Yes, there is such a thing as healthy fat!

There’s a misconception that all fat is bad. In fact, what are known as “essential fats” really are essential – they are, indeed, healthy fat. Their benefits include speeding up your metabolism, strengthening your immune system and helping your body fight degenerative disease.

Don’t avoid these foods because they’re “fattening”. They are healthy, real foods, full of nutrients. Processed fats, on the other hand, offer your body no nutritional value and many low-fat products are actually much higher in sugar than the full-fat alternatives.

Healthy fat – the Goodies

• Oils found in avocado, nuts, seeds, eggs and oily fish.

• Extra virgin olive oil (must be cold pressed i.e. not heated during production, which kills its nutrients).

• Coconut oil is an incredibly nourishing oil and its nutritional value is unaffected by being cooked at high temperatures.

• Other great oils are cold pressed rapeseed oil and hemp oil.

The Baddies

• All the fats in processed foods, pastries and cakes.

• Hydrogenated fats, also known as trans-fats, which are very highly processed and a threat to your health (their carcinogenic effect is well documented).

How to use healthy fat

• Extra virgin, cold pressed olive, rapeseed, or hemp oils are best used cold – drizzled on salads, bread, pasta, or vegetables. They are not ideal for cooking – when you heat them, you destroy their taste and most of their health benefits. Buy the best you can afford, looking for a dark coloured bottle (so light doesn’t damage the oil).

• Coconut oil is the healthiest cooking oil, brilliant for pan frying or stir-fries. It’s not compromised when heated to high temperatures and doesn’t make food taste ‘coconutty’. You can also dollop it in a smoothie, spread it on toast, or use it as moisturiser.

95 thoughts on “Yes, there is such a thing as healthy fat!”

  1. I have been at slimming world for 2 years and the one thing I disagreed with was the attitude towards fats.. I myself with a background in health visiting had a good foundation in nutrition. I knew that my diet was “good”. But I toed the party line. To my shock when I had my middle years health check up they found I had low LDL and HDL., this was a a result of chronic dieting. I was told to introduce all the healthy oils into my diet to increase my improve my HDL ( good chloesterol). I realised that I’d been brainwashed. One of my friends hair didn’t grow for 1 year, the hairdresser was shocked by the condition of it. One issue SW never addressed and I said was there biggest downfall was the psychologically behind weight gain. Thanks to you in three weeks I feel free and I have a more balanced outlook.

      1. Thanks so much for the advice about using coconut oil, I didn’t know you could cook with it! I’m off out now to buy some. I can’t thank slim pod enough….no longer drink diet coke all day, not wanted cake or chocolate, which was unheard of for me. Best thing to come into my life…I WILL be slim for Summer, thank you. Oh I also have a large jar of mixed nuts which are sprinkled on yogurt or breakfast. Delicious.

    1. I am totally with you !! I wanted to do slimming world but that part I know isn’t the best ! I thought maybe I would use my syns for higher fat options and use the principles of SW as a guide . I think that would be a better diet long term .

  2. Great comments. I read another article recently by another well known Slimming Guru – won’t mention – who says basically “Don’t eat fats, no avocado (too fattening), no nuts etc etc”. It’s refreshing to read from you what I’ve always believed. I have half an avocado 4/5 days each week so now I don’t need to feel guilty. I don’t eat any meat so I’ve always reckoned that counteracts the fat in my avocado and olive oil. Having said that I am still trying to lose weight, so I can’t be too complacent. I’m pleased about the coconut oil as my son has just been diagnosed with an allergy to Olive.

  3. It’s good to know about coconut oil, I have always avoided it as I didn’t want my food to taste of coconut – now I know that it wont do that I will give it a try…. Always used to use it on my hair when I was younger – gave a lovely soft feel and shiny

  4. Hi. I realise that coconut oil is plant based, but I had been told that it was a saturated fat, and therefore unhealthy.

    1. It is a saturated fat and I’ve been told to avoid it because of high cholesterol. Rapeseed oil is the healthiest for me apparently.

  5. Love making shrimp tacos by stir frying shrimp, onions and garlic in coconut oil. Add lime to flavor and red pepper flakes. Serve in whole-wheat tortilla (only processed item but I look for tortillas with a highest fiber) with cabbage, tomato, avocado (ever had an avocado fresh from your neighbor’s tree?) and homemade salsa. Yum. You can also substitute a fairly non flaky fish of your choice for shrimp if your cholesterol is s concern.

  6. Bernie moughan

    Will give coconut oil a try I thought it may taste the food! I’m also surprised at the olive oil I’ve used for years thinking it was healthy option didn’t know about the heating up business thanks

  7. I don’t like coconut so I’m worried coconut oil will taste of coconut. I’m also not good with nuts. They make me wheezy. I do eat oily fish and eggs and love olive oil. Finding all these tips very helpful. Thank you

  8. Very interesting and useful, thanks. I was told not to use coconut oil because of it being high in saturated fats. I bought a jar of it a while ago and haven’t used it yet – think I will crack it open when I next do some cooking.

