Fats and Oils


There is a lot of misinformation surrounding cooking oils in the mainstream medical community. Luckily there are many enlightened medical practitioners and researchers doing their bit to clear this misinformation.

Serene Nature House sets out the following clarifications:

  • Grass-Fed Ghee, Butter and Coconut Oil are good for you in small amounts and do not lead to heart disease.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Macadamia Oil and Avocado Oil are very healthy for you.
  • Consumption of oils derived from seeds, vegetables and soybeans, including, Vegetable oils, Canola oil, Sunflower and Safflower oils have been linked to serious ailments and disease and we recommend eliminating them from the diet.
  • Minimal consumption of Flaxseed oil is recommended.
  • Fresh Oily Fish (from sustainable sources) is a better alternative than Fish Oil Supplementation.
  • Margarine and similar products should be completely eliminated from the diet.
  • The consumption of Grass-Fed or Organic Lamb, Beef and Chicken is recommended.
  • The Science of Fats & Oils
  • Healthy Oils
  • Smoke Points

There are four main types of fats:

  • Saturated Fats

Because of old faulty data, mainstream medicine has been recommending oils low in cholesterol and demonising saturated fats because it was believed that dietary cholesterol led to heart disease. This could not be farther from the truth. Several recent review studies that combined data from multiple other studies, found that there really is no link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease.

Dr Stephen Sinatra (a pioneering cardiologist in this field) speaks out about this, in his book with Dr Jonny Bowden, The Great Cholesterol Myth. Dr Stephen Sinatra believes that the real cause of heart disease is chronic blood inflammation and not blood cholesterol levels.

Further Reading that provides links to studies:

Saturated Fats- Good or Bad?

8 Reasons not to Fear Saturated Fats

It Ain't the Fat People!

  • Monounsaturated Fats

Omega-9 fatty acids are from a family of monounsaturated fats that are beneficial when obtained in food. Oleic acid is the main type of omega-9 fatty acid found in olive oil, macadamia oil and avocado oil. Serene Nature House considers these oils to be the best source of monounsaturated fats.

  • Polyunsaturated Oils include:

High Omega-6 fatty acids

Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids are from the family of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and Omega-6 fatty acids play a role in the production of hormone-like messengers. As a result of western diet, we are unfortunately overdosing on omega-6 fatty acids, including Linoleic Acid and Arachidonic Acid, and this is creating a lot of dangerous health problems.

The excess Omega-6 fatty acids build up in our cell membranes and contribute to inflammation. Inflammation is an underlying factor in some of the most common western diseases and include cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis and many, many others.

Oils that are high in Omega-6 fatty acids and MUST be eliminated from the diet include:

  • Soybean oil
  • Corn oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Canola oil
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Rice Bran oil
  • Most nut oils such as Peanut oil and Walnut oil except Macadamia oil

Most of these oils are highly processed using harsh and abrasive solvents. And even where they are labelled as ‘organic’ they should be eliminated. The use of some these oils in cosmetics are safe such as safflower or sunflower oil.

Remember that the intake of omega-6 fatty acids is important in smaller quantities. This can be obtained from consuming the seeds of plants such as sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.

What about high-oleic sunflower and safflower oils?

High oleic sunflower and safflower oils are made from new varieties of hybrid plants, grown through radiation and toxic chemicals, which concentrate omega-9 fatty acids and deplete the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. These are not natural varieties and Serene Nature House does not recommend consumption.

Further Reading:

Are Vegetable and Seeds Oils Bad?

Optimize your Omega-6 Omega-3 ratio

High Plant Omega-3 fatty acids

Recent Studies demonstrate that the plant form of Omega-3, Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA), is not efficiently converted to its active forms that are effectively used by the body; EPA acid- Eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA acid- Docosahexaenoic acid. Increased levels of ALA in the body can have very serious effects on the body including impact on eyesight and increased risk of prostrate cancer. This is really bad news!

Unfortunately flaxseed oil has a very high proportion of ALA that is not easily converted in the body to EPA and DHA. Serene Nature House recommends that flaxseed oil consumption should be minimised.

High Animal Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Oily fish are a very rich source of EPA’s and DHA’s, available omega-3 fatty acids. As a result an entire industry has been built on delivering fish oil through supplementation. There is a lot of conflicting data out there on the consumption of fish oil supplements.

It is important to keep the following two points in mind:

Research has confirmed that most fish oils are extremely fragile and easily damaged by oxygen. Oxidised products in fish oils may have potential carcinogenic and pro-inflammatory actions.

Recent research on fish oil supplements indicates that synthetically manufactured versions of omega-3 fatty acids do not produce the same beneficial effects that natural omega-3 fatty acids do.

Please consult with a health professional to ascertain whether taking fish oil supplementation is necessary for your needs. Serene Nature House is proud to supply sustainably farmed salmon (October to February), trout (all year) and caviar from the Yarra Valley Caviar Farm. These fish provide a direct and fresh source of Omega-3 fatty acids. We also recommend taking your family to the Rainbow Trout Farm in Macclesfield, a close acquaculture farm, where you can catch your own trout and Atlantic Salmon.

  • Trans-Fats

The largest amount of trans-fat consumed today is created artificially by the processed food industry as a side effect of partially hydrogenating polyunsaturated oils (generally vegetable oils with high omega-6 fatty acid profiles). The process of hydrogenation turns liquid fats and oils into solid forms, this includes margarines. As highlighted above, studies have shown the link between artificial trans-fats consumption and increased risk heart disease.

