Choose and Use Good Fats (print-out!)

use good fats print-out guide

Good fats vs. bad fats

Good fats vs. bad fats…  this is perhaps the most controversial and enduring topic in world of nutrition. To further complicate the fat conundrum, we must not only choose the good fats but use them in a way to preserve their healthful qualities and prevent them from turning into bad fats. For example, cold-pressed sunflower seed oil provides a neutral-flavored base for cold salad dressings. But if you heat that oil, due to the unstable double bonds in the oil (a.k.a. polyunsaturated fatty acids), it will oxidize and become toxic to body cells.

How to use good fats: a print-out!

The image chart below is perfect for your Pinterest boards, but I formatted a print-friendly list so you can stick it on your fridge for easy reference.

Download the print-friendly How To Use Good Fats here (it’s a PDF).

 

how to use good fats chart

 

Sources: Know Your Fats by Mary Enig, Put Your Heart In Your Mouth by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

http://www.foodrenegade.com/your-extravirgin-olive-oil-fake/http://www.foodrenegade.com/hemp-oil-hemp-seeds-safety/http://www.marksdailyapple.com/flax-prostate-cancer-risk/#axzz2Nc8cQTxL

 

We’re having a great discussion down below in the comments! If you have a question after reading this list, check the comments because I might have already answered it there. I’d love for you to join in our discussion!

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Comments

        • Karen says

          Borneo is losing huge tracts of rainforest due to clear cutting to create palm plantations. This is habitat for Orangutans and Probosis Monkeys and many other animals who are now threatened. Best not to use palm oil.

        • Gail says

          No, Alethea is correct. YOU can google and see the massive massacring of orangetans – even setting them on fire! They are murdering the animals and cutting down the forests to plant the $$$$ producing Palm.

          • John says

            if it comes to a question of MY health and the assumption that maybe an animal is slaughtered in Borneo to produce the item, sadly I have to tell you that MY health has first and foremost priority. That is the price we pay for being on top of the food chain. That is reality, just as the animal fat we use such as lard comes from animals that we kill to get it.

            • Kendra says

              Wow.

              Yes, health is 100% important, but at what cost? The cost to our environment? To endangered species & other living beings? (For example, is it also okay that bees are dying due to “our” negligence? “Who cares? They’re just bees! Right?” Wrong. But that’s another discussion.)

              When a species is in danger, it affects us more than you may realize. The murder and slaughter of Orangutans is atrocious and unforgivable. But in addition to that, rainforests are vital to our very existence! Not only are they home to between 50-90% of the world’s species, but they are important for the earth’s climate regulation, they are vital for carbon dioxide regulation & absorption (probably the main reason behind “global warming”!), are responsible for providing resources for a wide number of today’s modern medicines, and many, many more reasons.

              Palm oil is definitely a healthier oil to consume, but is it worth it when you realize how it is harvested? There are PLENTY of other healthy options – why choose one that is causing death & destruction? (And palm oil is just the example here. This would be my stance no matter the substance in question.) But, what do I know? Perhaps setting living beings afire is okay with you…

              And while we may be on “top of the food chain,” as you say, if we continue at the rate we’re going with destroying our planet and the species in it (human, plant, animal, or otherwise) we won’t be on top of that chain for as long as we might like! I, certainly, don’t want to be around once we’ve finally destroyed out planet beyond repair – and I can only pray that my children & long after descendants won’t have to suffer that fate.

        • Cookie says

          Face it – whatever oil you eat, it is grown on what used to be a forest. Oil palm produces the largest amount of oil per acre, and thus is the least damaging of all oil crops. Sure, Borneo’s forests are being cut down for timber first (that’s to build your wooden houses) and oil palm second, but what about the Amazon being destroyed for soybeans? Soybean oil, soy milk, tofu, burger fillers, emulsifiers… don’t you consume loads of that too?

          • says

            Good point.

            The conversation can degrade into a debate about ethical farming practices, fair trade, eco-friendly business etc. However, the main gist of the article Lauren was writing is about HEALTH.

            You can make any other number of arguments for just about any mass-produced food, oil or ingredient out there. It does not negate the health aspect of the product.

