- Flax Oil
- Coconut Oil for Deep Frying
- Oils for sleeping
- Heating Polyunsaturated Oils
- Organic Ghee and the X-factor
- Erasmus Book on Fats
- Oleic Acid
- Hemp or grapeseed oil
- Supplementing omega-3
- Avocado oil and lite olive oil
- Rice bran oil
- Vegans consuming chia seeds, coconut oil, avocados
- Monounsaturated fat in animal fat
- Do our bodies synthesize saturated fatty acids from non-saturated fatty acids?
- What percentage of our brains is saturated fat?
- Is saturated fat contained within the cells that make up the blood brain barrier?
- Can we obtain EFA and DHA omega-3s from flax seeds?
- Palm oil
- Rice Oil
- Argan and Barbary oils for the skin?
- Rapeseed oil
- Alzheimer’s association is against coconut oil
- Dutch ovens
- Saturated fat & type 2 diabetes
- plaque build-up in the arteries
Fats and Oils
Q. I have heard that I should not take flax oil. Please clarify.
A. Flax oil is fine if it is a good quality and in small amounts (see our Shopping Guide for recommended brands). People are taking too much flax oil–about 1/2 tsp per day is all you need. Remember to always store flax oil in the refrigerator.
Q. Can I use coconut oil for deep frying?
A. We don’t recommend coconut oil for deep frying–it does not have a high enough smoke point and breaks down at high temperature. We recommend tallow or lard for deep frying.
Q. Mary Enig in The Skinny on Fats writes that polyunsaturated oils should never be heated or used in cooking. These oils are contained in healthy foods such as wild salmon. Should these foods, therefore, not be cooked?
A. It is when the oils are removed from the foods that they become dangerous to cook in. Inside the food they are protected. It is fine to cook foods containing polyunsaturates as long as you don’t cook at too high a temperature or burn them.
Q. When organic butter is clarified as when one makes ghee, does this alter the vitamins or destroy the X-factor?
A. No, these vitamins are very heat stable. Only the Wulzen factor is lost. But try to make clarified butter using the lowest possible temperature.
Q. Do you think Udo Eramsus’ book, Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill, is a good reference?
A. The best book on fats and oils is Mary Enig’s, Know Your Fats. Udo’s book is full of mistakes. Click here to read our review of it.
Q. Why do we see such emphasis on oleic acids, as in the Zone diet?
A. See “The Great Con-ola’, on our website; this is a quote from it:
“Let’s start with some history. The time period is the mid-1980s and the food industry has a problem. In collusion with the American Heart Association, numerous government agencies and departments of nutrition at major universities, the industry had been promoting polyunsaturated oils as a heart-healthy alternative to “artery-clogging” saturated fats. Unfortunately, it had become increasingly clear that polyunsaturated oils, particularly corn oil and soybean oil, cause numerous health problems, including and especially cancer.1
The industry was in a bind. It could not continue using large amounts of liquid polyunsaturated oils and make health claims about them in the face of mounting evidence of their dangers. Nor could manufacturers return to using traditional healthy saturates—butter, lard, tallow, palm oil and coconut oil—without causing an uproar. Besides, these fats cost too much for the cut-throat profit margins in the industry.
The solution was to embrace the use of monounsaturated oils, such as olive oil. Studies had shown that olive oil has a “better” effect than polyunsaturated oils on cholesterol levels and other blood parameters. Besides, Ancel Keys and other promoters of the diet-heart idea had popularized the notion that the Mediterranean diet—rich in olive oil and conjuring up images of a carefree existence on sun-drenched islands—protected against heart disease and ensured a long and healthy life.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) sponsored the First Colloquium on Monounsaturates in Philadelphia. The meeting was chaired by Scott Grundy, a prolific writer and apologist for the notion that cholesterol and animal fats cause heart disease. Representatives from the edible oil industry, including Unilever, were in attendance. The Second Colloquium on Monounsaturates took place in Bethesda, Maryland, early in 1987. Dr. Grundy was joined by Claude Lenfant, head of the NHLBI, and speakers included Fred Mattson, who had spent many years at Proctor and Gamble, and the Dutch scientist Martign Katan, who would later publish research on the problems with trans fatty acids. It was at this time that articles extolling the virtues of olive oil began to appear in the popular press.
