Mar 26, 2013

Guest Post - by Bridget Sandorford

Healthy Fat Substitutions

Though we all feared fat for years, believing it to be the cause of our own growing fat, new research and trends in diets have shown that healthy fats are actually quite necessary for a healthy diet -- and even for a trimmer waistline. Instead of trying to find ways to make recipes have fewer fats in them, by substituting items such as applesauce or black beans for the butter and eggs in the recipes, we should be focusing instead on how to replace unhealthy fats with healthy ones.

Some unhealthy fat choices include:
  • Margarine
  • Vegetable oil
  • Palm kernel oil
  • Canola oil
These oils have unhealthy fats like trans fats and saturated fats, and they are low in nutrients. They are also highly processed.
You can make a recipe healthier by choosing some of these quality fat alternatives instead:

Coconut Oil
Coconut oil had a bad rap for a long time because it's a saturated fat. However, unlike other saturated fats, coconut oil has medium-chain fatty acids, which have been shown to help you increase your metabolism and burn more calories. Coconut oil has also been shown to lower your cholesterol and to fight off infection and illness.
Coconut oil is solid at room temperature. You can use it like butter in recipes, or you can heat it to use it like oil in recipes. You may notice a slight coconuty flavor, but for the most part, you won't notice a change in taste.

Avocado is loaded with nutritional benefits, such as high levels of beta carotene and Vitamins A, D, and E. It also has high amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are good for your heart health and can help to reduce your risk of cancer.
Avocado is a great addition to salads, sandwiches and stir fries. If you want to cook or bake with it, you will need to experiment with substitutions. You can even buy avocado oil that can be used in place of other oils when cooking.

Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseeds are a valuable source of fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids, which contribute to heart health and can improve your metabolism. The oil doesn't have the fiber, but it does have the other nutritional benefits.
You can use flaxseed oil as a 1-to-1 replacement in just about any recipe. The dish may take on a darker color and have a more distinct flavor. Experiment to find what works best for you.

Hemp Oil
Hemp oil has a slightly nutty and smoky flavor that is delicious. It's also loaded with nutrients, such as linoleic acid and other essential fatty acids, which can lower the risk of heart problems. Like with flaxseed oil, you can use hemp oil 1-to-1 in recipes, but you may notice a difference in the flavor. As always, experiment to find what works best for your preferences.
Finding ways to reduce fat in dishes isn't always the best way to make a dish more healthy. In many cases, you simply need to choose healthier fats. These oils are great choices for making over a dish to provide more health benefits.

About the Author:
Bridget Sandorford is a freelance food and culinary writer, where recently she’s been researching Louisiana culinary schools. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook.

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