    • Emily says

      There are sustainable sources for palm oil that do not wantonly damage rainforest or slaughter apes. Tropical Traditions is a good organization for many coconut products and they also carry palm oil produced in Africa. I feel comfortable that they support local communities in their business relationship without the colonial paternalism that so often destroys others. However, it seems they are often on backorder for palm oil.

  1. ChristineAS says

    Hi Lauren

    Thanks for putting all this info on healthy fats in one spot!

    I’d like to print out the image chart with the fun fonts and images. Is there a chance you could provide that as a pdf, too, please?

    • says

      Ground flax is still high in phytoestrogens. Additionally, the (albeit poorly absorbed in the first place) omega-3s present in the flax will be degraded by the oven heat.

  2. Kara says

    Could you explain why not to use grape seed oil? I was told it has a very high flash point and is great for all kinds of cooking. :(

    • Rachael says

      From what i’ve heard about why you should not use it, it is high in omega-6, and you should limit your omega 6 intake and raise your omega-3 intake.

  3. Sandra says

    Yes, please explain why not to use grape seed oil. I love it. Use it all the time.
    I was told it is healthier than olive oil and most other oils.

  4. Juliet Powers says

    I was informed by my sister-in law that they are all bad, so I watched tv and most of the chef’s used olive oil so I recieved the offer I shared with you, haven’t recieved it in the mail but thought it wasn’t as expensive as in the grocery stores plus you get a free Tempurs frying pan with it. It comes from Italy and is sold in the US. I hope I like it. Does anyone have any comments?

  5. Diana says

    What is wrong with grape see oil? I thought it had a low smoking point and was extremely good for you. It was recommended by my nutritionist.

    • says

      According to Mary Enig, author of “Know Your Fats,”
      “Grapeseed oil contains phenols that raise the smoke point. However it is very high in omega-6 fatty acids, so it not a good choice for our diets–we need to avoid excess omega-6 fatty acids as much as possible. Also, grapeseed oil is industrially processed with hexane and other carcinogenic solvents, and traces will remain in the oil.”

      • r says

        I have to agree bacon fat or any animal product fat is KNOWN to clog your arteries when some of these others may have some toxins in them (such as your grapeseed you have discussed) but bacon fat, geese fat, LARD those all equal to walking heart attack.

        When I read this I thought:

        butter –sure, coconut oil–still trying to convence my brain that yes that’s ok but getting there, lard~bacon fat~goose fat–ew and no no no, olive oil ~nut oils~ and avocado oil–yes please…some of the avoids that’s the first seeing them there (grapeseed oil for one) —–that’s just my opinion and take on it

    • says

      My primary sources for this post include the books “Know Your Fats” by Dr. Mary Enig, “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon, “Put Your Heart In Your Mouth” by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, and “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” by Dr. Weston Price.

      • Erin Jane says

        Weston A. Price is a dentist who published _over 80 years ago_! Mary Enig is a nutritionist (Phd and not MD) that relies on some very outdated information that modern science refutes heavily. The majority of the sources used in Enig’s book are from other Weston A. Price foundation doctors as opposed to peer reviewed, medical journals.

        I understand that the want to blame a dark conspirator for any (and every) host of medical woes that may come our way, but do we ever wonder why we jump on board so quickly with a minority of ill qualified people, many of whom seek to profit from their followers directly like Joe Murcola D.O. of the WAPF (charges $59 for an internet questionnaire), rather than the hundreds of reputable doctors who publish in peer reviewed journals that are opened to the public.

        I understand that none of us want to die. I understand the need to vilify our doctors and attempt to take control of our own lives. What we need to do, however; is treat ourselves and our peers like intelligent human beings and stop jumping on board with every dentist that thinks he has found a fountain of healing in correlative evidence. Once again, _Nutrition and Physical Degeneration_ was published in 1939!

        This article is long but very very good. http://www.vegsource.com/news/2010/07/the-truth-about-the-weston-price-foundation.html.

        Also a quick wikipedia search of Enig or Price should give anyone plenty of cause for speculation.

