Fats; The Good, Bad and When Cooking

Our bodies need fat to keep us warm and give us energy, but there’s a lot of conflicting information out there about cooking oil and good and bad fats. There are four types of fats – saturated, monounsaturated, trans, and polyunsaturated. Saturated and trans fats are “bad fats,” while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated are “good fats.” So, what do you need to know when choosing cooking oil? 

Liquidity. A good rule of thumb is to remember that bad fats, such as saturated and trans fats are solid at room temperature - a stick of butter, for example. Good fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, are liquid at room temperature, such as olive oil.

Smoke point. When oil starts smoking, it releases toxins, so knowing which to fry with and which to use for drizzling is important. For example, many people don’t know this, but olive oil (with the exception for light olive oil) should not be used for searing or deep-frying because it has a medium-high smoke point. For frying, avocado and sunflower are great options. When baking or sautéing at medium-high, canola, grapeseed, and olive oil can be used safely and for low heat sautéing, opt for sesame, coconut, or corn oil.

Knowing just a bit more about the oil we cook with can go a long way in keeping our families safe. Smoke point and liquidity are simple rules of thumb to ensure our food is cooked safely and as healthy as it can be. Stock your pantry with the essentials and your body will thank you!