Promotion of olive oil, which had a long history of use, seemed more scientifically sound to the health-conscious consumer than the promotion of corn and soy oil, which could only be extracted with modern stainless steel presses. The problem for the industry was that there was not enough olive oil in the world to meet its needs. And, like butter and other traditional fats, olive oil was too expensive to use in most processed foods. The industry needed a less expensive monounsaturated oil.
Rapeseed oil was a monounsaturated oil that had been used extensively in many parts of the world, notably in China, Japan and India. It contains almost 60 percent monounsaturated fatty acids (compared to about 70 percent in olive oil). Unfortunately, about two-thirds of the mono-unsaturated fatty acids in rapeseed oil are erucic acid, a 22-carbon monounsaturated fatty acid that had been associated with Keshan’s disease, characterized by fibrotic lesions of the heart. In the late 1970s, using a technique of genetic manipulation involving seed splitting,2 Canadian plant breeders came up with a variety of rapeseed that produced a monounsaturated oil low in 22-carbon erucic acid and high in 18-carbon oleic acid.
The new oil referred to as LEAR oil, for Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed, was slow to catch on in the US. In 1986, Cargill announced the sale of LEAR oil seed to US farmers and provided LEAR oil processing at its Riverside, North Dakota plant but prices dropped and farmers took a hit.”3
See also Mary Enig’s Know Your Fats column, “Some Typical Questions and Misconceptions about Fats and Oils.”
Q: Do you recommend hemp oil or grape seed oil?
A: We do not recommend either of these oils. Hemp seed oil contains cannabanoids that have caused people consuming the oil to flunk their urine tests for drugs; and both hemp oil and grape seed oil are high in omega-6 fatty acids–we already have too much of these in our diets.
Q: Is it true that coconut is counter indicated for people whose renal function is failing to a larger percent? If so, is this the only case where coconut is counter indicated?
A: Where did you read coconut oil is counter indicated in kidney failure? When I Google “coconut oil kidney failure” I get one study showing a protective effect and none showing an adverse effect in the first two pages.
Q: What do you think about rice bran oil?
A: Rice bran oil is an industrially processed oil high in omega 6, so we don’t recommend it. It was not used in traditional diets.
Q: My core statement in relation to coconut oil is that there is no risk of increased LDL when coconut oil is consumed in the presence of adequate omega-6 and omega-3 fats.
The problem is to know which are adequate sources of omega-3 apart from oily fish (becoming very expensive) and pharmaceutical supplements (also expensive).
Having learned that milk and meat from pasture-fed cows is a source of omeg-3, and that fresh greens are beneficial in the human diet, I have been searching on the internet for information about the amount of omega-3 in various vegetables, such as spinach, cabbage, pea, bean, and so on. Nothing useful came out of that.
To ensure some omega-3 in my own diet I put ground up linseed on my morning cereal, and also add full-cream cottage cheese, as I once saw on the internet that this will stimulate the enzyme system that converts alpha linolenic to EPA and DHA. The name attached to that advice was Budwig, an Austrian medical person I think, possibly mentioned by Dr Mercola.
A: First, it doesn’t matter whether coconut oil increases LDL because LDL levels don’t matter. But I doubt that it even does increase LDL because the body uses LDL to fight infection and coconut oil also fights infection.
Second, if you are taking coconut oil and other saturated fats, your body actually needs very little omega-3 because saturated fats ensure that the omega-3s are used very effectively and conserved in the tissues. So you don’t need to be adding extra omega-3s to your diet, in fact this could be harmful–it is dangerous to overdose on omega-3 fatty acids. If you want to put about 1/2 tsp flax oil in your salad dressing, that is fine, but any more would not be good. And you definitely don’t need to worry about getting enough omega-6–they are in all foods.
Q: What to you think of tuna oil? I was told that that tuna oil is higher than cod liver oil in DHA than EPA which is better for the development of a baby’s brain.
A: Tuna oil is fish oil and we do not recommend any of the fish oils. We recommend certain brands of cod liver oil to get vitamins A and D. You will also get EPA and DHA–both necessary for brain development. However, you can get too much EPA and DHA by taking fish oils.
