Understanding Fats and Oils, Once and For All: Part One

Part I: the basics, plus oils for cooking

When you hear about fats and oils in the news, it always seems like the focus is on avoiding them. Advertising trumpets “low fat” this and “fat free” that. Now, many of us are beginning to understand that not all fats are bad for us. (Our store has always understood this!) Some of us may have even heard that certain fats are good – even essential! – for us. But more than any other health-related topic, it seems, fats and oils are still a source of confusion and misinformation.

There’s a lot of complicated chemistry behind fats and oils. If you want to get into more detail with the chemistry, ask me or Carolyn, or check out Fats and Oils, by Mary Enig; Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill, by Udo Erasmus; or a biochemistry text. We have a number of these resources in our reference library.