I’m always surprised, and disappointed, to see egg white omelettes featured in the “Healthy Options” section of restaurant menus. We all know that egg yolks are being left out because of their fat content, but why is this still happening?
Clearing up the Confusion around Good Fat
The notion that fat makes us fat, or that saturated fat “clogs” our arteries has been quite thoroughly debunked by scientific literature for some time now. That message has received relatively little media attention, which may be why many still cling to the notion that fat is the enemy, or why confusion persists about which fats are healthy and which aren’t.
There’s been a lot of talk about good and bad fat in recent decades, much of it seemingly contradictory. Why isn’t saturated fat as bad for us as we have long been led to believe?
Among other things, saturated fat is far less prone to oxidation than unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, like vegetable oils. Fat really only becomes harmful for heart health when it undergoes free radical damage and saturated fat is actually more stable than vegetable oils in that department. And as far as weight gain is concerned, fat keeps you feeling full and it won’t spike your blood sugar or insulin levels – the real culprit behind weight gain for most people.
So What Is a Healthy Fat?
We can all agree on olive oil – thank goodness – it’s one fat that has never been controversial. But good olive oil is expensive, and you shouldn’t cook with it.
Coconut oil has been booming for several years, although some people still worry unnecessarily about its saturated fat content. Coconut oil is great for cooking and baking.
Butter, Red Palm Fruit Oil, and Lard
Other healthy fats that can withstand heat include butter, red palm fruit oil (not the same as processed palm kernel oil) and lard. Yes, I said it. For no good reason, lard got the worst of raps in the sat fat phobia days, but it is as safe and healthy as butter, which most people are easily re-embracing.
As for those equally unfairly vilified egg yolks, they are a great source of choline, a nutrient that is important for brain health and helps remove fat deposits from the liver. Eggs yolks, but not whites contain vitamins A, D, E, K, and omega-3 fats. Hands down, the yolk is the most nutritious part of the egg.
Good Fats, Bad Fats: Some Recommended Reading
Whether you are just recovering from fat phobia or you are already a full on fat-o-phile, you might want to check out a couple of in-depth good reads on this topic. These include the lengthy but eye-opening Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, the much-acclaimed The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz, the aptly titled Eat the Yolks by Liz Wolfe, and the recently released Eat Fat, Get Thin, by Dr. Mark Hyman.