Q. My understanding is that cod liver il is primarily a source of A and D, not omega-3s (though I think it is a source of omega-3, my understanding is that it’s not necessarily a great source of omega-3s). If I wanted to supplement specifically omega-3s, what would you recommend?
A. It’s a difficult subject and there are many opinions. Chris Masterjohn believes that we don’t need any of the 18-carbon omega-3s, but only the elongated ones (DHA and EPA), which are plentiful in cod liver oil.
The other key factor is saturated fat–the more saturated fat you eat, the less omega-3 of any type you need because with saturated fat, the body conserves them. Plus, people can get too much DHA and EPA if they are taking fish oils.
Egg yolks from pastured hens, liver and oily fish are good sources of DHA and EPA. You can also use a SMALL amount of flax oil in salad dressings in the context of a diet rich in saturated fat.
Q. Is it true that avocado oil has an excellent fatty acid composition – maybe even better than olive oil? And that it also has very low peroxide values – better than olive oil? Also – I see a lot of “light” (tasting) olive oils. Does this always mean it has been heat extracted? I’ve never seen a cold-pressed “light” olive oil.
A. I think avocado oil would be fine–it is high in oleic acid. I am not sure what is going on with the lite olive oil–my guess is that polyunsaturated oils are added. In any case, it is best avoided.
Q. I was wondering whether by being a vegan and consuming chia seeds, coconut oil and avocados provides me with an efficient source of fat for maintaining biochemical processes in my body.
A. We do not recommend a vegan diet. Chia seeds, coconut oil and avocados will not supply the crucial fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K2. You need to at least eat butter from grass-fed cows for that, and hopefully take cod liver oil.
Q: In Sally’s book, she mentions that olive oil can prompt the body to store fat, because of the longer chained fatty acids (as opposed to the short and medium chain in butter and coconut oil). Where does the monounsaturated fat in animal fat fit into that? Can it also prompt fat storage? I assume they are all longer chained fatty acids.
A: This is a good point. But I think if you are trying to lose weight, try to avoid excess oleic acid, such as in olive oil, avocados, almonds and other nuts.
Q: Do our bodies synthesize saturated fatty acids from non-saturated fatty acids?
A: No, our bodies synthesize saturated fatty acids from carbohydrates
Q: What percentage of our brains is saturated fat?
A: About 50%
Q: Is saturated fat contained within the cells that make up the blood brain barrier?
A: It certainly is in the cell membranes, not sure about the cells
Q: Can we obtain EFA and DHA omega-3s from flax seeds?
A: We obtain the 18-carbon omega-3 fatty acids from flax seeds. Some people can make EFA and DHA from the 18-carbon, others cannot. See the article Tripping Lightly Down the Prostaglandin Pathways on our website.
Q: Is “palm olein oil” a good fat to eat? I know that palm oil is good but has palm olein oil been damaged during processing? My supermarket sells vegetable chips cooked in this oil.
A: Palm olein oil is the liquid fraction of the palm oil, with the saturated fat removed. As this is mostly monounsaturated oleic acid, this industrial fat would be better than other industrial oils (corn,
soybean, etc); however, you are right, the pure palm oil would be a better choice.
Q: I saw a friends post on facebook, admonishing us to think twice before buying anything that contains palm oil or any of it’s derivatives, because of deforestation and animal abuse, among other things. This was the reference: http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/. And, she had friends that made comments such as, ” And all of the rainforests that are being cut down right now for our addiction to palm and beef……well there goes the carbon suckers….global warming acceleration!” No mention here that pretty much the same is done for soybean crops, from what I’ve read.
Is this actually true about palm oil, at least to the degree that the site speaks of, or are there actually sustainable crops that we should be aware of to somehow support, if there were a way to know when reading a product label? If it is, it’s very unfortunate, since it’s such a healthy oil that is nice to have access to. I just don’t like the idea that such things would be happening in order to produce it.
A: Here is an article that give another point of view on palm oil
It is far, far less destructive than the cultivation of soy or canola oil. . . and much healthier also. The denigration of palm oil cultivation is coming from the soy industry.
