Why the right type of fat matters
While most people may believe that all fats are not healthy for you, fats that we consume on a daily basis can actually be quite healthy.
Well-sourced fats (saturated, monounsaturated, and some polyunsaturated) can be a prime source of energy and keep us satiated for long periods of time. As our cell membranes are mostly made out of fats, eating the right fats is a top priority that you shouldn’t skip out on. Saturated fat (found in coconut oil, butter, lamb and beef tallow, for instance) is important to cellular function and to a large number of hormonal and metabolic activities. Chemically-altered fats are the fats to avoid. Also, we want to watch our consumption of healthy omega-6 polyunsaturated fats (like in raw nuts and seeds), as we want to strive to have an omega-6-to-omega-3 ratio under 4:1, as mentioned in my post about Why We Must Consume Omega-3 Fats. So what are the fats and oils to consume?
Sidenote: Oils are composed of fats. When you think of cooking oils, think fats.
The 10 “Primal-approved fats and oils”
These are fats and oils listed in The New Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson.
- Animal fats: Chicken, duck, or goose fat; lard (pork fat); beef or lamb tallow; recycled bacon grease; and other animal fats. All these are great for cooking as they don’t oxidize at high temperatures.
- Avocado oil: a mostly monounsaturated fat like olive oil, but with a high smoke point of 400 degrees (204 degrees C), so we can cook with it, which is what I buy avocado oil for.
- Butter: great for cooking with too.
- Coconut oil: another awesome choice to cook with.
- Dark roasted sesame oil: because of its strong flavor, it works great in wok recipes.
- High-omega-3 oils: these would be borage, cod liver, krill, salmon, and hemp seed oils. Great on cold dishes like salads. You can learn more about omega-3 fats in the following post: Why We Must Consume Omega-3 Fats.
- Macadamia nut oil: this is another oil with a high smoke point (413 degrees F or 210 degrees C), great for cooking (or drizzle over food).
- Marine oils: these refer to the high-quality fish and krill oils that we consume as supplements usually. For instance, every day I take Carlson fish oil.
- Olive oil: extra virgin (and first cold press) only. It can be used for cooking, but only at low temperatures. Otherwise, it is great for dressings and to drizzle over food. You can learn more about olive oil’s health benefits in the following post: Olive Oil: a Daily Wellness Must.
- Palm oil: unprocessed palm oil only can be used for cooking with too.
All the above oils are primal-approved, provided they are high-quality, well-sourced oils (the recommended animal fats have to be from pasture-raised animals). Knowing the above, it is easier to bypass the traditional vegetable/seed oils (canola, corn, soy, safflower, sunflower). These vegetable/seed oils are easily damaged by exposure to light, heat, oxygen, without even mentioning cooking itself.
Among the primal-approved fats, certain fats will probably work better for you than others, so always stay tuned to how your body reacts to what you are consuming. Now to your favorite fat(s) and happy cooking!
Sisson, Mark. The New Primal Blueprint : Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health, and Boundless Energy. Oxnard, Ca, Primal Blueprint Publishing, 2017, pp. 241–43.
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