Is There Too Much Oil In Your Diet?

Sardines in their tin.

Sardines in their tin.

 

Do you deep fry everything you eat? Is crispy bacon considered a mandatory garnish on most of your meals? Probably not. But if you are eating out a lot and frying most of your veggies rather than steaming or roasting – then you may be getting too much oil.

Dietary trends-and advice-come and go. In the old days, fat was good for you; prosperous men and women from Dickensian Britain to the mid-twentieth century were all a little pear-shaped. Then fat became a villain, and we were told to avoid it. We all read up on trans fats, saturated fat, hydrogenated fats, partially hydrogenated fats… fat was bad. Now it’s not so bad after all; some is good, some, not so much. Avocados are full of oil, does that mean we should eat less of them? What about fried chicken? Help!

CR-Health-Hero-Avacado-Toast-10-16-

 

When we talk about fat, we acknowledge that it’s not just the eye-catching marbling of a T-bone steak we’re referring to. Oils from plant sources are fats too, of course, although they have undergone some sort of mechanical extraction. And make no mistake, a well-balanced diet should contain a certain amount of fats and oils. Thing is, we can get enough good fats into our system by eating sensibly, especially foods with high amounts of healthy oils, like nuts and seeds, avocados, coconuts and so forth. But when it comes to cooking so much of our food, the trends is to reach for a bottle of cooking oil.

Many of us have a small arsenal of these oils in our pantries, fats for all occasions. Peanut oil with a high smoke point for frying, walnut oil for salads, extra virgin olive oil for dressings, drizzling and dipping, generic tasting oils like canola and sunflower for all purpose applications like mayonnaise and baking, and somewhat of a johnny-come-lately, coconut oil, highly esteemed by vegans and vegetarians. The list goes on and on, many folks assuming that you can’t have too much of a good thing. But the reality is, just because you have replaced much of your animal fat with plant-based sources of oil, you don’t necessarily get a “get out of jail free” card.

 

oven -fried chicken

oven -fried chicken

 

Extracted oils are 100% fat, stripped of any of the plant’s nutrients.The healthiest form of oil to ingest is the oil that is in whole foods; eating an avocado, for example, replete with its oil is the healthiest way to get your fix. Processing oils through a myriad of activities often removes healthy omega-3s, mono-unsaturated fats and other vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

Adjusting cooking patterns is probably the best way to cut down on the overconsumption of oils and fats. “Oven-fried” chicken is an obvious example. It’s delicious! Calm down, you don’t have to give up fried chicken altogether, but trying oven-baked once in awhile won’t kill you!

One tip, when frying or sautéeing, is to make sure you use cookware that is non-stick. No need to do a complete overhaul, all you really need are one or two good quality non-stick pans, and if your cast iron is well-seasoned you’re all set anyway. Let the pan heat up properly, this will reduce the amount of oil that you need because a properly hot pan will sear food so it doesn’t stick.

This week, why not experiment with your food choices by steaming or oven roasting your next batch of veggies, or incorporating a little more whole foods like nuts and avocados? A delicious mound of nachos with fresh made guacamole would be great for an evening with the Leafs or Raptors. Or better yet, why not work up an appetite for all of this deliciousness by playing a pick-up game of hoops yourself?

 

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