Q: I have looked in Nourishing Traditions and on your website for any information on the pros and cons of using rice oil for cooking and can’t find any specific references. I am already on board with the WAP way of thinking, and am trying to get this specific information for my mom. (Her acupuncturist told her that she uses rice oil for cooking, so now my mom is going to go out and get a bottle for their cooking.) Does rice oil fit into the category of safflower, corn, sunflower, soybean and cottonseed oils, as described on pg 19 of Nourishing Traditions? If there are any articles you could link me to that specifically mention rice oil, that would be great, but if not, that’s fine, just knowing which category it fits into (in the book) and knowing for sure whether it’s a healthy or non-healthy fat would be very helpful.
A: Rice oil is an industrial oil, high in omega-6 fatty acids. It would fit in with the other industrial oils, and should not be used.
Q: I was reading an article on your website about looking after the skin. You recommend coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil as skin moisturizers. What do you think of Argan and Barbary oils for the skin?
A: I have not heard of these oils, so would need to know the fatty acid profiles of the oils. In general, you do not want to put polyunsaturated oils on your skin.
Q: I have a question about Rapeseed oil which is known as Canola oil in your country and described on your website as one to avoid at all costs, in particular because of the excessive processing that it goes through in order to be made palatable for humans. Here in England there is a company, Bell and Loxton in South Devon, selling their own rapeseed oil which they claim to cold press and filter only. They are obviously passionate about what they do and believe it to be a very healthy product and claim that it retains its nutrients due to the minimal processing etc. Do you think it is possible that this oil might be healthier than the usual canola oil in the USA? Thanks for your trouble. You could check their website if you would like: http://www.bellandloxton.co.uk
A: Yes, this would definitely be healthier, and fine to use in a diet that also contains plentiful saturated fat, such as butter or ghee.
Q: I’m currently taking two to three tablespoonful’s of coconut oil daily for the lauric acid content a day to combat TB, which I was unfortunate to come down with about three months ago.
However, after reading this, I am having some reservations. I would be grateful if you may let have your good advice.
A: I am not surprised that the Alzheimer’s association is against coconut oil–all the mainstream disease organizations are against things that really work. The objection is that coconut is high in saturated fat, which they claim is unhealthy–we have shown that on the contrary, saturated fats are very healthy and should be in the diet. I would think coconut oil is a good thing for TB. But even more important would be the Blue Ice cod liver oil for vitamins A and D.
Q: I own dutch ovens. After you cook in them, you clean them, then rub an oil on them to “season” them and protect them. Problem is, I don’t use the Dutch ovens very often so by the next time I use them the oil has gone rancid. Question: Which oils are least likely to go rancid? I have read the highest smokepoint oils are least likely (avocodo oil is the highest) I have read the lowest oxidation index will be least likely to go rancid I have read that Coconut oil is least likely to go rancid I have read the Crisco (lard) is least likely. I thought I would turn to the experts (you) and see if you can answer this unusual question. Which oil is least likely to go rancid (which I will use to coat my dutch ovens).
A: The best “oils” to use would be lard or tallow, they have the highest smoke points and are least likely to go rancid. Crisco is NOT lard, it is partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil. Coconut oil has a lower smoke point, not a good oil for the Dutch ovens.
Q: I have been counselling some friends who suffer from type 2 diabetes and encouraging them to get away from their FAT FOBIA. But it seems that either the information that they have been given by their doctors is that Saturated Fat increases blood sugar levels OR the self test apparatus they each use measures fat rather than sugar. They have each categorically stated that “whenever they hunker down to some juicy steak” their sugar levels shoot up – surely there is another explanation. I have looked at and attempted to raise their awareness of the needs to stay away from Fluoride, Statins, Aspartame and Margarine / Vegetable Oils and get more CLO, Sunlight and Iodine. Can you help me better understand how to help them
A: I can’t understand what is going on here–unless the steak is very lean, that could in fact raise blood sugar levels. But a nice fatty steak, or one eaten with plenty of butter should not raise insulin levels. There is a good article on diabetes on our website. http://www.westonaprice.org/diabetes/treating-diabetes
Q: I recently watched a webinar called “The Oiling of America” by Sally Fallon Morell and I’m wondering if there is anyone at the Weston A. Price Foundation who could answer the following question for me:
If someone already has plaque build-up in their arteries, and is already taking cholesterol-lowering medications, would it really be safe for them to eat foods that are higher in saturated fats? Someone recently asked me this question and I wasn’t sure how to answer it. Everything Sally said made perfect sense to me and I understood her argument about how the increase in hydrogenated vegetable oils (particularly from soy and corn) is responsible for increased inflammation in our bodies, and how this leads to various illnesses. Still I’m having a problem wrapping my head around the fact that it would be safe for someone who already has blocked arteries, to eat lard, animal fat, and to stop taking cholesterol-lowering medication. Any clarification you could give me on this point would be very much appreciated. I recently completed a certification in sports nutrition and I’m finding it very hard to make sense of all the conflicting information that’s out there.
