All About Healthy Fats: Questions and Answers

Different kinds of healthy fats; grass-fed butter, coconut oil, nuts, avocado, salmon

The fact that fats CAN be “healthy” is mind-blowing to many who grew up or lived through the “low fat” decades. Fat can be healthy…but how do we find out which fats are healthy and which aren’t?

As with everything we do at Kitchen Stewardship®, we’ll help you figure out practical, research-based answers in a bite-sized way!

What Are the Different Types of Fat?

At the very basic level, there are only two kinds of fats – saturated and unsaturated. Unsaturated fats are further broken down into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Read more…

Is Saturated Fat Bad For You?

Saturated fats have been given a bad rap. But they are not the culprit behind the massive increase in heart disease over the last century. Read more…

Is Full-Fat Dairy Healthy?

Low-fat dairy is missing fat-soluble vitamins and often contains powdered milk. Full-fat dairy contains healthy saturated fat. Read more…

What are Trans Fats?

Trans fats are created when a liquid oil is made into a solid oil by a process called “hydrogenation.” Hydrogenation changes the molecular structure of the fat. Read more…

What Will Replace Trans Fats?

Processed foods companies have had to find an alternative to unhealthy trans fat. It’s called interesterified fat, and the chemical process to create it is pretty intense. Read more…

What is the Healthiest Fat to Eat for Breakfast?

Butter, lard, tallow, and coconut oil are the building blocks of human breastmilk and play vital roles in keeping our bodies healthy. At breakfast, we need to eat fat, protein and fiber to stay satiated. Read more…

How Do You Use Fat in Cooking and Baking?

Use solid fats for biscuitstortillascrackers, and recipes that call for butter or shortening. Melted butter, coconut oil or sesame oil work in recipes that call for oil. Read more…

Are Lard and Tallow Healthy Fats?

Not only is saturated fat, like animal fats, actually helpful to your body’s systems, but both lard and tallow are flying under the radar with about 50% monounsaturated fat. Read more…

Does Eating Fat Make You Fat?

You cannot live without fat. Folks who tried in the first fat-free diet ended up with low energy, difficulty in concentration, depression, weight gain and mineral deficiencies. Read more…

What Foods Contain Omega-3 Fats?

Both salmon and flax contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon has the usable forms DHA and EPA, while the ALA found in flax must be converted. Read more…

What are Omega-3 Essential Fats?

Omega-3s are called “essential” fatty acids because our bodies cannot manufacture them. We must eat them. The three main types are ALA, DHA and EPA. Read more…

Is Butter Better Than Margarine?

Drop the margarine, even those that claim “no trans fat.”  Go with something that people have eaten for centuries, and if you think it might cause a heart attack, just eat less of it. Read more…

How Much Fat Should You Eat?

Your body requires fat to survive. Fat can give you energy and make you feel full. However, there are good fats and bad fats, and they may not be what you think. Read more…

Is Coconut Oil Healthy?

Extra Virgin coconut oil reduced nearly all bodily measurements in patients who already had coronary artery disease and increased HDL, without causing any negative effects. Read more…

Are Avocados Good for Your Heart?

Avocado has the highest fat content and the highest fiber content — soluble as well as insoluble — of any fruit. It contains B Vitamins and Vitamins A and E. All are heart protective. Read more…

What Type of Fat is Found in Oily Fish?

Salmon is extremely high in Omega-3’s, high in protein, and a very good source of selenium, niacin and vitamin B12. Read more…

My friend Tiffany of Don’t Waste the Crumbs shares part of her journey of moving towards healthier fats:

Embracing saturated fat is not difficult. Erasing the “fat is bad for you” mind-set is.

While it has gotten easier over time, I often find myself unable to choose full-fat versions of some items because low-fat or fat-free is the only choice available.

For example, just last week I went to the grocery store to buy milk and a single serve container of yogurt as a starter to make homemade yogurt (we ate it all without saving some for the next batch – oops!).

Usually I use Greek yogurt as a starter because it’s thicker, and it yields a thicker homemade version too. However, I scoured the Greek yogurt section and could only find fat-free varieties. There was not a single full-fat Greek yogurt on the shelf.

I conceded and scooted over to the regular yogurt section to find the next best option – a plain, nothing fancy, regular full-fat yogurt. Lo and behold, there were none!

It wasn’t until I began to leave the dairy section altogether that I saw a separate mini-refrigerated end-cap (near the diapers and travel-sized items no less) with half of one shelf dedicated to yogurt. I grabbed one cup of the only yogurt that had fat. I can’t even be sure it was full-fat though because there was none other to compare to!

The bright side though is that there are some simple steps that we’ve taken to embrace healthy fat. These steps are easy for any beginner to incorporate too.

  • Switch from skim to whole milk
  • No longer purchase butter spreads, instead use regular butter
  • Use coconut oil and butter in baked goods
  • Add coconut oil to meals
  • Buy only natural or organic peanut butter
  • Buy full-fat sour cream
  • Make our own salad dressings (with full-fat olive oil)
  • Buy full-fat cheese

Again, none of these changes were difficult. But there is a conscious effort to seek out the full-fat versions, especially with the prevalence of the “less fat” options everywhere we turn.

There’s much room for improvement too. We don’t deep fry often, but we sauté regularly with olive oil and that’s a big no-no since olive oil has a low smoke point (essentially turning the good parts of olive oil bad). Using butter and bacon grease (YUM!) is the immediate solution and adding palm kernel oil to the kitchen will happen in the next couple months. Locating a good source for local grass-fed beef so that I can acquire the suet (at a reasonable cost) is something I’d like to accomplish in the next six months or year.

Is your diet filled with traditional fats? Do you think fat is an important part of a healthy diet?

Need a little help getting healthy food on the table every day? Real Plans takes the stress out of meal planning and puts the nourishing food BACK on your table. There’s a plan for every diet type, including GAPS, Paleo, AIP, Whole30, vegetarian and more! You remain totally in control: use your own recipes, accept theirs, and teach the system what your family likes…Check out how powerful it is here!

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