This decade we have seen a huge shift in what the population would consider a ‘healthy diet’. Within this, we have moved away from the low-fat diets traditionally recommended by health professionals, and opted for a way of eating that is much lower in carbohydrates consumption.
This has come with the realisation that dietary fat is not actually bad for our health, and processed carbohydrates may be the true reason that we are seeing large increases in metabolic disease, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease on a national level.
With this, we have seen an abundance of recent research suggesting that an increased consumption of fat on a daily basis may actually improve various markers of health.
But this large shift has created its own questions.
Namely, what are the best sources of fats for our health? And more importantly, why are those fat sources so important?
What Are the Healthiest Fats?
The first thing that needs emphasising is the fact that not all fats are created equal.
While an increased intake of the right dietary fats has been shown to improve health, the consumption of highly processed oils (such as vegetable oil, cottonseed oil, and sunflower oil) has been shown to do the opposite.
These particular oils have undergone vigorous refining processes, in which they are treated with various chemicals to make them both usable and palatable. This results in an extremely unhealthy oil that contains absolutely zero nutritional value.
With this in mind, natural fat sources are our best options, as they have undergone minimal processing and contain an abundance of nutrients that know to impact health in a positive manner.
And three of those most popular healthy fats are, Ghee, Coconut Oil, and Butter.
Ghee is a type of concentrated butter, where all water and milk solids have been removed. This removal process serves two key purposes.
Firstly, ghee is much more stable at room temperature, and therefore much less likely to spoil. Secondly, it is a much more condensed form of fat than traditional butter. This gives it a unique nutty flavour making it excellent for cooking, while also making it a perfect option for those individuals who are lactose intolerant.
From nutritional perspective, ghee offers us with an extremely potent source of conjugated linoleic acid (or CLA for short). CLA is a specific type of polyunsaturated fat that may improve the body’s ability to breakdown fats for energy, and has therefore bees suggested to promote fat loss .
As an added bonus, ghee is extremely rich in butyric acid – a short chain fatty acid that has been shown to improve digestive health and function when consumed regularly.
Coconut oil is another popular option as it is easy to cook with, remains completely stable at room temperature, and is not required to undergo any processing before its consumption.
Coconut oil is comprised almost entirely of saturated fat (with almost 90% of the fat in coconut oil being derived from saturated sources). While this was previously viewed as a negative, recent research has suggested that saturated fat intake has no implications for any type cardiovascular disease or illness .
It is also important to note that a huge portion of the saturated fat found in coconut oil is comprised of medium chain fatty acids (or MCTs for short). These specific fats have shown strong associations with improved metabolic health, and have even been suggested to increase your resting metabolic rate – leading to an increased ability to lose weight on a daily basis .
Given its stable condition, coconut oil can replace butter and oil in almost any baking or cooking process, making it an extremely versatile option.
Butter was once considered an extremely unhealthy fat due to its high saturated fat content – something we have already discussed is completely false.
Now, butter itself is comprised of ~80% fat, with the remainder water – hence the reason it doesn’t remain as solid at room temperature as either ghee or coconut oil.
Similar to Ghee, butter does contain both CLA and Butyric acid, albeit in smaller doses. As such, its consumption does have the potential to prepare the body for fat loss, while also improving digestive health to some degree.
It is important to note that the consumption of butter (similar to both ghee and coconut oil) has also shown to improve cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors, and therefore may have some capacity to actually protect us from heart disease, diabetes, and obesity .
What Are the Different Factors of These Healthy Fats We Need to Consider?
The first thing that we need to point out is that, in terms of health benefits, both ghee and butter are very similar. Butter does contain lactose, whereas ghee doesn’t – this may have some impact on your choice depending on how well you tolerate dietary dairy.
If we were talking the Ghee VS Butter taste, ghee is slightly more potent than butter, and is also considered to have a slightly nutty flavour associated.
If we were looking at butter and ghee vs coconut oil, then we start to see some slightly larger differences.
While each have associated health benefits, coconut oil contains predominantly MCTs rather than the CLA found in ghee and butter. This means that coconut oil may have a greater impact on weight loss, as it physically speeds up metabolic rate rather than just making the body better at breaking down fats for energy.
Additionally, MCTs are also thought to have some positive effects on both mental health and age related cognitive decline – something that isn’t observed with the compounds found in either ghee or butter.
Not to say that coconut oil is a better choice by any means – it’s just that the health benefits they offer are slightly different.
It is slowly becoming common knowledge that not all fast are created equal.
Highly processed fats and oils have been suggested to have la host of negative health implications, suggesting they should be avoided at all costs. With this, there are a number of key natural sources of dietary fat that offer much better alternatives: namely, Ghee, Coconut Oil, and Butter.
Each of these fat sources can impact our health in a very positive manner, making them a fantastic option in their own right. If you have had any experiences with the fat sources outlined in this article, we would love to hear about it – so drop us a comment and we will get back to you ASAP.
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