Did you know that eating the right kind of fats can help you burn fat and lose weight? It’s true. Your body needs fat to function. Fats help your body absorb vitamins like A, D and E and fats are essential for your nervous system. So why all the negative talk about fats? Not all fats are the same. In fact, some fats are downright harmful while others do the body good. Here’s the skinny on some of the most commonly used fats.
Butter – A saturated fat, butter has been at the center of weight loss controversy for years, decades even. Look to grass-fed butter for the highest nutritive benefits including more vitamins and an equal balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The skinny: creamy and flavorful, butter is better for you than many oils and is one of the ideal fats to cook with because its nutritive properties are not altered when heated.
Ghee – Ghee is a form of clarified butter in which most of the milk solids have been removed. Because of this, many people who are lactose intolerant can often use ghee with no problem. Consult your doctor first. Rich in vitamins A, D, and E, ghee from grass-fed cows is ideal. Ghee promotes a healthy digestive system and is good for weight loss due to its concentration of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which studies show helps keep fat cells from getting bigger and stimulates fat burn. The skinny: grass-fed ghee helps burn fat and it is great for cooking because it is a saturated fat.
Olive oil – The richest source of monounsaturated fat and vitamin E, olive oil also has high levels of antioxidants, carotenoids, chlorophyll and phenolic compounds all of which protect the vitamin E in the olive oil and fight free radicals. This is to say, olive oil helps protect against cancer and other disease. The skinny: drizzle olive oil on practically all foods, use in dipping sauces and vinaigrettes, but don’t cook with it. The essential and sensitive omega-9 fatty acid properties in olive oil weaken when heated, allowing free radicals to attach.
Avocado oil – Avocado oil results from pressing the soft flesh of this fruit and the large seed. It acts as a carb and is the fruit highest in protein. Due to its high concentration of carotenoids, avocado oil helps stave off inflammation, may prevent bone erosion in periodontal disease, helps to reduce cholesterol and can prevent the body from storing fat. It is a monounsaturated fat. The skinny: even though avocado oil has a high burning point, it is best used as a finishing oil or in salad dressings.
Corn oil – Corn oil is super high in omega-6 fatty acids, which is the primary fat in the American diet. At a ratio of 25:1 of omega-6 vs. omega-3 fatty acids, excess fat of this type is one of the leading causes of inflammation in the body. Although corn oil is high in the healthy AHA and is more stable when used at higher heats, corn is one of the most genetically modified organisms (GMO) and should be avoided. The skinny: skip the corn oil. There are so many other healthier, more flavorful fats to use.
Coconut oil – The ever-so-controversial coconut oil and other coconut products such as coconut milk continue to wow and wonder audiences worldwide. Coconut contains saturated fat and mainly the good one, lauric acid. If I can give a memorable analogy of natural saturated fat, it’s like being on a bus where all the seats are filled. The fats have filled the bus, leaving no empty seats for cancer-promoting free radicals to sit down and take hold of the body’s healthy cells. This is true even when these fats are heated. Unlike popular oils such as olive and grapeseed, the healthy properties found in coconut do not change once heated. The skinny: the best oil for cooking.
Peanut oil – Rethink your love of peanuts. The only nut that grows in the ground, peanuts harbor the toxic fungus aflatoxin, which is carcinogenic and harms the immune system. The skinny: replace peanut oil with other healthier nut oils like almond and super-nut walnut. Use coconut oil or butter for cooking and avoid eating peanuts and peanut butter.
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