The Skinny on Fat

Skinny on Fat pic

There has been a lot of controversy about what is good cholesterol and what is bad cholesterol.  We have all heard bad cholesterol causes heart disease, and no one wants that. Studies have shown we should have a high HDL cholesterol and a low LDL cholesterol diet. So what does that mean in plain English? We should eat less BAD fats and more GOOD fats.  Here are aome comparisons.

What’s the difference between butter and vegetable oils? Butter is made from whole milk adding salt and churning it, very similar to how your great-great grandmother might have made butter. On the other hand, vegetable oils are typically made from seeds by chemical solvents, industrial steaming, de-waxing, bleaching, and de-odorizing. Take a look at these videos to see how both are made.

What’s the difference between butter and vegetable oil for our health?

1. Omega Fatty Acids

Grass-fed butter contains a balanced ratio of both omega 3 and 6. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center a healthy diet contains a balance of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega 3 helps to reduce inflammation in the body and omega 6 can help arthritis, cancer, ADHD, allergies, osteoporosis, and multiple sclerosis. Having a good balance of the two omegas is important for a healthy lifestyle.

Vegetable oils contain a very high concentration of omega-6 fatty acids. As stated above from the University of Maryland Medical Center you need a balanced ratio of both omega 3 and 6. Unfortunately, the American diet consumes more omega 6 which can lead to many types of cancers. Many studies have shown that polyunsaturated fats like omega 6 can stimulate cancer while people consuming saturated fats were protected from types of cancer.

Most of these oils are put under high heat called oxidation. This is an undesired series of chemical reactions involving oxygen that degrades the quality of an oil. During this oxidation process, rancid oil is produced. This type of chemical process has been linked to heart disease and cancer. This happens when oils are processed above a desirable heat. When this happens it pulls away the heart healthy omega 3’s and increases the unhealthy omega 6’s making the ratio of omega 3 and 6 harmful to one’s health.

2. CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)

Grass-fed butter contains CLA (Conjugated linoleic acid), which is mainly found in dairy products and beef. CLA may help you lose weight, prevent cancer, prevent heart disease, and improve your immune system. According to Dr. Oz CLA’s are healthy fats and will help reduce the bad fats in our body as well as beat inflammation. He continues to explain the best way to get these healthy fats in your body are to consume the right foods grass-fed meats, cheese, and dairy.

Vegetable Oils do not contain CLAs. In fact, in a very detailed study researching people consuming more animal fats and less vegetable oils and another group consuming less animal fats and more vegetable oils the group consuming more vegetable oils and few animal fats had more cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. So, eating grass-fed butter and other animal fats lead to healthier heart and eating more vegetable base oils and fats lead to cardiovascular disease. Interesting.

3. Nutrients

Grass-fed butter helps you absorb important nutrients. Our body needs fats to absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E, and K. By using a non-fat or low-fat sauce or dressing you are enabling your body to absorb these goods nutrients. Vitamin A and E help protect you from heart disease and supports thyroid health.

Vegetable Oils contain chemicals and additives that can cause cancer, heart disease, immune problems, and so much more. BHA and BHT (Butylated Hydroxyanisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene) are often found in most vegetable oils. BHA and BHT are artificial antioxidants that help prevent food from oxidizing or spoiling too quickly. Vegetables oils often contain residues of the pesticides and chemicals used during the manufacturing process. BHT is commonly used to make bombs! Scary!

4. Fat and Cholesterol

Grass-fed butter does contain fat and cholesterol but this type of fat is good for you. Scientific evidence has shown that butter has increased overall heart hearth and maintained healthy cholesterol levels whereas oils have increased overall cardiovascular risks. This type of fat is great for growing babies and children. This good cholesterol promotes healthy brain health and development, crucial for babies and children but also for adults.

Vegetable oils have fat and cholesterol too. The type of fat commonly found in vegetable oils are trans-fat. Daily canola oil raised the triglycerides a staggering 47%. Trans-fats are made by adding hydrogen to the oil by processing it to prevent spoiling. If you see the video I linked above you will see that vegetable oils are highly processed and go through chemical solvents, industrial steaming, de-waxing, bleaching, and de-odorizing. You find vegetable oils in foods like crackers, chips, cookies, and cakes.

Okay, so most vegetable oils are chemical infused, de-waxed, bleached, and deodorized. Surely, not all oils are created equal. What about expeller pressed oils, olive oil, and coconut oil?

5. Expeller Pressed Oils When you use expeller pressed oils like canola, safflower, or other vegetable oils it is slightly healthier then regular vegetable oils by being organic, no chemicals, and not having GMO’s (genetically modified organism). If you look at a bottle of expeller pressed organic canola oil it typically says, “naturally refined”. How is the oil refined? In most cases to get the consistency of oil a heating protocol is used. However, if there is no “refined” process and there are no heating processes used to oxidant the oil then the oil should be fine for consumption. The process of making these types of oils is unknown.

6. Earth balance is a buttery spread that is typically used for people that cannot consume dairy products and the vegan community. This buttery spread is made up of a combination of various vegetable oils and olive oil. Oil does not become hardened without incorporating additives. These additives are unknown, sometimes proprietary information, and could be harmful to the body.  The Organic Consumers Association reports that Earth Balance companies have falsely claimed that their products are non-GMO and organic.

7. Olive Oil is a very healthy unsaturated fat. New England journal of medicine had a study comparing olive oil, nuts, and low fat diets in 3 groups of people, in the group that consumed more fresh olive oil the health benefits were apparent. Unfortunately, more than half of the olive oil imported into the United States is low-grade olive oil. Olive oil is made by pressing olives, it is technically considered a fruit juice, Thus when consuming olive oil, fresh is always better. You should consume within 4-6 months of opening. Look for brands that carry a harvest brand sticker on the back with the date.

Also, olive oil is best when used in a dressing. Olive oil does not do well when cooked at a high heat. When this oil is put to a high heat above 300 degrees oxidation of the oil occurs.

 8. Coconut Oil is a great oil for cooking and baking. One concern people have about coconut oil is the saturated fat that could possibly cause increased bad cholesterol. However, the main fat in this oil is lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid. Lauric acid increases levels of good HDL cholesterol. This type of oil can also help with proper thyroid function as well as lose weight. Coconut oil also has powerful antioxidants which helps slow down aging and supports a healthy heart.

Did you know that from 1920 to 1960 the consumption of natural butter per person dropped from 18 pounds per year to 4 pounds?  This is when heart disease developed in our society. During this time period people were not consuming butter but vegetable oils, margarine, and other man-altered fats. If you see the benefits of all natural grass fed butter you will see that CLAs, vitamin A, E, and D actual promote healthy hearts and the man-altered vegetable oils that clog our arteries are actually the culprit in heart disease.

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