        Eliminating processed foods and chemicals is a very good idea. Local, sustainable food? Excellent. No question. Lets just be very wary of taking our nutritional advice from the fringes of…well, I cannot even really call it science, and, of course, from blogs. This age of constantly sharing information is great, as long as we realize that we have to diligently scrutinize the constant assault of nutritional information that we now receive.

        • says

          I completely agree that we must “diligently scrutinize the constant assault of nutritional information that we now receive.” And I would urge my readers to practice the same scrutinization as they read the heavily-biased article you linked. A vegetarian website discussing the “misinterpretation” of Dr. Price’s work is not an objective source. You insinuate that Dr. Price’s work is outdated and irrelevant because it was published in 1939… but effective dietary wisdom is NEVER outdated.

          • Christy says

            Great response Lauren. It seems that everyone is quick to throw away traditional wisdom for a “new and improved” version of what healthy food is (wikipedia, really?), but slow to do the research on the huge corporations and the massive industrial control of our foods and medicines.
            We have entered a time when the medical students at Harvard are complaining about the quality of their education being corrupted by the pharmaceutical industry and when vegetarianism is being pushed down our throats by the heavily-subsidized-Monsanto-controlled farming industry, I’ll stick with what my ancestors ate (including my grandmother, raised on a farm that grew all of what she ate, AND who is an active 84 with no auto immune disease).
            It’s also disturbing how it’s not acceptable for anyone to make a profit from their work and research anymore either – I guess if it’s not funded by government/corporate-controlled grant money then it must not be true? Hmm.

  6. jay says

    I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT FLAX AND GRAPESEED OIL. I HAVE BEEN EATING FLAX SEED OIL FO R A WHILE FOR INFLAMMATION. AND I USE GRAPESEED OIL AS A “LOTION” FOR DRY SKIN.

    • says

      I can hear you… no need to speak so loudly :)

      For women, the phytoestrogens in flax bind to estrogen receptors but don’t fully function like estrogen. In a nutshell, this is not good (read more here). For men, some studies show that high ALA (from flax seeds and oil) intake is linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer (read more here).

      I discussed grapeseed oil in a comment above. It’s not going to do as much harm if you are putting it on your body instead of eating it. But for a better natural moisturizer, I would recommend coconut oil. I also use rendered beef tallow that I mix with essential oils. This sounds really weird, but tallow is actually more compatible to the biology of our cells than vegetable moisturizers (read more here). Plus, it is the best moisturizer I have ever used.

  7. TREVOR RAPS says

    FOR THOSE WHO REQUIRE ‘HRT’ WITH PHYTOESTROGENS IN THEIR DIET THEN SOYA BEAN OIL & FLAX SEED OILS ARE GREAT. [MOSTLY FEMALES]

    • says

      My goodness, Trevor, why are you yelling?

      Anyway, I disagree. I think it’s best to support metabolism and hormones with fat-soluble vitamins from grassfed animal sources. Natural therapies like acupuncture are also safe and very effective.

      And soybean oil? OMG, don’t get me started on that. It is oxidized and toxic to the body, it causes infertility and hormonal issues, and it supports GM crops that are devastating our planet (over 90% of soybeans are genetically modified). Not to mention that GMO’s are toxic to our bodies.

    • Evangelina Aguilar says

      Thanks Lauren for all the wonderful recipes and information. I totally agree as a person who healed her own cancer, naturally and who have been doing research on all herbs, oils, recipes, therapies, and food, I agree totally with you about coconut oil & olive oil the best oils there are for health, healing, and nutrition. I think most readers need to do a little research, or lots.. most of the other oils out there, are all being produced by genetically modified organisms (the seeds) and Soy is truly one of the worst. Please avoid soy products as much as possible, there might be very few and I mean few farms that might have non GMOs seeds but in any case, Soy creates tons of other issues regarding hormones in males & females. In short Lauren, keep up the good work.. people ought research. Namaste Angelina

  8. Justyna says

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve been wondering more and more lately about what oils to use. I was raised with the idea that canola oil was the way to go, but over the past year or so, I’ve learned just how bad it is and have been at a bit of a loss at to what to do for baking (if a recipe calls for oil, I usually use organic, unsweetened applesauce, but there are instances when that won’t work). You’ve give me a lot to think about/research (thanks for also posting your sources).

