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I have read that Olive oil should be our oil of choice, but have also read that the benefits no longer exist if the oil is used in cooking, because they become hydrogenated or tans fat. So, what would be the best choice of oils to use in cooking? Staff and parents have asked me this and I am having a hard time finding the answer. Thank-you

It is true that there are different kinds of fats/oils, and knowing the difference can be beneficial to your health.  Some fats can be bad for the heart (e.g. saturated and trans fats—also known as hydrogenated fats), and some may have protective benefits (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats).  Olive oil is a monounsaturated, or “good” fat, and would be a preferable choice in cooking versus saturated fat.  Monounsaturated fats have been studied for their role in helping to lower blood cholesterol when they replace saturated or trans fats in the diet.

 Don’t worry about olive oil “becoming” hydrogenated during cooking; hydrogenation doesn’t occur that way.   Hydrogenation is a chemical process by which hydrogen is actually added to a liquid fat.  This alters the chemical make-up of that fat and changes its texture, making it more solid (saturated).  Hydrogenation extends the shelf life of fat.  Trans fats are formed during this process.  

Be aware that even though some fats are considered “good”, they still contain the same amount of calories per gram as all the other fats.  Calories count, so make good, healthy choices when you can.   And, of course, be sure to include a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables in your meals and snacks too!  They’re delicious, low in calorie and available in many forms:  fresh, frozen, dried and 100% juice.  Check out our website for quick, healthy recipes and tips!

 

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