Do you remember in the 80′s? When rollerskating, neon, jelly bracelets, leg-warmers, and acid washed jeans were all the rage…
It was the days of Jane Fonda, Richard Simmons and Aerobics classes. Thong leotards were normal to wear on the OUTSIDE of your tights and bright white Reebok high tops were on every woman’s feet! Scrunchies and Leg Warmers were ALL the rage along with FAT FREE gummy bears, crackers, and more. We thought everything was healthy as long as it was labeled “fat free” or “low fat”. We all firmly believed the new government mantra that dietary fat was the ENEMY.
Those scrunchies and acid washed jeans are long gone but somehow the fear of fats has lingered on, even as science has proven that ‘fat’ is NOT the enemy it was once thought to be.
Consider this: Eating fat will not make you fat.
What DOES make you fat is:
- Eating excessively more calories than your body uses
- Eating empty calories
- Not working out
- Eating too many refined carbohydrates and sugars (ie. processed foods)
- Living a sedentary lifestyle (ie. couch potato)
It is ideal to include a small amount of “healthy” fats in all meals throughout the day. The key is the amount of fat and the type of fat. As far as the amount- it should be very small. 1TBSP or less of the right types of fats.
One of the greatest sources of healthy fats is in healthy oils. The best part about this is the fat/oils make our foods taste SO good! The healthy fats from oils may actually help you manage your weight loss efforts by providing a better sense of satiety than other lower fat foods!
So many healthy oils, how do you choose?
Flax seed oil
Flax seed oil is made from the ripened, dried seeds of the flax plant. Flax seed oil contains Omega 6 fatty acids and has the highest level of Omega 3 fatty acids of any vegetable oil. There are many health benefits of flax seed oil, it is a natural laxative and has a calming effect on the intestinal lining. Flax seed oil is available in gel caps or liquid form and MUST be refrigerated because it’s easily damaged by heat, light, and oxygen. Flax seed oil should NOT be cooked with as it breaks down at temperatures over 120°. It’s best used cold in salad dressings or added to smoothies or to oatmeal AFTER it is cooked. My personal favorite way to use flax seed oil is to ADD it to oatmeal or grains after they are cooked.
Coconut oil is one of my favorite healthy oils! It adds a really great taste to all foods and is superior to butter and other regular baking oils. It does not form harmful bi-products when heated to normal cooking temperature like other vegetable oils do. Coconut oil is ideal to add to baked goods such as cookies and brownies for a slight nutritional boost. It can also aid in weight loss, not necessarily in your BROWNIES though, you would have to watch your intake of those…obviously!
When used in preparing lean proteins and vegetables, coconut oil is helpful in reducing weight. It is important to note that even though coconut oil is a ‘saturated fat’, most of the fat comes from *MCTs (Medium-Chain Triglycerides) which the body uses as energy. In simple form, think of it as a ‘fat’ that the body uses for energy like a ‘carb’. Although coconut oil is saturated by nature, it does not lead to increase in HDL and LDL levels. It is heart healthy; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease. There is also evidence that coconut oil reduces inflammation, boosts energy and endurance and that it improves digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins and amino acids. My personal favorite way to use coconut oil is in baking and in stir-frys.
MCT oils are a special type of fat that is digested and handled by the body more like a carbohydrate, than a fat. Most fats are long-chain triglycerides which are difficult to process, and are typically stored in the fat cells. MCT oils are absorbed in the bloodstream, and bypass the digestive process that most ‘fat’ takes. MCT oil provides quick energy for the body and therefore is less likely to be stored as body fat. When MCT is metabolized in the body, it behaves like a carbohydrate as opposed to a fat.
Olive oil is much like wine, the growing location and many variables that go into the production of olive oil yield dramatic differences in color, aroma, and flavor. Extra virgin olive oil is the best quality and also the most expensive variety as it comes from the first pressing of the olives. It is the least acidic and has the fruitiest flavor. Extra virgin works great for salad dressings and is not meant to be a high heat cooking oil. When heated, it loses many of it’s healthy benefits. Olive oil is primarily a monounsaturated fat with no cholesterol and contains flavenoid polyphenols, which are natural anti-oxidants. I LOVE to use olive oil in salads!
Like olive oil, grapeseed oil is a monounsaturated fat with no cholesterol and has a light flavor. Grapeseed oil contains vitamins C, E and beta-carotene which are anti-oxidants. . Grapeseed oil can be served cold and used for dressings but is also great for cooking as it can withstand relatively high temperatures, up to 450°. Grapeseed oil is one of my FAVORITES to use when sauteing veggies! Try sauteing bok choy or kale in the oil as it tastes amazing!
Sesame oil is most commonly used in Asian and Indian dishes due to its stronger, more distinct flavor. Unrefined oil is best for dips and sauces and the refined variety works well for cooking and sautéing at temperatures less than 410°. Sesame seeds and oil have been used medicinally in Asian cultures for centuries as an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and to treat skin conditions and gum disease. Sesame oil a powerful anti-oxidant, high in *polyunsaturated fats, vitamin E and minerals. Using Sesame oil in stir fry’s is a GREAT way to give your food a new taste.
So, although using oil in the sun to bronze your skin definitely went out with the 80′s, using healthy oils in your food is a definite YES.
About Natalie Jill
Natalie Jill helps people across the globe reach their health, fitness, life and business goals. Natalie is a well known Licensed Sports Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer who was diagnosed as having Celiac Sprue over 12 years ago, and that is why she specializes in weight loss consulting and helping people with food allergies and intolerance’s. Learn how Natalie handled adversity and find out how she "made her own luck". Ready to change your life today? Start by CLICKING HERE.