Posts Tagged ‘monounsaturated fatty acids’

Cooking oils are very misunderstood. Some people say that there are certain ones that are good for your health while others say that they are all bad for you and you should stay away from them.

Today let’s take a closer look at cooking oils and fats in order to break things down and to figure out whether you should include them on your ingredients list when you are making meals.

The worst kind of oil that you can consume is trans fat or partially hydrogenated oils. These types of oils can be found in packaged and processed foods such as baked goods, candy, chips, crackers and many types of margarines. Partially hydrogenated oils can be described as being vegetable oil that has been put through a chemical process that alters the composition of it. The purpose of putting oils through this process is to extend the shelf life of the food it is an ingredient of.

Unfortunately this is very unhealthy for the human body. Read food labels carefully and stay away from packaged and prepared foods that contain trans fat or partially hydrogenated oils.

Even when it is consumed in small quantities trans fat can harm your heart. It can reduce the amount of good (HDL) cholesterol in your bloodstream and increase the level of bad (LDL) cholesterol. It can also increase the potential of developing diabetes. According to the American Heart Association it is strongly recommended that no more than one percent of your total daily caloric intake should come from partially hydrogenated oils. This works out to be less than two grams per day for females.

Trans fat is also sometimes labelled as saturated fat on food labels.

Do you ever debate with other people which is better for health – butter or olive oil? When it comes to your health olive oil comes out ahead but butter plays an important role as well. All the oils on the market are a combination of fats. They are made up of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and saturated fatty acids (SFA). However when it comes to olive oil as well as butter there is one kind of fat that is most prevalent. It helps to know as well that butter can be thought of as a solidified oil.

Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat which is good for the heart. It decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease because it increases HDL cholesterol and reduces LDL cholesterol. Butter though is mainly made up of saturated fat. This kind of fat is unhealthy. It causes inflammation to develop throughout the human body and it increases the bad cholesterol in the blood. Knowing this you are better off choosing olive oil over butter.

Butter does tend to work better if you are baking. The consistency of it as well as the flavor and smell are more conducive to making delicious cookies, cakes, squares, loaves and other forms of pastries.

Butter is solid at room temperature and you can easily maintain control over how much you use. When you use olive oil it is a little more difficult to know how much you have used. The lesson to be learned here is that olive oil is the better choice but butter can be enjoyed on occasion but always use a light touch.

Watch out for part II of this series where we explore more about healthy and unhealthy cooking oils.


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