A: The main thing for reversing blocked arteries is to get off ALL vegetable oils and to get adequate fat-soluble vitamins in the diet, vitamins A, D and especially vitamin K. I would suggest 1 tsp Blue Ice cod liver oil and 1/2 teaspoon high vitamin butter oil per day, plus all the foods that carry these nutrients–butter, egg yolks, cream, liver, fish eggs, etc. Use only olive oil for salads and that sparingly. Of course, you can get off the cholesterol-lowering medicine, and there is no need to cut back slowly (as with blood pressure meds), you can go off cold turkey. There is no relationship between cholesterol levels and blockage of the arteries. There is a wonderful cardiologist in Tyler, Texas, Dr. Peter Langsjoen,
http://drlangsjoen.com who takes all his patients off statins and puts them on a Nourishing Traditions diet. If you could go there and have an appointment with him, then you could be reassured by a cardiologist that this is the way to go. He will also put you on Co Q10.
Cindy Bruwer says
We are moving forward with our trans fat project and seeking info toward replacing them esp. for restauranteurs. (We do have your book, Know Your Fats.) If you look at New York oil guidelines they are all about more soy and canola and we are hoping to find a way to do a little better…one time use of oils, omega 9…..Question. What about tea seed oil?Any other suggestions?
So whats best oil for frying? most high-smoke-point oils have too much pufa (polyunsaturated oil).
What about baking with dough?
for example, adding oil to dough, helps prevent dry bread. help, i need alternative.
El Ash says
Oil for hot stir-frying
What oil do you recommend for fast stirfrying (ie traditional thai food) at a high temperature?
Lard or tallow work great for stir frying.
starting baby on solids
I am wondering what are the best solid foods to start my baby on. I know that fats are extremely important to infants. Should I be giving her avocados or coconut?
What cooking applications are appropriate for extra vergion olive oil. Can it be used for sautaying (pardon the misspelling)?
Sauteing should probably not be done with EVOO – it could harm the antioxidants and fatty acids, which are mostly monounsaturated. I usually saute with butter or coconut oil – both work very nicely, although the flavour of EVCO doesn’t always fit.
Alas, this is rather late… both avocado and coconut are fine, since both are very low in omega-6. But avocado is mostly monounsaturated, while coconut is mostly saturated. If you give her avocado, be sure to also give her some coconut oil for the saturated fatty acids.
Lard or beef fat would be best.
This week on ABC evening news with Diane Sawyer, she will be promoting a new book “The End of Sickness.” It became available today through Amazon. I was horrified after breezing through excerpts because it appears its author is finding positive reasons for the use of statin drugs for treating inflammation along with aspirin, etc. My intuition seems to be not to trust its offerings. Do you have any opinion?
Obviously pusHong drugs. Better to spend your time reading WAPF journal, Wise Traditions.
Susan Sherman Rosenberg says
Coconut Oil for the Skin
I am a massage therapist — I make my own body oil which I use on myself, my family, and my clients. I have not found much written evidence to support the health benefits of using coconut oil on the skin, however, from my own personal experience I can see and feel how my skin has improved in texture and color. When my clients ask me why I use coconut oil, I do not have any intellectual or scientific answers — can you help with this?
Susan Sherman Rosenberg
I agree! I had horrible acne. Some was the big hot and painful type. I also got it on my shoulders. I tried everything on the market it seemed. Then I came across a blog talking about using coconut oil for skin. My skin is totally different now. I have no issues. The main issue with commercial products is they tell you to clean clean clean. Get rid of any spec of oil. That’s totally wrong. I realize now. Keeping a healthy balanced skin with coconut oil keeps my skin from being irritated and then getting infected.
