Fats and oils have had a rough time over the last few decades. Butter was banished during the late 70’s and 80’s to be replaced by so called ‘healthy’ margarines which we now know are essentially plastic and not healthy at all.
So which are the best fats and oils for cooking with?
Well, a lot of this depends on the temperature of the cooking. High temperatures alter the chemical bonds in oils and fats, changing their structure and the way they are absorbed and utilised by our bodies. Polyunsaturated fats like vegetable and seed oils (with the exception of olive oil which is richer in monounsaturated fats) are particularly prone to this damage and are best used for salad dressings or drizzling over cooked foods rather than cooking with. Personally I think oilve oil is best used this way too as you preserve the lovely taste of it though it is slightly more stable than polyunsaturated oils so can be used for very light, lower temperature frying.
For higher temperature stir frying and roasting, saturated fats like organic ghee and coconut oil are the best bet. Solid at room temperature, these fats retain their chemical structure when exposed to high temperatures and are metabolised well by our digestion. Ghee is clarified milk fat, with virtually no milk proteins or lactose remaining. You can make your own ghee at home from organic unsalted butter but if you are concerned about cholesterol or prefer a vegan cooking fat, opt for the coconut oil or coconut butter as both are completely cholesterol free.