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Old 08-14-2007, 08:07 AM   #1
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So confused! Which oil to use?

Why is there so much condradictory data on the health benefits of cooking oils?

I know that EVO oil is good all around, but when I don't want the rich taste of that oil, I usually use Canola oil. According to articles such as this: Fats 101: How to tell Good Fats and Bad Fats , canola oil is great for you because it contains "good fats": the monounsaturated fats, which lower LDL and increase HDL levels. On the other hand, Coconut oil is bad for you, since it contains saturated fats, which suposedly raise LDL levels.

Ok, so this all makes sense; Canola=good, Coconut=bad. That is, until I pick up a copy of The Good Fat Cookbook. According to this book, the complete OPPOSITE is true...Fran McCullough explains how canola is some of the WORST oil to put into your body, because it is a "polyunsaturated" fat, and coconut oil, a natural fat, is the BEST oil to use, because of numerous health benefts such as promoting heart health and supporting the immune system.

So who am I supposed to believe? Numerous reliable studies show us one side of the story, while others, including the government (who tells us to eat margerine rather than butter), tell us a completely different story.

Sorry for the long-winded post, but the plethora of condraditory advice is overwhelming to someone who just wants to know the RIGHT thing to eat.

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Old 08-14-2007, 08:37 AM   #2
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Look at it this way, how often would you use coconut oil?

I use olive oil on a daily basis for almost everything. I fry with peanut oil and very rarely use canola or vegetable oil.
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Old 08-14-2007, 08:40 AM   #3
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One thing I've learned about cooking is that there is always contradictory information, and when you have to make a decision, go with what you like. You see this food info that is believed to be "healthy" today, then tomorrow it is going to kill you. My mom taught me to go by color when it comes to a plate, and you'll be fine. I haven't found anything to contradict her. As for the fat, just don't use too much of it, whatever it is. My husband likes Brummell & Brown whipped margarine, made with buttermilk. So it cuts a few calories on his morning toast. I also keep olive oil on hand (and probably use it more than anything), peanut oil for stir frying, and butter in the freezer for certain European dishes that really need it.
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Old 08-14-2007, 09:56 AM   #4
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Special interest groups, such as the coconut oil people, will try to make their stuff look good at the expense of other products. The cookbook may have been published by a group pushing coconut oil.

For straight info, stick to government organizations such as the FDA or USDA.

...and stick with canola and EVOO
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Old 08-14-2007, 10:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chave982
Why is there so much condradictory data on the health benefits of cooking oils?

I know that EVO oil is good all around, but when I don't want the rich taste of that oil, I usually use Canola oil. According to articles such as this: Fats 101: How to tell Good Fats and Bad Fats , canola oil is great for you because it contains "good fats": the monounsaturated fats, which lower LDL and increase HDL levels. On the other hand, Coconut oil is bad for you, since it contains saturated fats, which suposedly raise LDL levels.

Ok, so this all makes sense; Canola=good, Coconut=bad. That is, until I pick up a copy of The Good Fat Cookbook. According to this book, the complete OPPOSITE is true...Fran McCullough explains how canola is some of the WORST oil to put into your body, because it is a "polyunsaturated" fat, and coconut oil, a natural fat, is the BEST oil to use, because of numerous health benefts such as promoting heart health and supporting the immune system.

So who am I supposed to believe? Numerous reliable studies show us one side of the story, while others, including the government (who tells us to eat margerine rather than butter), tell us a completely different story.

Sorry for the long-winded post, but the plethora of condraditory advice is overwhelming to someone who just wants to know the RIGHT thing to eat.
Who is Fran McCullough and what are her credentials? Anyone can write a book on anything they want - that doesn't make it true. But the other link you have, healthcastle.com, is a site run by registered dieticians - a pretty reliable source, imo.

When I do a google search for something health-related, I always preface it with this: site:*.gov site:*.edu . With this as part of the search terms, the results will contain only links to government and education (university) sites. While the science of food as it related to health will always be evolving, these are the most reliable sites.

One thing to remember about claims that talk about how people have eaten this or that for millennia and they were fine - they were NOT fine, they were often malnourished and in 1800 the average life expectancy was around 30.
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Old 08-14-2007, 10:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
Special interest groups, such as the coconut oil people, will try to make their stuff look good at the expense of other products. The cookbook may have been published by a group pushing coconut oil.

For straight info, stick to government organizations such as the FDA or USDA.

...and stick with canola and EVOO
Well I can understand that...but aren't government organizations the same ones who promote margerine over butter, skim milk over whole milk, and "low fat" anything over full-fat, whole foods? We all know that the claims stating that these foods are healthier than their full-fat counterparts are mostly false.

It seems to me that these organizations' main goal is to convince us that anything low-fat is healthy, and healthy food is always low-fat.

BTW, the author of that book is very reputable and has written some other good books as well using all hard data and reliable sources.
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Old 08-14-2007, 10:47 AM   #7
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I don't think reducing the amount of fat in the average American's diet is a bad thing. Sensible ways of doing that are still recommended. Evolving science has proven that margerine is not necessarily a healthier alternative to butter. The overall concept, sensibly applied, is still sound.

The science of food and health is constantly evolving. Sometimes it makes sense to just do what you like in moderation.
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:07 AM   #8
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1) reduce your fats 2) vary your fats 3) pick healthiest fats which seem to be :olive oil canola oil peanut oil and possibly corn oil. do keep away from hydrogenated oils (margarine, crisco solid etc...if you need solid shortening, a little lard is probably healthier and the kosher kitchen always had rendered duck and chicken fat available)
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:20 AM   #9
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There are so many uses for different types of oils that I never really use too much of any specific kind that would alter my health. Unless you have a specific genetic disposition in your family that requires you to be ultra-conscious of what you consume.... Id say the key is to use everything in moderation. Too much of ANYTHING can be bad for you. Just keep it reasonable and variable.
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Old 08-14-2007, 02:36 PM   #10
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Regardless of the conflicting news (and there will always be conflicting news ), you can depend on a few things.

Olive oil is healthy but it's a FAT. As fats go, it's the better of most evils but you still have to control the amount you use.

Stay away from the fats that solidify at room temperature. That's pretty universal.

As for cooking, I use regular olive oil to cook and extra virgin olive oil to finish a dish. I feel the extreme fruitiness of good extra virgin olive oil will be lost if heated although I know plenty of people who cook with it. I would no sooner cook with extra virgin olive oil than I would cook with toasted sesame oil - another finishing oil.

Keep your oil choices light (like canola) so you can actually taste the food vs. the oil in which it's cooked.

Bottom line, whatever works for your palate and your general health will dictate which oil is best for you. Frankly, if I'm going to consume fat, I'd want it to be the tastiest fat possible - keeping an eye on the health effects at the same time.
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