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Health Benefits of THIS Fat

Recently, celebrity chef Paula Deen announced she has type 2 diabetes.  If you aren’t familiar with her, she’s known for using one ingredient in pretty much all foods: butter.

Her strong Southern drawl and warm personality has engaged audiences for her popular cooking shows.  Her love affair with butter (and sugar, among other less-than-stellar ingredients) has certainly raised a few eyebrows though among the critics.

Now this news came out and many aren’t surprised.

This blog isn’t about Paula Deen though (aside from wishing she used her announcement to suggest she is making some lifestyle changes since that’s the biggest driver of type 2 diabetes).  It’s about heart disease.  But I bring up Paula because people with diabetes are at an even higher risk for heart disease.  In fact, two-thirds of people with diabetes die from cardiovascular disease. 

So how can you prevent or at least reduce the risk of heart disease (and diabetes, for that matter)? 

Yes, sure — eating well and exercising regularly.  Let’s get specific.  And since Paula Deen and her affection towards butter was the start of the blog, let’s continue.

Butter is primarily saturated fat.  While some saturated fat is OK — healthy, in fact — most of the science suggests there are much better options, like canola oil, to eat more regularly.  Canola oil is 93% healthy unsaturated fat.  That’s a good thing. 

Canola oil has the least saturated fat of any edible oil.  In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a qualified health claim that  “… eating about 1 1/2 tablespoons of canola oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease…” when consumed in place of unsaturated fat.

The key there is replace versus simply add.
  Oil still has a lot of calories per tablespoon, regardless of the type.  It’s just making smarter choices for the oils and fats you DO use.  And doing so can reduce the risk of heart disease.Here’s another way to help others fight heart disease, too — send them a Valentine’s e-card, through this link.  For every card sent, CanolaInfo will donate 20 cents to the American Heart Association up to $20,000  The money will support the association’s goal of improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% while reducing deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20% by the year 2020.  You let someone know you’re thinking of them AND support a great cause

While we’re talking heart health — check out this recipe from the CanolaInfo Dude Food recipe collection.  I like this because it combines healthy fats from both the canola oil and tuna. 

Grilled Tuna Steaks with Cilantro and Basil

3 Tbsp light soy sauce
3 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp dried pepper flakes
6 tuna steaks (6 oz/170 g each), rinsed and pat dry
canola oil cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp minced garlic

In small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, canola oil and pepper flakes. Place tuna steaks and 2 Tbsp of soy sauce mixture in large, resealable plastic bag. Turn bag several times to coat tuna steaks. Refrigerate no longer than 30 minutes.

Preheat grill. Coat with cooking spray over high heat. In another small bowl, combine cilantro, basil, lime juice, vinegar and garlic. 

Remove tuna from bag, discarding any leftover marinade, and grill tuna for 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until very pink in center. Do not overcook tuna or it will become tough. Serve with remaining soy sauce mixture and top with equal amounts of cilantro mixture.

Yield: 6 servings. Serving size: 4.5 oz tuna, 2 Tbsp cilantro mixture. 

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:
Calories     210
Total Fat     10 g
Saturated Fat     2 g
Cholesterol     45 mg
Sodium     240 mg
Carbohydrates     1 g
Fiber     0 g
Protein     27 g

8 Responses to Health Benefits of THIS Fat

  1. MzTeaze January 23, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    One question about this. I take a high dosage of fish oil supplement to help with health issues. How does this work into a “normal” diet? I am struggling to keep my grams of fat low while eating a clean(er) diet.

    • Chris and Kara Mohr January 23, 2012 at 10:29 am #

      Don’t worry about the grams of fat in your fish oil when you’re looking at overall calories. Even if you were taking 10 grams/day, which is a pretty hefty dose — it’s just 90 calories. And I’d assume you’re not taking such a high dose. Thanks

  2. Dianne January 23, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    I guess i’m a bit confused about the canola oil. There are many negative reports about canola because it is highly processed. And used for other things than human consumption.
    What is the best form of canola oil to use that we can find on the shelves…..like with olive oil…extra virgin.

    Also what are your thoughts on coconut oil…a highly saturated fat but a medium chain FA …..therefore utilized more so by the body as fuel?

    Thanks. Dianne

    • Chris and Kara Mohr January 24, 2012 at 7:39 am #

      They do sell cold pressed, organic oil if you want to avoid the heat treated oil and ensure it’s not GMO. Coconut oil is a health substitute, but not in addition to other oils. It’s not as magical as people suggest, though there are some health benefits.

  3. Geoff Hetherington January 23, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    Hi Mohr folks:

    I am disturbed by this article – canola oil has a bad rep as being anything like a healthy oil.
    No – I’m not talking about the long dealt with erucic acid issue – it’s been bred out of the plants. Nor am I an anti genetically modified food troll.

