Safe and Unsafe Cooking Fats

by Oct 5, 2020

Safest for Cooking

Great for frying, baking, broiling, grilling, and roasting

  • Coconut Oil (organic, virgin) – approximately 92% saturated, 6% monounsaturated, and 2% polyunsaturated
  • Lard – approximately 40% saturated, 48% monounsaturated, and 12% polyunsaturated
  • Ghee – approximately 65% saturated, 25% monounsaturated, and 5% polyunsaturated
  • Beef and Lamb Tallow – approximately 52% saturated, 44% unsaturated, and 3% polyunsaturated
  • Red Palm Oil, Palm kernel oil (organic, sustainably harvested virgin) – approximately 86% saturated, 12% monounsaturated, and 2% polyunsaturated

Animal fats should ideally be sourced from organically raised, grass-fed pastured animals.

Tropical vegetable fats in this category should ideally be organic and unrefined in nature.

Ghee oil stored inside a jar
Avocados on a wooden table

Quick stir-frying, light sautéing, and slow/low simmering are appropriate forms of heat for these oils. Again, notice the commonality of these fats. All except sesame oil contain a majority of monounsaturated fatty acids.

  • Olive Oil (unfiltered, domestic) – approximately 14% saturated, 75% monounsaturated, and 9% polyunsaturated
  • Peanut Oil – approximately 18% saturated, 48% monounsaturated, and 34% polyunsaturated
  • Avocado Oil – approximately 12% saturated, 76% monounsaturated, and 12% polyunsaturated
  • Macadamia Nut Oil – approximately 12% saturated, 79% monounsaturated, and 2% polyunsaturated
  • Sesame Oil – approximately 14% saturated, 40% monounsaturated, and 42% polyunsaturated

Unsafe for any kind of Heat Exposure!
DO NOT use for Cooking!

These oils should ALWAYS be extracted via expeller-pressing! Read the label first!

Flax seeds and flax seed oil sitting on a table
  • Flax Oil – approximately 9% saturated, 18% monounsaturated, and 73% polyunsaturated
  • Hemp Oil – approximately 7% saturated, 11% monounsaturated, and 76% polyunsaturated
  • Pine Nut Oil – approximately 8% saturated and 89% polyunsaturated
  • Pumpkin Seed Oil – approximately 20% saturated, 24% monounsaturated, and 55% polyunsaturated
  • Safflower Oil – approximately 7% saturated, 75% monounsaturated, and 12% polyunsaturated
  • Sunflower Oil – approximately 7% saturated, 83% monounsaturated, and 4% polyunsaturated
  • Grapeseed Oil – approximately 9% saturated, 16% monounsaturated, and 69% polyunsaturated

These oils are primarily composed of PUFAs, so should not be heated. If you do wish to consume these oils, do so in small doses. You can find these oils in dark, glass, or thick plastic containers in a refrigerated section of most health food stores. PUFA dominant oils should never be refined or processed, and unfortunately, finding truly unprocessed versions of these oils can be a difficult task. Corn and soybean oils are best avoided due to their genetically modified status and heavy pesticide levels.

Use omega-3 rich oils like flax oil sparingly in homemade condiments such as salad dressings, mayonnaise, freshly prepared smoothies, or lightly drizzled over soups, dips, and hors d’oeuvres.

There are many conflicting opinions about the safety of cooking with grapeseed oil. Like sesame oil, it has a higher smoke point due to its antioxidant content. Regardless, grapeseed oil is very high in PUFA’s and should not be used for cooking.

Unsafe to Consume Under any Circumstances

  • Canola Oil/Rapeseed Oil – approximately 7% saturated, 63% monounsaturated, and 28% polyunsaturated
  • Corn Oil – approximately 12% saturated, 27% monounsaturated, and 54% polyunsaturated
  • Cottonseed Oil – approximately 25% saturated, 17% monounsaturated, and 51% polyunsaturated
  • Soybean/Vegetable Oil – approximately 7% saturated, 75% monounsaturated, and 12% polyunsaturated
  • Vegetable Shortening
  • Partially Hydrogenated Fats/Oils (all)

Don’t Forget About Butter!

Cut up pieces of stick butter on a plate

Finally, we want to reserve a special place for the queen of cooking fats, real butter.

Butter is re-gaining a positive place in nutrition lexicon, and our ancestors prized butter for its life-giving nutrients! Raw, unprocessed butterfat from grass-fed cows has a comprehensive fatty acid profile that protects its consumer from developing imbalances such as hardening of the arteries, calcification of organs, glands and joints (arthritis), and cataracts.

Quality raw butter contains:

  • Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in small amounts in a healthful ratio.
  • CLA (Conjugated Linoleic) fatty acids to support weight management, muscle growth, and may protect against cancer.
  • Fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K to help us absorb and properly assimilate naturally occurring trace minerals also found in raw butter (zinc, selenium, iodine, chromium, manganese, etc,).
  • Butyric fatty acids that may help protect against fungal infections and tumor growth.
  • Arachidonic fatty acids for proper inflammatory and anti-inflammatory responses to heal effectively.

Also, butterfat enhances brain function and increases cell membrane integrity. With all these health benefits, raw organic butter can be a dietary fat consumed each and every day.


Leave a Reply

Guides, Articles and Videos
Subscribe to learn how to feel Happy, Healthy and Alive!
Subscribe to learn how to feel Happy, Healthy and Alive!
Subscribe to learn how to feel Happy, Healthy and Alive!