2 - Fats & Oils


Why: Fats are a much maligned macronutrient yet are essential for good health. They are a long burning source of energy and the preferred fuel for the heart. Fats make up our cell membranes; they are required for absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K; they prevent energy swings by slowing the absorption of food; and they are key in the anti-inflammatory process. Plus they make food taste good!

How: We need a balance of good fatty acids in our bodies. That means a variety of fats and oils, some saturated, some monounsaturated and a small but essential amount of polyunsaturated. If you are going to be heating the oil – such as sauteing or baking, use the stable saturated fats that can withstand the heat. These include animal fats like butter and tropical oils like coconut oil. In salad dressings and as snacks, use mono-unsaturated fats like extra-virgin olive oil and avocados and the essential polyunsaturated oils such as cold-pressed seed and nut oils.

[TIP] If you have access to pasture-raised organic, nitrate-free bacon, SAVE the bacon grease. Just start a jar and keep in the refrigerator. Makes an excellent fat for sauteing eggs or vegetables.


Why: The way a polyunsaturated fat is processed determines if it acts as a nutrient in your body or as a toxin. Most polyunsaturated oils like soy, canola, sunflower, safflower and cottonseed are processed at very high temperatures and pressures rendering them rancid. By removing them from their seed, the protective antioxidants are also removed.

Trans fats are processed even further by forcing additional hydrogen molecules into the oil. This makes the oil solid resembling saturated animal fats but they act very differently in your body. They interfere with the anti-inflammatory process, disrupts cholesterol levels balance, and significantly lowers visual acuity in infants.

How: Buy only cold pressed vegetable oils, keep them refrigerated and NEVER heat them. Avoid anything listing “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oil as an ingredient. That tells you it contains trans fats. Due to labeling loopholes, these can still say zero trans fats on the nutritional label. Check the ingredient listing!

[TRADE] When recipes ask for shortening, use butter or coconut oil. They each give a different distinctive taste to the recipe, so it is wise to keep both on hand.


Why: Your choice of fats and oil affects more than just your health; it affects our environment too. Conventional seed oil crops are doused with pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilizers. Genetic engineering to make crops resistant to herbicides is also creating super weeds that are also resistant to herbicides. Then these seed oils are highly processed, bleached and deodorized. Many meat animals are raised in horrible industrial style factory conditions. Toxins accumulate in animal fats when fed with pesticide laden and/or genetically engineered corn or soy plus other feed additives.

How: Buy the best quality fats & oils that you can afford. Organic is better than conventional. If you can buy lard or butter directly from a farmer who takes care to raise the animals without toxins, even better. Buy organic cold-pressed vegetable or seed oils.

[TIP] So much soy, canola, cottonseed and corn is now genetically modified. By avoiding any foods containing them, you lower your food bill because you are avoiding most high profit processed foods.

Ready for more?

Book: "Eat Fat, Lose Fat" by Mary Enig & Sally Fallon (good introduction to cooking with coconut and coconut oil; available in Whatcom County Library System)

Online Article: How to Render Lard (one of many recipes to be found online)

Website: Know Your Fats section on WAPF website (45+ articles listed)

<< Return to Water & Other Beverages                       Continue to Seed-based Foods >>