Another type of trans-fat naturally occurs in the milk and body fat of ruminants. Studies have shown that animals that are fed on grain and are treated badly have more omega-6 fatty acids which may promote heart disease, than wild animals and grass-fed livestock, that have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

Further Reading:

Butter vs Margarine

Grass Fed v Grain Fed

Serene Nature House is proud to supply the following healthy oils:

  • Our Scrumptious Grass-Fed Core Organic Ghee

Ghee is made from butter but the milk solids and impurities have been removed so most people who are lactose or casein intolerant have no issue with ghee.

Our Core Organic Ghee is made from certified organic butter of happy grass-fed cows. It is exquisite, fluffy, yellow, smells amazing and does not taste or look like the highly processed goo packaged in tinned cans that most people, unfortunately, associate with ghee!

Just try it, and you will become hooked!

  • Our Range of Lovely Coconut Oils

Melrose Refined Coconut Oil which is safe for frying

Oil4Life Virgin Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood.” Its unique combination of fatty acids can have profound positive effects on health. This includes fat loss, better brain function and various other amazing benefits.

Melrose Health Products, based in Melbourne, has produced a refined coconut oil safe for frying. Their acute understanding of coconut oil has meant that they have been able produce, without harsh chemicals or hydrogenation, refined coconut oil safe for frying.

Oil4Life, based in Queensland, has produced exquisite virgin coconut oil that is packaged in glass jars!

Further Reading:

10 Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

  • Our Range of Amazing Olive Oils

Exquisite Organic Mount Zero Australian Olive Oil

Authentic Organic Italian Olio e Pane Olive Oil

The best type of olive oil is extra virgin olive oil. It is extracted using natural methods and standardized for purity and certain sensory qualities like taste and smell.

Olive oil that is truly extra virgin has a distinctive taste and is high in phenolic antioxidants, the main reason why (real) olive oil is so beneficial.

Then we have regular, refined or “light” olive oils, which have often been extracted with solvents, treated with heat or even diluted with cheaper oils like soybean and canola oils.

For this reason, the only type Serene Nature House recommends is extra virgin olive oil.

Mount Zero olive oils have been produced using the highest standards of biodynamic farming. They are exquisite, delicious and packaged to protect them from damage!

Further Reading:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Our Delicious Pressed Purity Macadamia Oil

Macadamia oil owes its stability mostly to its extremely low omega-6 fatty acid content (the lowest of all traditional cooking oils, next to coconut oil), high monounsaturated fatty acid content and a decent portion of saturated fat.

Macadamia oil also contains varying amounts of antioxidants which appear to confer some antioxidative support.

Further Reading:

Benefits of Macadamia Oil

  • Our Delicious Melrose Organic Avocado Oil

The composition of avocado oil is similar to olive oil. It is primarily monounsaturated, with some saturated and polyunsaturated mixed in.

Further Reading:

Benefits of Avocado Oil

  • Our Delicious 180 Acres Organic Butter

Butter was also demonised in the past due to its saturated fat content. But there really is no reason to fear real butter. It’s the processed margarine that is the truly awful stuff.

Real butter is good for you and actually fairly nutritious. It contains Vitamins A, E and K2. It is also rich in the fatty acids Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) and Butyrate, both of which have powerful health benefits.

CLA may lower body fat percentage in humans and butyrate can fight inflammation, improve gut health and has been shown to make rats completely resistant to becoming obese

Further Reading:

Grass Fed Butter

Healthy oils should be used correctly with a proper understanding of their smoke points.

In cooking, the smoke point of an oil or fat is the temperature at which, under defined conditions, enough volatile compounds emerge resulting in a visible gaseous vapour. Many people mistake this vapour for normal heat.

Knowing the smoke point of oil is important because heating oil to the point where the oil begins to smoke produces harmful substances.

Serene Nature House cautions against deep-frying, however, stir-frying, baking and steaming are safe.

Serene Nature House’s preference is the use of AMC Cookware that is a system designed to ensure the following two things:

  • Food is cooked without the addition of oils or fats and the use of minimal water, and
  • Food is cooked at a temperature below 100 Degrees Celsius to maximise the nutritional content of the food.

It is important to remember that higher cooking temperatures can create reactions that may produce dangerous compounds that can damage our DNA. Problems start from temperatures above 100 Degrees Celsius.

Further Reading:

All about cooking carcinogens

It is important to remember how easy it is to go higher than 100 degrees Celsius in cooking.

Stovetop temperatures are as follows:

  • Low Heat (107°C- 120°C)
  • Low to Medium Heat (121°C- 161°C)
  • Medium Heat (162°C- 189°C)
  • Medium to High Heat (190°C- 231°C)
  • High Heat (232°C- 280°C)

If you wish to fry your foods at temperatures higher than 100 degrees Celsius, then it is important to factor in the smoke points of healthy oils so health issues are not exacerbated.

People have been erroneously advised (by credible organisations) that it is safe to fry and bake in Extra Virgin OIive Oil and Extra Virgin and Virgin Coconut Oil. While these oils are healthy, their smoke points are variable and are not high. For this reason, they should only be consumed cold or in low to medium heat cooking (including sautéing, stir-frying and low-heat baking).

Smoke Points of Healthy Cooking Oils and Fats recommended by Serene Nature House:

Cooking Oils / Fats

Smoke Point °C

Safe Use

Butter

121°C- 149°C

Only use cold or for low heat baking

Coconut Oil (Virgin and Extra-Virgin)

177°C

Only use cold or for low heat baking

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (smoke points increase for low acidity oils)

191°C- 207°C

Because of variation, only use cold or low to medium heat frying or baking

Unrefined Avocado Oil

190°C- 204°C

Because of variation, only use cold or low to medium heat frying or baking

Unrefined Macadamia Oil

210°C

Only use cold or low to medium heat frying or baking

Refined Coconut Oil (processed without harsh chemicals and hydrogenation)

232°C

Safe for medium to high heat frying or baking

Ghee (clarified butter)

252°C

Safe for all frying and baking