Fats, butters and oils aren’t forbidden. Rather than completely removing healthy fats from your diet, use them sparingly.

Food for thought…

  1. What exactly is a butter substitute made with? What are some common ingredients? Do they sound like they came from the farm?
  2. Let's talk about spreads! What is a buttery spread or vegetable oil spread and what are some of the ingredients listed in them?
  3. Here’s a valuable question to ask before cooking with butters and oils: What does a high smoke point mean versus a low smoke point, and why should temperature matter when cooking with fats, oils and butters?
  4. Have you ever looked into the process of how canola, vegetable or other oils commonly referred to as “vegetable oils” are made? Are these oils highly processed?
  5. Do you think industrial chemicals or solvents are potentially toxic to ingest? Would you think twice about using canola or vegetable oil if you knew these chemicals or solvents were used in the processing of a canola or vegetable oil?
  6. Do you think a cow’s quality of life could affect the quality of butter produced with its milk?
  7. What if the animal was given hormones, antibiotics or ingested pesticides? Could that also affect the quality of butter and negatively impact your long-term health?
  8. Is fat one of the three tastes that most people develop cravings for? Could this be a reason many processed food companies add a variety of fats and oils to their foods… to increase your craving for their products?

The “No-No’s”: What should you steer clear of when it comes to healthy fats, butters and oils?

Butter

  • Avoid buttery spreads made with vegetable oils, even if it's labeled as a natural buttery spread.
  • Avoid butter substitutes such as margarine.
  • Avoid items that list hydrogenated ingredients/fats on the label.
  • Avoid items that list trans fats on the label.

Oil

  • Avoid canola oil.
  • Avoid vegetable oils: soy, corn, safflower, canola or cottonseed.
  • Avoid items that list hydrogenated ingredients/fats on the label.
  • Avoid items that list trans fats on the label.
  • Avoid refined oils.

So, what’s okay to eat when it comes to healthy fats, butters and oils?

  • Lightly salted or unsalted butter containing only the ingredients cream and salt
  • Virgin and/or unrefined oils such as coconut oil or olive oil

Some of our favorite FULLfood healthy fats, butters and oils for you to try

  • 100% grass-fed, lightly salted or unsalted butter
  • 100% cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • Unrefined, cold-pressed, 100% virgin coconut oil
  • 100% cold-pressed toasted nut and seed oils
  • Unrefined, cold-pressed, 100% pure virgin avocado oil

Cooking temperatures

These oils have a higher smoke point (temperature at which the oil starts to burn and smoke and, therefore, begins to lose flavor and nutritional value) and are stable to cook with at medium to high temperatures:

  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado oil

These butters and oils have a lower smoke point and should be used to cook with at a lower temperature:

  • Butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Toasted nut and seed oils (extremely low smoke point)

Common things to look for on the label

Butter

  • Butter with cream and salt listed as its ingredients, nothing else
  • rBST- and rBGH-free butter, this means the animal hasn’t been supplemented with particular hormones.
  • Butter from 100% grass-fed cows, if possible

Oil

  • Virgin, unrefined oils

Where to find your fats, butters and oils

  • Locally produced butter is recommended when possible. This may be found at a local farmers’ market.
  • A reputable oil and balsamic taproom is a great place to purchase oils. You can taste test and try a variety of strengths and infusions. Some of our favorite infused oils are cayenne infused, basil infused and garlic infused. Search online for local oil and balsamic taprooms. 
  • When you can’t buy local, check the labels and look into organic products.

FULLfood facts and fun

  • Healthy fats can help with the absorption of some vitamins and minerals.

Substitutions that are considered FULLfoods.

  • Applesauce with no added sugars or artificial sweeteners can be an awesome substitute for oil or butter in recipes. Users beware… this may slightly alter the consistency.
    • When we make homemade brownies, we use applesauce rather than oil or butter. They are absolutely delicious, but are slightly more dense and cake-like.
  • Plain Greek yogurt is another great alternative to cut back on oil or butter in certain recipes, such as in Zucchini Bread. Just like applesauce, yogurt may also slightly alter the consistency.

Tips and preparation

  • Oils with a low smoke point are great for cold dishes, such as cold quinoa salads.
  • Don’t worry non-coconut lovers, coconut oil doesn’t leave your food with a strong coco-nutty flavor. What’s the harm in trying?
  • Store cooking oils in a cool, dark cupboard or the refrigerator so heat and light doesn't degrade the taste and quality.

Tips when eating out

  • Avoid ordering meals or sides that are drenched in butter or oil, such as scampis.
  • Ask your server if your meal and sides can be prepared in minimal amounts of butter or oil. At first it may feel a little awkward, but soon it'll become automatic. We've made this a habit and now ask for our food to be prepared in light butter or oil every time we eat out!
  • Avoid ordering fried foods.

Action Steps

  1. Take inventory and remove all buttery spreads and butter substitutes from your refrigerator. Replace them with lightly salted or unsalted butter containing only the ingredients cream and salt.
  2. Make sure you are using cold-pressed, 100% virgin and/or unrefined oils to cook with. Refer to the list above for different options.