Just 3 things - Cooking oils: which three are the healthiest?
Saturated fats? Still out. Coconut oil? Overrated. Is butter back? Sorry, not yet.
Apparently, when it comes to fats, stick with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. And between them? An American Heart Association (AHA) advisory panel, in a comprehensive analysis of recent studies (published last month in the journal Circulation), reported that the polys have it – that is, polyunsaturated fats, overall, deliver greater health benefits than monounsaturated fats in reducing the risk of heart disease.
Noted Cari Nierenberg, writing for livescience.com: The panel’s analysis…showed that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat resulted in a 29 percent drop in the risk of heart disease. This reduction is comparable to that seen when people take statin drugs, according to the report.”
And which cooking oils have the most polyunsaturated fats? The winners are grapeseed oil, sunflower oil and vegetable oil (please see accompanying chart).
Said the panel report: “Evidence has accumulated during the past several years that strengthens long-standing AHA recommendations to replace saturated fat with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat to lower the incidence of CVD (cardiovascular disease).”
And here’s their important reminder: “Reduction in total dietary fat or a goal for total fat intake is not recommended.”
Added Nierenberg, who interviewed study co-author Alice Lichtenstein: “The government’s U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans include a small amount of oils in their diets every day to supply essential fatty acids, because the body can’t make these acids and thus must get them from food. There are two such fatty acids, and both are polyunsaturated fatty acids: linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid.”
Some additional key facts:
• From Lichtenstein, professor of nutrition science and policy and director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston: “The main points are to use cooking oils in moderation.”
• From prevention.com:
• “Every oil out there has about 120 calories and 13 g of fat per tablespoon;”
• “Choose ‘cold-pressed’ and/or ‘expeller-pressed’ when possible;”
• “Pay attention to smoke point…Smoke point is the temperature at which oils start to break down and lose nutrients.”
• From livescience.com: “Polyunsaturated fats are found in fish, walnuts and flaxseed, as well as sunflower, safflower, soybean and corn oils (by comparison, monounsaturated fats are found in other types of nuts and seeds, avocadoes and olive, canola and peanut oils).”
· From AHA recommendations, November 2016: “Replacing bad fats (saturated and trans) with healthier fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) is better for your heart. One way you can do this is by choosing healthier non-tropical vegetable oils for cooking and preparing food. Use these oils instead of solid fats (including butter, shortening, lard and hard stick margarine) and tropical oils (including palm and coconut oil), which can have a lot of saturated fat: Canola, Corn, Olive, Peanut, Safflower, Soybean, Sunflower. Blends or combinations of these oils, often sold under the name ‘vegetable oil’, and cooking sprays made from these oils are also good choices. Some specialty oils, like avocado, grapeseed, rice bran and sesame, can be healthy choices but may cost a bit more or be harder to find.”