Posts Tagged 'oils'

Not all Oils are created equal

I was recently interviewed by a journalist from In Good Health newsletter on the topic of oils in the diet. Unfortunately the newsletter is members only, so I’ve decided to post the questions and my answers here on the blog. Have a read of my answers on this very important topic and let me know what you think.

1. What types of oils are better for your health? Why?

Health authorities recommend that we choose oils that are comprised predominately of mono-unsaturated and / or polyunsaturated fat. Dietary fats are named according to their structure. Each type of fat has a different structure and because of this, the effect each fat has on the body can differ.

Mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can both have a positive impact on health. Mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can result in a lowering of blood cholesterol when they replace saturated fats in the diet. The positive effect of polyunsaturated fats is marginally greater than that of mono-unsaturated fats.

Oils that provide predominately mono-unsaturated fat: Olive oil, canola oil, and peanut oil

Oils that provide predominately polyunsaturated fat: safflower oil, sunflower, corn and soy oils


2. What types of oils are worse for your health? Why?

Research shows that saturated fats contribute to the risk of heart disease by raising low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels in the blood. It is recommended that the consumption of these fats via oils or food products be kept to a minimum.

Oils that provide high levels of saturated fat: coconut oil and palm oil.

Food products that provide high levels of saturated fat: high fat fast foods, commercial biscuits and pastries, butter, lard and shortening.


3. Typically, how much oil do you recommend we have in our diet?

 The ‘Australian Guide to Healthy Eating’ recommends that for good health and to help maintain a healthy weight we should limit saturated fat and moderate total fat intake. Consuming polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated oils in small amounts will help meet this recommendation. It is important to note that oils that are predominately mono-unsaturated fat and / or polyunsaturated fat will still contain some saturated fat.


4. Do you recommend any alternatives to oil?

Predominately polyunsaturated or mono-unsaturated margarines can be used as alternatives to oil. Examples would include margarine derived from canola, sunflower seeds or olives.


5. Is there anything else you would like to add?

A number of manufacturers like to promote their plant-based oils as ‘cholesterol free’. Consumers should note that only animal products contain cholesterol. Therefore all plant-based oils will be cholesterol free regardless of whether the manufacturer promotes it or not.


– Chris Vavakis


Image: http://assets.curbly.com/photos/0000/0010/5837/how-olive-oil-works-3.jpg