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Over the past decades, we have been persuaded that fat is bad for your he alth. Currently, research shows that even animal fat is desirable in the human diet. The problem is, however, that we eat too much of it and use it incorrectly, because not everyone is suitable, for example, for frying. What do you need to know about vegetable fats (oils, olive oil) and animal fats (butter, pork, goose and duck lard) to make your meal tasty and he althy?

Fats are the common name for lipids, they consist mainly of fatty acids as well as waxes, sterols, dyes and vitamins. If saturated fatty acids (composed of molecules with long carbon chains) are predominant in fat, it is in a solid form, and if unsaturated - in a liquid form. Vegetable oils consist mainly of unsaturated acids (70-90%), and in animal fats, butter or lard, there are more saturated acids (minimum 55%). But there are exceptions: cocoa butter, coconut oil and palm oil, although vegetable, contain more saturated fatty acids and are hard, and animal fish oil consists mainly of unsaturated fatty acids, which is why it is liquid. It has been proven that it is important for our he alth what is the natural state of the fat we consume.

Why are fats irreplaceable in our diet?

Fats are, among others, one of the main components of cell membranes, they enable the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, K from food and their assimilation. They ensure the proper functioning of the cells of the nervous system and brain, and protect the retina of the eye. The most valuable areEFA , i.e.essential fatty acids . The human body cannot produce them itself, so they must be provided in the food. They have remarkably pro-he alth effects, especially omega-6 and omega-3, as well as linoleic and α-linolenic acids. Fat, the one used in the kitchen and the one contained in food products, plays an important role in the preparation of dishes, it brings out, preserves and combines the flavors and aromas of individual ingredients. It is also important for the thermal treatment itself - cooking or baking - because it facilitates the transfer of heat.

When are fats harmful?

Unfortunately, fat also has qualities that earned it the label of an unhe althy product. First of all: it is the most concentrated source of energy, it provides 2 times more calories thancarbohydrates or proteins. So it is easy to "overdose" it. If we eat only a teaspoon of butter or oil more than our body needs, fat will be deposited in adipose tissue, which is an energy store. This is a unique warehouse because it is easier to fill than empty. Anyone who has struggled with excess weight knows this. But excess body fat isn't the only consequence of a diet that is too high in fat. Saturated fatty acids raise the level of cholesterol in the blood serum and increase the clumping of platelets. Thus, they accelerate the development of atherosclerotic changes in arterial vessels. They also increase the risk of certain cancers, incl. prostate, colon and breast.

Vegetable fats: oil is not equal to oil

Since unsaturated fatty acids are more abundant in vegetable oils, they are considered he althier, as long as we eat them raw, as an addition to salads and salads. You can also use them for stewing dishes and for short frying. But be careful! Even the he althiest vegetable oil when heated to a high temperature or kept on fire for a long time becomes harmful. Under the influence of temperature, unsaturated fatty acids that are beneficial to he alth transform into dangerous trans fats. That is why you cannot fry in the same oil a second time and therefore it is risky to eat French fries or meat cooked in large fryers, because they do not change the oil after each frying. For short-term frying (vegetables, poultry, fresh fish, eggs), you can use olive oil or the so-called red palm oil. The oleic acid present in these oils is less susceptible to oxidation than the omega-6 fatty acids, the main component of corn, sunflower and soybean oils. Cold-pressed rapeseed oil, due to the high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which are the most susceptible to oxidation, is better not to heat it at all.

Animal fats also have benefits

The worst is said about animal fats. First of all, because there are more saturated fatty acids in them than in vegetable. But animal fats also contain he althy unsaturated acids, as well as other compounds that are beneficial to humans. They providewakcenic acidandlinoleic acid , which include support the body's natural defenses and have anti-cancer properties. Some saturated fatty acids in butter have also been shown to have a beneficial effect on the colon epithelium. Strong antioxidants (CLA, alpha-tocopherol, coenzyme Q10 or vitamins A and D3) are also invaluable for your he alth, a lot of which is especially found in butter.

Are animal fats he althy?

See how to ask about fatsanimal expert Jacek Bilczyński answers!


What fat to fry on? Smoke temperature is decisive

So-called the smoke point is the temperature that initiates accelerated oxidation processes that change the properties of the fat. Then, compounds harmful to he alth, e.g. trans isomers, are formed. The higher the smoke point of the fat, the better it is suitable for frying. The oil reaches this state at a temperature of approx. 130 ° C. On the other hand, cold-pressed rapeseed and sunflower oils begin to smoke at 105-110 ° C. The higher smoke point is made of goose or duck fat (approx. 140 ° C), pork lard (approx. 160 ° C), and clarified butter has the highest (approx. 200 ° C).

Fresh and clarified butter

Butter mainly provides saturated fat, but also mono- and polyunsaturated fat. It contains a lot of vitamin A. Cream butter (65-73% fat) is made from sweet cream. Due to the high content of water and lactose, it has a short shelf life. May be harmful to people who are lactose intolerant. For the production of extra butter (80-85% fat), pasteurized and sour cream is used, thanks to which it is easier to digest even for the elderly and the sick. Fresh butter is best eaten raw. However, clarified butter is better for frying, baking and stewing. Clarification involves heating the butter for a long time and collecting the scum formed on its surface. Thanks to this, it becomes a pure fat, devoid of protein, lactose and other compounds. One teaspoon of clarified butter is more than 10 g of fat (approx. 8 g of saturated fatty acids and 2 g of unsaturated fatty acids).

Pork, duck and goose lard

Pork lard is best for frying meat. It can withstand high temperatures better than butter or vegetable oils, no harmful substances precipitate in it, and soaks into meat less. One teaspoon of pork lard contains 8 g of fat, of which approx. 3 g are unsaturated fatty acids. But in duck or goose fat there are more unsaturated fatty acids than saturated ones. Goose lard is extremely high in oleic acid (the same acid found in olive oil).

What is the daily fat intake?

According to the dietitians' recommendations, we should consume60-70 g of fatdaily, regardless of its origin. However, it is difficult to count how much we really eat. After all, it is present in almost all food products: meat, cold cuts, cheese, bread, vegetables and even fruit. In a well-balanced diet of such hidden fat there is approx. 30 g. Thus, for spreading bread, seasoning salads, frying and cooking, we have a total of 30-40 g.It is worth knowing that a tablespoon of oil is about 12 g of fat, a teaspoon of lard or fresh butter is 8 g of fat (clarified butter has more, almost 11 g). We can spread butter (thinly!) On bread, sprinkle lettuce with oil, and even eat scrambled eggs fried on a teaspoon of lard. Provided, however, that we are not at risk of atherosclerosis. But if we have elevated cholesterol levels, pork lard and butter must be replaced with vegetable oils and … goose lard.

This will be useful to you

How to make goose lard?

The most fat is melted from meat baked at a temperature of approx. 150 ° C (140 ° C in a hot-air oven). From a 5-6 kilogram goose we get about one kilogram of lard. Rub the goose with herbs (e.g. marjoram, thyme, rosemary) mixed with s alt and set aside for a few hours. We heat the furnace to a temperature of 150 ° C. Place the goose on the wire rack and put the pan on the pan so that the fat drips down to it. Every hour or so, we pour the fat into the vessel in which we will store it. Half an hour before the end of baking (after collecting all the fat!), Sprinkle the goose with water and increase the temperature to 180 ° C. Thanks to this, the meat will brown nicely. We will have both lard and delicious shortbread.

Good and bad fats

We associate fat negatively, so we prefer to choose products that contain as little it as possible. However, not all fat is our enemy. So how to distinguish between good and bad fats?

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