In this article we are looking at fats as a food group. For fats as a nutrient, read this article instead.
In this group belong foods with extremely high fat content. Which is: vegetable oils, lard, bacon, butter, fish oil, margarine, shortenings, etc.
For frying always use oils and fats that are stable at high temperatures and have a high smoke point. That’s because unstable fats, when used for frying break down into some very toxic components.
Hence, oils that are very healthy for consumption when raw, for example in salads, might not be best for frying.
Here you’ll find smoke point of different fats and oils. Generally, the higher the smoke point, the more stable the oil, and more suitable for frying.
Generally, for frying foods you should use only oils that have smoke point of at least 200°C (preferably, 210°C) (at least 390°F – 410°F)
Fats are also used with salad, and for salads I recommend extra virgin olive oil. When it comes to salads, smoke point is irrelevant.
You can also take fish oil as a supplement, there are good fish oil supplements which contain Omega 3. However; I don’t recommend it, better to get your Omega 3 by consuming fish sometimes.
Butter or margarine can also be spread on bread. This is not a very healthy meal, but if you must do it sometimes, I recommend the following: spreading butter on whole grain bread. I do not recommend margarines, because they are artificially produced, and often contain partially hydrogenated vegetable fats (trans fats), which are the worst and unhealthiest of all fats, even worse than saturated fats.
Foods from other groups that contain significant amounts of fats are:
a) Nuts – they contain a lot of healthy, unsaturated fats
b) Some fish – they also contain healthy fats and Omega 3
c) Meat, eggs, milk and dairy – they often contain saturated fats which are controversial, but you should know that in small quantities saturated fats can be acceptable, and people have always been consuming them.
d) Margarines, industrial cookies, and other processed foods often contain VERY unhealthy trans fats, and therefore should generally be avoided.