetable products. In a balanced diet these oils and fats help prevent heart disease, as well as other serious illnesses by lowering LDL ‘bad cholesterol’ and raising HDL ‘good cholesterol’, reducing inflammation, and providing cancer-preventive antioxidants. They are usually a liquid at room temperature so generally the term oil applies. Monounsaturated oils/fats are the preferred choice and include Olive oil, Apricot Kernell and Avocado oil. Polyunsaturated fats include safflower oil, soybean oil and cottonseed oil; consuming too much has been shown to lower your HDL ‘Good Cholesterol’.
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats found naturally in oily fish, nuts, seeds, and leafy green vegetables. They are considered to be essential for our health, but are not produced by our body, so need to be added. Good sources are Fish Oil, Flaxseed and Walnut Oil.
Saturated fats also known as ‘Bad Fats’ are typically derived from animal products such as meat, dairy and eggs. These fats are solid at room temperature and are known to contribute to an increase in LDL “Bad” Cholesterol levels. However they are also found in some naturally occurring plant-based sources such as coconut, which can be much better for you. Learn More>>
Trans fats or Hydrogenated Fats, also a “Bad Fat” are actually an unsaturated fat, but are responsible for raising LDL and reducing HDL. Trans fats are typically used to extend the shelf life of processed foods, typically cookies, cakes, fries and donuts.
- BEWARE – any food item that contains ‘Hydrogenated Oil’ or ‘Partially Hydrogenated Oil‘ as it will likely contain Trans fats, so check your labels!
- AVOID these fats where possible.
Oils and Fats are very high in calories, so it is generally considered prudent to limit your intake of any oils and fats to less than 100mL or 4 Tablespoons per day, particularly if you are concerned about weight management/reduction.
What’s more important is to control the types of fat you consume by –
- Eliminating Trans Fats TOTALLY – Fast Food, Fried and Baked Products, Snack Foods, Muffins, Cakes, Biscuits etc.
- Generally avoiding ‘Animal Based’ Saturated Fats i.e. replace butter with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, beef with chicken or fish etc.
- Limit your oil/fat intake to the ‘Good Fats’, especially those with a good source of Omega 3, like Fish Oil, & ‘High Lignan’ Flaxseed oil.
So, What About Canola Oil? What are you Kidding????
There is no such thing as Canola; it was manufactured in Canada in the 1970’s and the Canadian government backed it – CANadian Oil Low Acid!
It’s actually made with Genetically Modified (GMO) Rapeseed; part of the mustard family. Rapeseed oil was produced in the 19th century as a source of a lubricant for steam engines. Rapeseed oil is toxic to living things as it produces oil with 20-50% concentrations of erucic acid, a toxin and known pathogen. It’s often used as a pesticide and typically as a lubricant, fuel, soap and synthetic rubber base.
In the early 1970’s plant breeders in Canada developed a strain of rape plant, by seed splitting, that produced a seed with less than 2% erucic acid and “Canola” was born. In doing so, it did however create a seed with increased levels of oleic acid raising further concerns about blood platelet abnormalities, growth retardation (illegal in infant formulas), free radical damage and higher cancer risks due to the hydrogenation process.
Still in what was one of the greatest marketing campaigns the world has ever seen, the manufacturer’s convinced the masses (namely the USA) that Canola Oil was the new ‘Wonder Oil’, and large parts of the world jumped on board. It’s now one of the most widely used oils in the food manufacturing and prepared/fast food industry. The internet is awash with claims and counterclaims of the dangers of Canola Oil; Google it yourself and see.
If you don’t have time don’t bother, just AVOID it. I for one will never go near it; remember the food scientists in the white lab coats………..No thanks – there are far better alternatives.
Well What do we Use?
When I started looking at fats and oils and what was good for me, and more importantly, what was bad for me, I decided that Monounsaturated and Omega 3 Fatty Acids would be high on my list of priorities; that along with ‘Cold Pressed’ manufacturing.
What is Cold Pressing?
Cold pressing refers to oils obtained through pressing fruit or seeds with a modern steel press.
Although pressing does produce heat through friction, the oil seeds are not precooked and consequently the oil is considered cold pressed – in contrast to large scale solvent extraction and refining operations (hexane extraction), which strip the oil of natural antioxidants, vitamins and flavour. The solvent extraction method is used to produce most common cooking oils found in supermarkets.
Cold pressed oils retain all of their flavour, aroma, and nutritional value, making these oils great for all cooking and skin care requirements. They contain zero grams of trans fatty acids and are naturally cholesterol-free.
It is important to note that both solvent extracted and cold pressed oils can be used in cosmetics and skin care, but only cold pressed will deliver goodness to the skin.
Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Oils will provide a vital contribution to your healthier life:
- They are cholesterol free,
- They are not refined, deodorised or processed in any way,
- They do not contain harmful solvent residues,
- Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Oils contain no added chemicals or preservatives,
- They contain natural antioxidants such as tocopherols (e.g. Vitamin E) and phosphatides (e.g. Lecithin),
- The natural flavour and odour is retained, enhancing your favourite recipes.
Well there are lots of manufacturers meeting these criteria, but I was also looking to support Australian made and it had to be reasonably priced. This company ticked all of the boxes and I’ve been using their oils ever since.
They are based in Queensland and produce a large range of cold pressed oils for the health food, pharmacy, cosmetic and food manufacturing sectors, using Australian grown fresh produce.
In keeping with our Caveman/Paleo derived nutrition plan, I have listed the below oils which we use on a regular basis. These are all available on My Online Store.
- Flaxseed Oil – This is one of our favourites and features a pleasant nutty taste. It has a high “Smoke point” so is great for the sort of high heat cooking that Paul likes – Stir Frying, Sautéing, Searing Chicken, Meat and Seafood.
- Olive Oil – This one we use for low heat cooking, drizzling over Italian style salads etc. Having used various olive oils for years, this one doesn’t taste anywhere near as processed as some of the cheaper European brands.
- Walnut Oil – Paul uses this one with Middle Eastern style dishes including dips and relishes.
- Apricot Kernel Oil – After hearing about all the health benefits of dried apricot kernels, we decided to give this a go, and now use it instead of other oils when baking.
- Pumpkin Seed Oil – Whilst a bit more expensive than the others, this oil is delightful. It has a light nutty taste and is delicious drizzled over bananas and vanilla ice-cream.
- Avocado Oil – Paul uses this oil to make delicious home made mayonnaise and other salad dressings. It handles high heat cooking too.
If you’d like to see the range and get some further information, just click on the button below and it will take you to the products on my online store.
Yours in good health,
Dr Rachel Cameron.