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oil vs butter vs clarified butter

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm sure it was asked before, but I am more concerned about how healthy these products are.

What is best to for cooking and for prevention of heart diseases, oil, butter or clarified butter?
There are many vegetable oils, I don't know which is healthier, but let's say Canola or Soy oil.
post #2 of 17
I am not a scientist, but I believe that almost nothing you eat will prevent heart disease. The best one can do is minimize the chances of developing it, and of making it worse if you have it. Besides, some people are predisposed to high cholesterol and other problems (like my husband) and some are not (like me); remember that the body manufactures cholesterol and nothing can prevent that.

I believe that the key is moderation. Almost all cooking fats have their place -- at least those that impart a distinct flavor or have useful cooking properties do -- but none should be used to excess. So I choose my cooking fat based on what I want it to do or what flavor I want it to give the dish, and try to use the minimum amount necessary.

I firmly believe that the more real flavor our food has, the LESS likely we are to overeat. So anything we can do to bring out the inherent flavor of our food, the better. Of course, this requires starting with flavorful vegetables, meats, fish, etc. and treating them with respect. That is the hard part, but worth the effort!

So I will saute in olive oil, or clarified butter, or duck fat (Yup, that is actually one of the healthier animal fats, as well as one of the tastiest! :lips: ), or canola, depending on the heat I'm using and the flavor I want. I have even been known to use rendered beef and lamb fats, and lard, if I want that flavor :eek:. BUT then I defat the finished dish (especially stews and braises) before serving it.

And even though my husband shrieks when he sees the container in the fridge, I may even add a smidge of cream to a dish if it will bump up the flavor. You know, he stops complaining when he tastes the (moderate size) portion I give him. :D

BTW: I just saw a demo and picked up some literature on avocado oil, and it shows promise: a pleasant, mild flavor; lots of good fats, and the highest smoke point of all oils (more than 500 degrees F). Might be worth following up.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #3 of 17
The best advice is to use real foods, not fake ones. By this, I mean use butter, not margarine. I posted on a thread somewhere my experience with this. You can search the discussions to find it, I'm sure. Be careful about the heat capacity of certain oils... don't heat them to the smoking point.
post #4 of 17
I agree about the bits recommending moderation of everything and using real foods. And its not just food, its also a question of lifestyle, and even genetics. My husband's grandmother lived until the ripe old age of 92. She lived in Germany, where a lot of traditional food can be quite heavy and fattening (cheese, sausage, meats fried in animal fat, etc.). That woman ate all that stuff and smoked Marlboro Reds her entire life, but had no serious health problems. She didn't snack, and didn't exercise as far as I know, but life was different for her than it is for us today. Her sister is 104 this year, and just starting to slow down, though she still looks like she's only 80. Inexplicable....
post #5 of 17
Technically, clarified butter is healthier than regular butter because the water and milk solids have been removed, leaving just the oil. "What is left is clear pure fat that can be heated to high temperatures without destroying its natural qualities. Ghee provides essential fatty acids (fats that cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained from food). Ghee is the most easily digestible fat, and it contains Vitamin A and E and acts as an antioxidant."

It is difficult to say if "oil" is healthier than "butter" because it really depends on the oil you are referring to, what it is made out of, and how it was processed. The above advice is correct. The more natural a fat it, the healthier it is for you, avoid synthetic fats unless you do a lot of research.

Vegetable oil will be healthier than animal oil however you need to keep in mind that most of the corn and soybeans grown today are genetically modified which I personally do my best to avoid by growing my own produce and by not using corn oil or vegetable oil (which is made from soybeans), buying organic, etc.

Extra virgin olive oil will be healthiest because it is the oil is pressed from the olives without heat or unnatural processing. Olive oil in general will be healthier than other vegetable oils. But olive oil should not be heated to high temps and should be reserved for dressings, finishing, and sautéing.

Clarified butter, or ghee can be heated to high temps just as peanut oil and lard. You need to learn the range of fats available and what they can be used for. Coconut oil is an underutilized, natural fat.

Everyone is different. Health is a combination of genetics, lifestyle, diet, physical, emotional, and spiritual (but not necessarily religious) aspects which come together for each person in dynamic ways.

As expressed above, make educated decisions and use fats in moderation along with exercise. Our bodies need fat, we just don't need much of it. The easiest exercise is to literally just walk 30 minutes a day if you do nothing else.
post #6 of 17
Olive oil is the best thing, out of what you said, but do stay away from 'fake' things, use butter, but good butter.

Olive oil, or if you are just using it so it wont stick... then use Pam
post #7 of 17
Pam is fake and not exactly healthy.
post #8 of 17
Am I the only one who thinks canola oil smells fishy- especially when you saute or fry with it?? :(
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post #9 of 17
No, there are at least two of us.

Tony
post #10 of 17
I don't, but I know other people who do. So Mezz and Tony, you're not the weirdos you thought you were. :lol:
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #11 of 17
who cares..make it taste good..its food.u die when u die
post #12 of 17
I tried to post this a while back, but I always have trouble posting. I never, under any circumstances use canola oil. It is a genetically engineered product that is not good for anything. Even the name is fake. The name is a combination of Canada and oil. Canola is derived from rape seed. In its natural form it is poisonous. The fumes given off from it during cooking can cause serious lung damage. It is rumored that the Canadian government paid a large amount of money to have the FDA approve this product for human consumption. If you're worried about cholesterol, use another product. I believe the whole cholesterol issue is overblown anyway. Coronary heart disease was unheard of in this country until the 1920s when margarine (trans fats) was introduced. Until that time, people cooked with butter, lard, and (horrors!) coconut oil. I have always been told that coconut oil is lethal, but lately the organic and health foods factions have been touting coconut oil. I have often wondered how bad it can really be as people in the Carribbean and Asia cook with coconut milk all the time. It is not uncommon for the Carribbean people to live well over a hundred years. I asked a friend of mine from Jamaica what he thought about it. His grandmother at the time was 114 and still living on her own. He thought if there was a problem with coconut oil, it was probably a result of the extraction process. I use soy bean oil in the deep fryer, but I'm not a fan of it. I still prefer a solid, animal based product, but it's almost impossible to find because everyone has switched to soy and canola oil. I'm not sure we're doing anyone any favors with it, but I definitely will not use canola for anything.
post #13 of 17
Greyeaglem, I thought I'd heard that before about canola oil, so I looked it up on Snopes.com. This site is dedicated to confirming or rejecting urban myths. Take a look at what they had to say: http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/canola.asp

Basically, the myth is based on partially correct information and has been rejected.

I use Snopes to check on all those forwarded e-mails I get about kidnapped children (usually hoaxes), miraculous products and "gotta have it" medical tests.
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post #14 of 17

oil vs butter

no three of us and the food cookedin it gets a fishy smell and taste
post #15 of 17
Aren't tomatoes also poisonous in their natural form... nightshades and all. We've genetically modified them to be able to eat them.
post #16 of 17
Careful now. :) Just because a plant belongs to the same family as others that are have poisonous parts, that doesn't mean it is poisonous itself. In Anatomy of a Dish, Diane Forley says this about Solanaceae:
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #17 of 17
That's the point, Suzanne. :)
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