What Oils Make Us Fat? The Oils to Use and Which to Avoid
If you want to lose weight or just stay thin, it is important to know what oils to avoid and which ones actually are good for you.
Is all the talk over good and bad fat making you paranoid? We have more cooking oils available to us now than ever before, and many people are starting to panic over which ones to use and which ones to toss out. If you’re actively trying to lose weight or you just want to maintain a healthy bodyweight, knowing which oils make us fat will make cooking healthy meals easier. Don’t panic. Just keep reading to learn about the best and worst cooking oils lining supermarket shelves today.
What to Look for in an Oil
You’re standing in front of the oils in your grocery store, and it’s kind of overwhelming with so many bottles staring back at you dressed in colorful labels with words like “heart healthy” and “healthy blend.” Start by recognizing that these labels are often deceiving. Not every product with a label hinting at health is the best for your waistline.
If you know what to look for in the best cooking oils, you can narrow down your options quickly. Here’s a list that will break it down for you:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – You probably relate these fats to fish oil, but the best cooking oils contain more omega-3s than omega-6s. They help with hormone production that impacts everything from inflammation levels to blood clotting. They’re also believed to protect against many diseases.
- Monounsaturated Fats – These are the “healthy” fats that you often see contrasted with saturated and trans fats. They nourish cells throughout your body and are believed to protect against heart attack and stroke.
- Lauric Acid – When you see a saturated fat recommended as a healthy fat, it’s often because it contains lauric acid. This is a long-chain fatty acid that goes straight to your liver and is converted to energy rather than being stored as fat. This minimizes its ability to make us fat.
What Not to Look for in an Oil
Let’s contrast that list with three things that you don’t want to find in your cooking oil:
- Omega-6 Fatty Acids – While omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, these fatty acids increase inflammation. They are needed for hair growth and other bodily processes, but most people take in far more than their bodies really need. While you will find them in some healthy oils, you want to limit your consumption to control inflammation and fat gain.
- Saturated Fats – These are the fats that clog your arteries and put you at risk of a heart attack, but they also play a major part in fat gain for most people. It’s generally recommended that you limit consumption of these fats as much as possible.
- Trans Fats – This is the partially hydrogenated oil that you may see in many products sitting on store shelves. It raises cholesterol levels and will help your waistline grow rather than shrink.
What Oils Can You Enjoy without Getting Fat?
Let’s start by saying that you don’t want to go overboard with any oil. Your body does need healthy fat, but it doesn’t need too much. Once you identify healthy oils that have a flavor that you enjoy, use it as needed for your healthy meals and snacks. What oils matter but also too much can impact your health and fitness goals regardless of the health benefits that are offered.
When you consider all of the good and bad components of cooking oils, there are three that rise to the top of the list of healthy oils that are worthy of space in your kitchen. Let’s take a quick look at each of them to see why they are much healthier than other options.
- Avocado Oil – Avocados are everywhere today, and for good reason. While it contains some omega-6 fatty acids and saturated fats, it’s also 70% monounsaturated fats and offers some omeat-3 fatty acids. The good outweighs the bad, especially when you realize that this oil is a powerful antioxidant that can protect your heart and your eyes. It may also help with a variety of medical conditions like arthritis and gum disease. It has a slight nutty taste that many people enjoy, and it works well as the base for a salad dressing.
- Coconut Oil – This is one oil directly associated with fat loss, even though it does contain saturated fat. It contains that lauric acid that we discussed above, so it boosts your energy and is less likely to be stored as fat. You’ll see this oil championed by many people following the ketogenic diet because it can be turned into ketones in the liver. In addition to curbing your appetite and increasing your energy levels, it may help fight seizures while giving your hair a healthy shine.
- Olive Oil – This has been counted as one of the healthiest oils for many years, and it remains a strong contender for versatile cooking applications. It’s composed mostly of monounsaturated fats, and research has shown that it lowers cholesterol and is healthier for the heart than many other oils. Extra-virgin olive oil is great in salad dressings, but you can use the regular version for cooking hot dishes. You’ll see this oil championed by people following a Mediterranean Diet because it tastes great and is not likely to cause weight gain.
This list of what oils to use may surprise you with the addition of avocado oil, but it shouldn’t be surprising that coconut and olive oils are included. There is some controversy over coconut oil because some people believe it is less healthy than originally believed, but it remains one of the best oils to keep in the kitchen if you’re concerned with fat loss or weight gain.
Now you’re standing in front of the cooking oils in your local grocery store, but it doesn’t feel nearly as overwhelming because you see beyond the labels. You know what type of oils in general will have less impact on your waistline, and you understand some of the health benefits offered by most of those oils. You even understand which oils are bad for you and why. It’s time to start stocking your kitchen with healthy oils that will protect your waistline as well as your heart.
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