What a shock, once again doing the opposite of what main stream says to do works. 🙂
melissa putt says
Is Grundy a dissenter or promotor of saturated fat?
Thank-you for such thorough reviews of research. After scrolling through much internet content and hard copy journal research I am unable to find definitive sources of research for Dr. Scott Grundy retracting his support for a modified saturated fat diet. His webpage is absolutely pro-monounsaturated oil and lowered LDL-C. Like others I have always read that he recanted his support for such research but that isn’t evident in his public persona and research. Any direction would be helpful.
Brigitte Pisarek says
Is there anything healthy about olive oil?
These days, oilive oil is being thought of as the healthy oil. Would you please tell me if it is a healthy oil, or why it is not.
Good sources of Omega 6’s
My son and I have been diagnosed with pyroluria, a condition where one dumps zinc, B6 and omega 6’s. Now I’m confused about what ratio of omega 3’s to omega 6’s we should be eating. I also want to make sure we’re getting the best sources. My son does not well-tolerate the glycerine used in gel capsules (he doesn’t tolerate anything sweet). We currently cook with high quality organic sunflower oil, olive oil and ghee, and my son takes a tablespoon of cod liver oil every few days. I take 260 mg of EPO in a gelcap but haven’t been able to find it without the glycerine or other bad ingredients I don’t want to give my son (caramel color, etc.). I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thank you!
Justin Roy Olson says
I used to use hemp oil from NUTIVA on a regular basis until I started using cod liver oil. They have many articles and information about how hemp will not cause you to fail a drug test. And also how some of the top members in the government use hemp and pass their drug tests with no issues as I did many times. It is true however it is loaded with omega 6.
Marilyn Daugherty says
I’d like info on sunflower oil please, Good?
I have been adding Agrilabs Electrolyte to my chicken and goats/sheep water in winter for the A and D amounts, winter is very harsh on them here, (and the goats eat the Icelandinc sheeps’ wool we are assuming for their need for vitamin D- ), when we use this electrolyte, that behavior stops, However, it uses K3 as a vitamin K source- can chickens and goats convert vitamin k3 into K2? We haven’t noticed any hypercalcium issues in them.
As soon as our green grass returns we will be putting them back on that. But we still don’t have adequate UVB rays in our latitude until May through Sept.
What oil do you recommend for mayyonnaise? I have tried to make my own, but the saturated ones are too strong in flavor- and have to be melted. Is there any oil at all that is acceptable?
I use avocado oil nd it works great!
Does real, pasture raised lard, made by my local farmer (not from the grocery store) have to be refrigerated or can it be stored at room temperature? What about tallow? How long is each good for?
both lard and tallow are stable at room temp and don’t need refrigeration, and if stored in an air-tight container can be good for well over a year at least.
I happen to really like hemp oil. Plus I wouldn’t mind some extra cannobinoids (now) but the Nutiva brand never did make the gov’t interested in my pee. On a couple of occasions I noticed that my skin got softer after consuming it. Perhaps my EFA’s were out of balance at the time.
Arthur Higley says
purchased a bottle of virgin red palm oil because contains high % of saturated fats & high % of carotenes & tocotrienols. planned to eat & fry with it. any information pro or con about using red palm oil? Also is virgin red palm kernel oil better for high cooking? If so where to buy it?
Gayle Hardine says
http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/ against using palm oil
http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/soy-deception-article.htm for using palm oil
These two articles on Palm oil are no longer available. Are there other sources available so we might know about this issue?
You can find it in Internet Archive.
Alexander Cranford says
Is walnut oil good or bad?
Do you think Tigarnut oil is as healthy as Olive Oil?
Where would I be able to find the scientific studies to back your claims on oils? Thanks!
Does anyone know whether Perilla Oil is industrialized oil or is it safe to use?
wheatgerm oil is rich in Vitamin E and would be very convenient.
But is it to be avoided like all the other grain oils?
Martha Cheo says
My husband does not want his food cooked in lard because he is a vegetarian (although he does eat fish and dairy).
Is high oleic sunflower oil okay for baking and frying? The French company La Tourangelle has an organic brand they say is expeller pressed.
And what about avocado oil for high temperature cooking? Thanks.
What about walnut oil? Is it a healthier oil to use, and if so, what would you use it for?