Is Butter a friend or foe?

Butter has got a bad rap in the past. Primarily because it is made from milk fat, and fat is bad for you, or so some would have you believe (its not, fat is necessary for optimal health).

So, is Butter good for you or not?

Butter is full of vitamins, especially vitamin A, and minerals. Plus short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which support immune function, boost metabolism and have anti-microbial properties. Butter also provided the perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats.

But we have been told that butter consumption is linked to Heart Disease and Cancer, so it must be bad for you. Eating a stick of butter a day is probably not a great idea. But as part of a balanced diet butter can help battle Heart Disease and Cancer. Butter contains many nutrients that protect against heart disease, such as Vitamin A, D, K2 and E. And the fatty acid chains help protect against cancer.

Still not convinced that Butter is a good thing? Then consider the health affects of margarine, the most popular butter alternative. Margarine is made from trans-fats, an unnatural fat that contributes to heart disease, cancer, and lots of other fun diseases.

In my opinion, butter is our friend. But like any good friend, they should not overstay their welcome. Use sparingly and butter may contribute to your great health.

How much is too much fat?

We’ve heard it for years, perhaps even decades, we must reduce our fat consumption. Fat in our diet is a leading cause of obesity and heart disease, plus it contributes to cancer, diabetes, MS, and every other gross disease we want to avoid. But fat is in most foods, outside of fruits and vegetables, so how do we know how much is too much?

A simpel rule of thumb is to not eat foods where 30% of their caloric content is fat.

How do we figure out the fat content of a food? Look at the label and do a little bit of math. Each gram of fat contains 9 calories. Multiply 9 by the number of grams of fat on the label. Then divide that number by the number of calories per serving. If the percentage is greater than 30% you should reconsider eating that food (or fake food really, as packaged foods are rarely real, wholesome food).

Here’s an example: Lays Potato chips are marketed as the low fat chip. In fact, they only have 10 grams of fat per serving! Wow! But, if you are enlightened as you are now, you know that the 10 grams of fat is actually 90 calories of fat (9 calories x 10 grams of fat). There are 180 calories per serving; therefore the lays potato chips have 90 fat calories per serving, which is 50%! Lays potato chips don’t look so great now.

The easiest way to avoid eating too much fat is to eat real, live, wholesome food. If the food is packaged, and has a label, you can probably count on it not being that great for you.

Cooking with Oil

Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Peanut oil, there is a lot of oil on the grocery store shelf. But which are best for cooking with?

Olive Oil is all the rage right now. They say it is the healthier oil and should be your go to oil for cooking with. But is it?

To answer this question it is best to first understand the differences between the oils. Oils are composed of fat. There are three types of fat, monounsaturated, saturated and polyunsaturated.

Saturated fats, such as coconut oil, are extremely stable because each carbon bond is occupied by a hydrogen bond. Saturated fats are solid or semisolid at room temperature. They are ideal cooking fats because of their stability, they do not easily go rancid when heated during cooking or form free radicals that contribute to heart disease and cancer.

Polyunsaturated fats such as corn, flaxseed and hemp oil, possess more than one carbon-carbon double bond and not every carbon bond has a hydrogen atom attached to it. They are liquid at room temperature and remain so even if refrigerated. These fats are highly reactive when heated or processed in any way. Even simple exposure to the air or light can cause rancidity in fairly short periods of time.

Monounsaturated fats, such as olive, sesame and avocado oil have a single carbon-carbon double bond, and like polyunsaturated fats, not every carbon bond has a hydrogen atom attached. They are liquid at room temperature and become solid when refrigerated. Monounsaturated fats do not go rancid as easily as polyunsaturated fats, but are not as stable as saturated fats.

When cooking at high heat with oils it is best to use oils with saturated fats. I recommend coconut oil to all of my clients as the oil adds nice flavour to most vegetables and meats.

Polyunsaturated fats should be avoided for all high heat cooking as they are easily damaged and the free electrons (or free radicals) can cause harm to our bodies.

In regards to Olive Oil specifically, I recommend avoiding it when cooking with high temperatures. But use it in salads, on breads, and in dips.