Did you know that all oils and fats have the same number of calories per tablespoon of measure? It’s true!
Did you think that an oil that is labelled “light” had fewer calories? Did you think that Canola Oil was the lowest calorie version of oil or that Olive Oil was best for you? If so then you were wrong on all counts.
Did you know that you need fat to be healthy and that if you limit your fat intake to less than 20% of calories or 50 grams of fat a day that you won’t get fat and if you reduce your fat to about 10% of calories you can prevent or cure most of the top 20 killer diseases in North America? It’s true – it’s too much fat that blocks the arteries and causes strokes, heart attacks, Type 2 diabetes, kidney stones, liver damage and many other problems.
To find out more ……
Over the last while I have made a habit of asking these kinds of questions of anybody I meet. And almost everyone gets it wrong.
Here are a few facts that may surprise you at first but the more you think about it the more sense it makes. And once you have been able to rationalize this you can start making much better dietary decisions based on facts instead of hearsay.
Fact #1 – All oils, including margarine and butter and bacon fat or any other animal-based fat have 14 grams of fat per level tablespoon. Each gram of fat contains 9 calories of energy so a tablespoon of any of these contains 126 calories. So what makes them different?
Fact #2 – All oils, including margarine and butter and bacon fat or any other animal-based fat have different ratios of Saturated fat, Monounsaturated fat and Polyunsaturated fat. The chart below shows the ratios of popular vegetable oils. Animal-based fats aren’t shown because they are essentially 100% Saturated or Trans fat-based.
Fact #3 – Fat is a good thing – in moderation.
The Role of Fats
- Fats are a part of every cell in your body. They provide a concentrated source of energy for our bodies and assist in the transport of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) to the small intestine for digestion.
- Fats slow digestion so that you feel full for a longer period of time.
- Fats give food flavour and a mouth-feel. They also act as a tenderizing agent in baked products and a heat transfer medium in frying foods.
- Fats and oils are made up of basic units called fatty acids. Fatty acids are the basic building blocks of fats just as amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Each type of fat is a mixture of different fatty acids.
- Certain fatty acids known as Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are necessary for such functions as cell building and hormone production. EFAs cannot be produced by our body, so must be supplied in the diet. They can be found in fish, wheat germ and many vegetable oils.
TYPES of Fatty Acids
SATURATED FATTY ACIDS
- Saturated fatty acids are found chiefly in animal sources such as meat, milk and butter. Two vegetable oils, coconut and palm oil, are also highly saturated.
- They are usually solid at room temperature.
- Studies show an association between increased intake of saturated fatty acids and increased LDL (bad) cholesterol. Increased blood cholesterol, in turn, has been associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease.
MONOUNSATURATED FATTY ACIDS
- Higher levels of monounsaturated fatty acids are found mainly in vegetable oils such as canola and olive oils.
- They are liquid at room temperature.
- Monounsaturated fatty acids have been associated with lowering blood LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
POLYUNSATURATED FATTY ACIDS
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids are found mainly in vegetable oils such as safflower, sunflower, corn and canola oils.
- They are liquid at room temperature.
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids have been associated with lowering blood LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- Polyunsaturates such as linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid are classed as EFAs.
- Trans-fatty acids occur naturally in some animal products such as dairy products.
- They can also be found in some processed foods and in vegetable oils that have been processed into margarine or shortenings through hydrogenation.
- Some research has suggested that trans-fatty acids may have similar effects to those of saturated fats.
Fact&nBsp;#4 – all oils become carcinogenic (have cancer-causing chemicals) when heated to the point where they start to smoke. The smoke indicates the oil has reached its “Flash Point” where it changes its chemical composition from a liquid to a gas. Canola has the highest flash point and therefore is your best choice for frying foods. Olive Oil has one of the lowest flash points so it should be used only on foods at room temperature instead of being used in a frying pan.
Fact #5 – the more liquid state an oil can be at room temperature the safer it is to eat and the healthier it is to eat as well. Vegetable oil is only solid at room temperature if it has been hydrogenated. You don’t want to consume any hydrogenated oils because they contain dangerous trans-fats. Saturated fat is the most solid fat at room temperature and it is also the worst fat to consume. Saturated fat is the white and yellow fat you carve off of meat.