The Skinny on Fats

Naturally occurring fats are embraced by the Paleo diet, but some are better for you than others.
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Naturally occurring fats are embraced by the Paleo diet, but some are better for you than others.
Healthy Fats

One of the biggest health myths is that eating fat makes you fat. While eating hydrogenated fats from processed foods will put you on the fast track to metabolic disease, eating a diet high in good fats can actually make you healthier. Meals that are high in the right fats will leave you sated, perhaps so much that you’re hardly hungry when it comes time for your next meal. And good fats are just straight up delicious, too.

There’s even more good news. Fats provide a stable energy source for the body; efficient fat burners can, and do, use this to their advantage during workouts. And increasing your consumption of healthy fats can liberate you from the “need” for consistent carbohydrate repletion. In other words, that dependency on eating every two hours to fuel your body and that never-ending cycle of hunger followed by energy crashes can be broken by eating more healthy fats.

Extra-virgin olive oil — abbreviated EVOO in Paleoland — is one fat most people can agree is healthy; additional, less commonly used options include coconut oil, ghee, coconut ghee and animal fats. Each fat is unique in flavor, source and chemical composition. If you aren’t already using the following delectable fats in your meals, you’re missing out.

Kasandrinos Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The Kasandrinos family hand-picks Koroneiki olives, which are purportedly very high in polyphenols, and within 48 hours of harvest, cold-presses them using mechanical, not chemically treated, methods. Because EVOO is predominantly unsaturated fat, it is relatively unstable at high heat by virtue of its chemical composition. So don’t use it for cooking at high temperatures; instead, drizzle it on veggies after you cook them or use it in a salad dressing.

Nutiva Coconut Oil

Pure, virgin, unadulterated coconut oil is more than 90 percent saturated fat — the highest amount of saturated fat of any fat. But coconut oil contains a unique mixture of short- and medium-chain triglycerides, which sets it apart from harmful sources of saturated fats, like, say, Oreos.

All that saturated fat makes coconut oil a great option for cooking at higher temperatures, and the MCTs in coconut oil also have been stirring up interest among the fitness community as a potent source of energy that can kick-start ketogenesis and be readily burned rather than stored as fat. Nutiva’s coconut is certified organic, unrefined, non-GMO and made from fresh coconuts.

Pure Indian Foods Ghee

Ghee, also known as clarified butter, is a fat source conventionally used in Indian cuisine. Ghee is made by simmering butter and removing the milk-solid residues — a process that theoretically gives rise to a rich, dairy-free butter alternative. Ghee is also a natural source of conjugated linoleic acid, which has been shown to have numerous health benefits and even potential fat-burning properties. It’s stable, suitable for high-heat cooking and can be used in place of butter. Use it to cook your morning eggs or melt it on roasted butternut squash.

See AlsoSweet ’N’ Savory Roasted Butternut Squash

Pure Indian Food’s product is certified organic and grass-fed, and it comes in several varieties for the adventure seeker. If you can’t decide whether to spring for coconut oil or ghee, look no further. Pure Indian Foods also makes Primalfat, which is 50 percent coconut oil and 50 percent ghee.

FatWorks Duck Fat

Duck fat is a natural source of monounsaturated fat; in fact, the first French fries were cooked in duck fat before processed seed oils were developed. So it should be no surprise that it can be used for frying or roasting food or to enhance the flavor of soups, stews and gravies. Choose duck fat to make your taste buds dance the next time you roast veggies or pan-fry leaner meats, like chicken or pork chops.

FatWorks Duck Fat is rendered from pasture-raised ducks using a combination of low-heat kettle rendering and fine filtering.