    The issue, as I see it is this:
    Canola oil typically ranges between 55-65% monounsaturated fat and between 28-35% polyunsaturated fat, plus a touch saturated fat.

    While its true that oils with a high monounsaturated fat content are good for us (especially in the case of genuine virgin olive oil), I believe that the polyunsaturated component of the oil is highly unstable under the heat, light, and pressure used in the manufacturing process.

    Like most seed oils produced for cooking, Canola oil is typically extracted and refined through the use high presssure, high heat and chen=micals such as hexane. Thebne there is clarifying, stabilising, refining etc using more heat & chemicals.

    This results in heavily oxidised polyunsaturates which can, in turn, increase the presence of free radicals in the body.This means that the oil becomes an inflammatory agent with the potential to contribute to fat gain, heart disease, joint problems, and other degenerative diseases.

    Extra virgin olive oil, for example, is cold pressed without the use of heat and solvents to aid extraction. This means lower, if any process caused oxidation and a beneficial impact on health.

    Bottomline – I think that recommending Canola Oil is not necessarily in anyone’s health interests.
    Be well.

    Does canola even have trans fats?

    Even worse, all of this high heat, high pressure processing with solvents actually forces some of the omega-3 content of canola oil to be transformed into trans fats.

    According to Dr. Mary Enig, PhD, and Nutritional Biochemist, “Although the Canadian government lists the trans fat content of canola at a minimal 0.2 percent, research at the University of Florida at Gainesville, found trans fat levels as high as 4.6 percent in commercial liquid canola oil”.

    And this is the crap that they are marketing to you as a “healthy oil”!

    As you can see from the details above on how canola oil is processed, it is barely any healthier for you than other junk oils like soybean oil or corn oil. The bottom line is that it is an inflammatory oil in your body and should be avoided as much as possible.

    The only canola oil that might be reasonable is if you see that it is “cold pressed” and organic. Most canola oil is NOT cold pressed or organic, so you might as well choose oils that you know are healthier.

  4. Geoff Hetherington January 23, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    Hi Mohr folks:

    I am disturbed by this article – canola oil has a bad rep as being anything like a healthy oil.
    No – I’m not talking about the long dealt with erucic acid issue – it’s been bred out of the plants. Nor am I an anti genetically modified food troll.

    The issue, as I see it is this:
    Canola oil typically ranges between 55-65% monounsaturated fat and between 28-35% polyunsaturated fat, plus a touch saturated fat.

    While its true that oils with a high monounsaturated fat content are good for us (especially in the case of genuine virgin olive oil), I believe that the polyunsaturated component of the oil is highly unstable under the heat, light, and pressure used in the manufacturing process.

    Like most seed oils produced for cooking, Canola oil is typically extracted and refined through the use high presssure, high heat and chen=micals such as hexane. Thebne there is clarifying, stabilising, refining etc using more heat & chemicals.

    This results in heavily oxidised polyunsaturates which can, in turn, increase the presence of free radicals in the body.This means that the oil becomes an inflammatory agent with the potential to contribute to fat gain, heart disease, joint problems, and other degenerative diseases.

    Extra virgin olive oil, for example, is cold pressed without the use of heat and solvents to aid extraction. This means lower, if any process caused oxidation and a beneficial impact on health.

    Bottomline – I think that recommending Canola Oil is not necessarily in anyone’s health interests.
    Be well.

    Does canola even have trans fats?

    Even worse, all of this high heat, high pressure processing with solvents actually forces some of the omega-3 content of canola oil to be transformed into trans fats.

    According to Dr. Mary Enig, PhD, and Nutritional Biochemist, "Although the Canadian government lists the trans fat content of canola at a minimal 0.2 percent, research at the University of Florida at Gainesville, found trans fat levels as high as 4.6 percent in commercial liquid canola oil".

    And this is the crap that they are marketing to you as a "healthy oil"!

    As you can see from the details above on how canola oil is processed, it is barely any healthier for you than other junk oils like soybean oil or corn oil. The bottom line is that it is an inflammatory oil in your body and should be avoided as much as possible.

    The only canola oil that might be reasonable is if you see that it is "cold pressed" and organic. Most canola oil is NOT cold pressed or organic, so you might as well choose oils that you know are healthier.

    • Chris and Kara Mohr January 24, 2012 at 7:37 am #

      Thanks for the thoughtful response. Like you said at the end, since you can find cold pressed, organic canola oil … going that route would eliminate your concerns.

    • Jesse January 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

      Here, here I agree with Geoff Hetherington, Best to just stick with Extra Virgin Olive oil but when cooking best to just par boil veggies and add the olive oil after taking off the burner. Same with anything you want to cook and add the oil after you turn off the heat. Better yet if you want to FRY something use Coconut oil it maintains it’s structure because it has a HIGH heat tolerance. No free radicals to worry about.

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