  9. Amber says

    I was wondering why you say to only use olive oil from the USA? The ones I use are always imported from italy. I was under the impression that if anything they had more strict rules about how they grow and process it. I was just curious why you suggest only grown in the USA?

  10. says

    Coconut oil is the winner here – it is seriously amazing. If a quality product is selected, it’s a sustainable choice, remains stable when heated and can be used in almost all recipes. I use an organic tasteless coconut oil (Sip of Paradise) when I don’t want that lovely, but full flavour of regular coconut oil. It also solidifies in cooler temperatures (but isn’t a hydrogenated fat), so it’s ideal for raw desserts and snacks. It gives substance, texture and flavour to refrigerated and frozen treats. It also contains up to 50% lauric acid, which has powerful anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. It has been shown to help with candida, hormone imbalances and hypoglycaemia. Coconut oil is also an instant energy source and a super efficient, easily digested fuel source for athletes. It contains no cholesterol and no trans-fatty acids. You’ve probably gathered I love this miracle ingredient!

  11. says

    Grapeseed Oil is NOT a fat to avoid unless you are using solvent pressed instead of cold pressed and Grapeseed oil heats up to 419 degrees without burning so there for it won’t break down unless you are above that temp. Also, polyunstaturated fats are only unhealthy when the maunfacturer exceeds the Omega 3 and Omega 6 ratio. Go to Wildtree.com and you will see that our oil does NOT exceed the proper ratio.
    Grapeseed Oil is very heart healthy and has many healing properties for heart, brain function, joint issues.
    Before you tell people that something is unhealthy maybe you should tell them all the facts!
    There are companies like Wildtree that have superior quality maybe you should check it out.

    • Craig says

      It sounds like you are invested in Wildtree. So maybe you’re not the best person to comment. And when you say things like, “it’s a shame that Lauren makes blanket statements about things…” instead of respectfully disagreeing you further weaken your opinion, in my opinion.

      Nor is Lauren making blanket statements. For one, I’m not aware of any traditional cultures using grapeseed oil in their cooking. And two, here’s another source that explains why the smoke point of an oil is not a good determinant of its health value: http://www.eatnakednow.com/eatnaked/2011/04/12/smokin-hot-or-unsafe-is-cooking-with-grape-seed-oil-a-good-idea/

        • Jess says

          Did anyone go look at the information, or write it off because she is invested in it. I really want to know more about these ratios, and how we are getting too much omega -6 in our diet. I don’t think I am. I love the taste of grapeseed oil, and want to know if they are all the same. Is there a difference if it is expeller pressed, if the ratios are good. Can you please honestly look at this with a critical eye. Thank you.

  12. Linda says

    Here I have been telling all and sunder to use flaxseed oil for moodswings and have been using it in smoothies (ground and oil) for a long time. Thanks for the article

  13. says

    Thanks for the post, though the comment about staying clear of nitrates (“nitrate-free bacon”) is unwarranted. Another myth. The seminal study, as noted by Chris Kresser: http://chriskresser.com/the-nitrate-and-nitrite-myth-another-reason-not-to-fear-bacon#comment-41806 was discredited after peer review.

    Avoiding nitrates/nitrites in bacon is just plain silly. I researched it myself.

    A food study in 2004 (Australia) compared nitrate and nitrite amounts in food. To give you an example:

    Bacon: 36mg/kg sodium nitrate
    15.9 mg/kg sodium nitrite

    Lettuce: 1590 mg/kg sodium nitrate
    2.5 mg/kg sodium nitrite

    The human body converts dietary nitrates to nitrites. Using just the 5% conversion rate (which is baseline – it can go up to 20%) on both means we ingest/convert about 17.7 mg/kg sodium nitrite for bacon and 82 mg/kg sodium nitrite for lettuce.

    For broccoli, it is about even with bacon.

    Moral of the story? Save money and buy some cheaper bacon.

    • Mark says

      The problem is in heating meats that contain these levels of nitrates. This leads to the production of nitrosamines that are carcinogenic. That isn’t an issue with vegetables.

  14. Rachel W. says

    Two questions…
    1. I’ve always used olive oil to cook…fry chicken breasts, beef cubes, etc. in it. I learned this from watching cooking shows on TV (my mom doesn’t cook much, so I had to learn somewhere) and I love Wolfgang Puck stainless steel cookware, so I learned how to cook in them from watching him. From what I’ve watched, you’re supposed to heat the pan, add olive oil, and in a minute, once it’s at the smoke point, then add your food to the pan. Is this bad? Ahhhhh…I thought I was doing this right! :( Please correct me!

    2. I’ve tried cooking in coconut oil before, but my husband and I can’t stand the taste it gives on the meat…tastes like rancid coconut to me. Is there a version of it that isn’t so flavorful that would be better for cooking things like chicken?

    I do save my bacon fat and love cooking eggs in it. I also fry eggs in ghee and sometimes butter. My husband always fries eggs in olive oil…is that bad?

    Thanks for the great article and I’m looking forward to your response!

    • says

      Hi Rachel! It is best to choose the cooking fats from the above list over olive oil. If you don’t like the taste of coconut oil, try refined coconut oil–it has less taste than unrefined coconut oil, and it is still healthy. Ghee is also a great substitute for olive oil in cooking. Do you have a source of rendered lard? That is great for cooking proteins like chicken and beef.

  15. Rustaholic says

    I love this info.
    Most of the sources you listed are books I have.
    The others I will try to find.
    I love Lard for cooking and we always use butter for eggs.
    I need to buy another cow share so I can make more butter.
    ALSO, Do you know about Kombucha?
    Best thing I do and what toxins I do take it the Kombucha helps my body eliminate.

  16. Angela says

    Hi, can you point me in the direction, book or website, of where you got the information specifically regarding Flax oil and Hemp oil? I just bought some flax oil to add to smoothies, but now it’s “bad”? So confused. I bought it specifically for the Omega-3 benefit. It is the Spectrum brand, “Organic Flax Oil with Vitamin D” “Ultra Lignan” “Unrefined”.
    Thanks!

  17. says

    Thanks for this post. I’ve been grappling with this question (which fats for which purpose) for a while now. One question–I was told by a naturopathic doctor to only use coconut oil for baking. Have you heard anything to this effect? I’m wondering if the high heat of sauteing can damage it but I’ve heard mixed things. Thanks!

    • says

      Coconut oil is very stable and great for everything… baking, sautéing and even deep frying. But I sometimes prefer grassfed butter for baking because I like the buttery taste. Either one is a healthy choice.

  18. shell says

    Thanks for the handy pdf and info. I will certainly be using once ive double checked.

    I do have to say though i read a few posts back that the info you use is from books by individual authors. I personally use evidence based medicine on updated research. Whilst i agree that some dated information may be usefull. I do fear that using outdated books as a source without further investigation may be detrimental.

  19. kirsten says

    the info on the oil was accurate, and was a great “cheat sheet” for people to use. Your articles are always good, and this one was very handy. The problem, I believe, is that it is a drop in the bucket for some people reading this who have no idea about the benefits of grass fed/pastured meats and the healthiness of the oils and fats from those meats over conventional ones. Everyone is assuming you are throwing out some strange ideas of your own about oils, for example, but if anyone wants to find the full story that backs up this info. they can read any of the great Paleo books out there, like Practical Paleo that goes really indepth about the research and science behind the way foods are processed and used in our bodies. The info that is provided here is fantastic, so if you want to read more, then go get some books and read the latest scientific research. Not pointing fingers at anyone, just thinking some of you may wish to do some further reading :)

  20. Рум says

    And why hemp oil is bad? I see you have listed the reason in brackets, but I keep reading that hemp oil helps curing cancer.

  21. Jessy says

    What about hemp seeds? My grandma is taking hemp oil for supposed health benefits, I didn’t know it was not a good choice.

    I know regular (sunflower) oil is not ok, but how come, if sunflower seeds are recommended??

  22. Bree says

    You are wrong about flax seed and hemp seed oil. I suggest you read “oils that heal oils that kill” from Udo Erasmusen or check his website. Both oils contain essential fatty acids in a proportion that are beneficial to the body as most other foods contain very little of omega 3 but often some omega 6 and even 9. Better research some more before putting these two special oils on your “no” list. Of course they both have to organic to actually be beneficial. Udo’s information is used by many schools of holistic nutrition. I am a student of on of them. Please amend your list, everything else makes sense.
    Thank you

    • says

      I have read Udo Erasmusen’s book and, while it has some good points, I disagree with parts of it. You may wish to read Ray Peat’s articles on unsaturated fatty acids and estrogen at raypeat.com for more information on fats, phytoestrogens and omega-6.

  23. says

    I just recently finally quit roasting my vegetables in the garlic olive oil from TJ’s. It was so hard for me to give up the convenience of just tossing it in the veggies and baking! But in my NTA classes we were learning about what damaged fats really do to the body. Yipes!

    So I found it’s not really that hard to melt a tiny bit of butter or coconut oil on the stove :).

    Thanks so much for all of the information on your blog! Be blessed.

  24. says

    Actually its not true that we need to avoid all omega 6 fatty acids. My body recently asked for Borage Oil, which is an Omega 6 fatty acid. Its important to have a balance of all the fatty acids, including 3, 6 7, and 9.

  25. says

    Be careful with Ray Peat. I went on to his forums for a while to see what he was all about. He’s way over the top, and so are his followers. He said you should avoid eating all vegetables that are grown above the ground! He basically said if you do eat any vegetable at all, boil the crap out of it, or really just don’t even bother.
    And as for Omega 6’s, you really need to customize your intake to your particular body. Some people have too much omega 6 in them, some have too little. I actually had too litte. Muscle testing with a well experienced professional can really help fine tune these things.

    • says

      Yes, I agree… Dr. Peat and many of his followers are certainly a bit over the top. I think he has some good information, but I take it with a grain of salt :) And I think muscle testing with a professional is a great resource, too!

  26. Heather says

    I’m curious, what do you know about mustard oil? It’s used often in Indian cuisine. I have heard that it’s not heart healthy, but that’s all I’ve heard about it. Thanks for all the useful info!

  27. Tiffany says

    I don’t have access to raw grass fed dairy where I live so the best I can find is certified organic butter that is mostly grass fed depending on weather and fed certified organic grains including corn and soy. I could however cross the borders to the States and stock up on some Kerrygold butter. Is this better than the butter I have now? I’ve heard that Kerrygold cannot guarantee that their grain feed is GMO free so i’m quite worried there as I avoid all GMOs.

  28. Roslyn says

    Hi, I was wondering what you thought about macadamia nut oil for cooking as I know it has a high smoke point and is the healthier nut for heating, thanks

      • says

        From what I’ve read, Macadamia nut oil has the best omegs 3 to omega 6 ratio of any oil, making it a wonderful choice for salads. I use canola oil for cooking, as well as coconut oil, but I know many people refuse to use canola for GMO reasons but I personally don’t think genetically modified organisms are a problem in plant breeding.

  29. says

    Hi Lauren,

    I love your website and now my wife does to. My newsletter with a link to your article about 10 Reasons Why Low Fat is NOT High Nutrition just went out today so I hope to be sending you lots of new readers. I did find another typo… hope you don’t mind my pointing these out.

    In the first line of the first paragraph, you wrote: “enduring topic in world of nutrition.” and I think you mean “enduring topic in *the* world of nutrition.”

    Anyway, your sources of information are excellent and I LAUGH at the person who is trying to discredit Weston A. Price as merely a “dentist” and that his info is outdated. That’s hilarious.

    Oh, and the person who says that everyone “knows” that eating lard means you’re a “walking heart attack” is demonstrating what we’re up against. People are so convinced that what’s commonly assumed, even if it’s inaccurate, is the truth, that they invalidate accurate information because it seems so preposterous.

    I guess what they say is true, “If you tell a lie enough times, people will believe it.”

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Elon

  30. Spring says

    I ended up on this site researching almond flour, and I’m glad I did. Lot of information here. Now, I need help in placing all these properly to maintain a ketosis diet. Nitrate free bacon is out of my budget, so is regular bacon really o.k. In our home it is something we have always used for seasoning and I like frying my eggs in it. I love pancakes, is coconut flour an alternative to finally having them guilt free?

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