  9. I agree. I use both olive oul and coconut oil already however, I do use butter rather than all the fancy spreads. Is this a bad thing

  10. Has anyone tried Frylight coconut oil spray? I’m thinking of giving it ago as I like my stirfrys & oil is so calorific.

  11. Thank you for info on oils. I have used Organic Hemp Oil when cooking for some time not knowing that it is only best when used cold. I will go back to using Coconut Oil.

  12. Never used coconut oil. That will go on my shopping list for next time. Thank you for all your nuggets and nudges!! Please keep them coming. Helen.

  13. Susan Mackenzie

    I’ve always avoided coconut oil cos thought it would make food taste coconut.. go me and another change .

  14. Really interesting information.
    I already use the ones mentioned that are good for us but I didn’t realise there are sugars in processed fats! Not that I use them but I did for some years.
    Thank you for sharing this great information.

  15. I have always used extra virgin oil, admittedly heated in a frying pan with an egg – never tried it on salad

    Coconut oil – never knew this was a healthy oil. I shall be purchasing a bottle

  16. What about butter and cheese. As a vegetarian I would find it difficult to give up cheese altogether and I know that animal fats contain some nutrients not found in plant-based fats? Can I still use butter and cheese or should I avoid them altogether?

  17. Thank you Sandra. I am not a vegan, but recently attended a vegan cookery demonstration. The oil used was cold pressed rapeseed oil. I have been using this, and also coconut oil, for cooking ever since. I also use coconut oil for cracked lips; exfoliating with a mixture of sugar and coconut oil when they are really dry works wonders, then applying a layer of the oil several times a day.

  18. Louise Goldsmith

    This is very useful information . I have just listened to the topic of ‘fats ‘ on my nutrition course and this has summarized it nicely Thankyou !
    I would like some guidance on portions of these fats that would help to manage or lose weight as I am used to cereal for breakfast say …. but replacing with full fat natural yoghurt , nuts seeds and maybe a chopped apple , does add quite a few more calories ?
    I’m really interested in this as a sugar holic as desperately need to change this ! I have already had cancer and understand that a high inflammatory body … such as too much sugar , could contribute to the change of healthy cells .
    Thank you so much . I am literally loving the Slimpod !

  19. Very helpful. I will buy coconut oil to cook with and I will buy coldpressed olive oil. I always used to buy low fat yogurts but now get full fat low sugar plain. Thank you

  20. Brilliant advice and very helpful. I didn’t realise olive oil is not great for cooking. I also use coconut oil on my hair!! I rub it through the ends of my hair and wrap my hair in a towel for an hour. Then I just wash and condition as usual….. leaves your hair lovely and soft!

  21. Alison Stevenson

    Good info there…didn’t know about coconut oil being a good choice will have to start using in my stirfrys…thank for this

  22. Beverley Jane Hope

    What about the additional brain health benefits of coconut oil. I love the flavour on everything I bake. Pumpkin baked with coconut oil. Yum!

  23. Caroline Chittleburgh

    As a vegan used to using coconut oil and it does not make food taste of coconut. Pleased to see Slimpod agrees good fats are necessary

  24. I find these sort of hints and tips really useful after being brainwashed for so many years from other well known slimming clubs! Thank you. X

  25. I love coconut oil and use it in so many ways. I wasn’t aware that extra virgin oil should be kept in a darkened bottle/jar so will no longer decant my oil from it’s darker bottle, into my pretty dispensers that I keep on my island. Shame! I knew all about good and bad fats but am surprised you didn’t say anything about butter. I hate margarine so would always choose butter and never use low-fat anything. So what is your outlook on pure butter please?

    1. Butter is like most things – fine in moderation! It’s rich in nutrients and beneficial compounds which have been linked to a reduced risk of obesity, diabetes and heart problems. However, butter is high in calories and saturated fat so stick to small doses.

  26. I forgot, Organic, virgin cold pressed coconut oil (found in a glass jar) is also great for cleaning your teeth (just swill a tsp around your mouth, leave for a moment and then spit out). It slowly helps to whiten one’s teeth over a while and I’m told it’s also good for mouth infections.

  27. I am amazed at the difference in my mindset about food and the results it brings with it. For the first time in all my adult years I have no anxiety around food fully confident that I have changed my way of thinking in a whole variety of things in my life. Thank you Sandra colleagues and Slimpod

  28. I never knew about th e coconut oil it sounds amazing. I have been using the extra virgin olive oil to fry but never knew about cold pressed. I will but both and try them. I eat a lot of salads so am keen to try the olive oil on them instead of a shop bought salad dressing. Thank you so muc.

  29. I was already making these food choices when I started using Slimpod. It is good however to be reminded to actually add certain foods as opposed to just being aware of the benefits. I do have some health problems and although I have been moving more around the house I still need to work on adding in extra exercise. I like that my food choices are now becoming a normal pattern of eating without having to think too much about it. I am confident that when the desire to exercise more kicks in I will again feel the benefits.

  30. Thankyou that was very helpful information. I love cashew nuts and was always told can’t have them because of the fat in them. I now buy them and enjoy eating them no guilt complex .

  31. Sound advice! I have reduced the amount of vegetable oil I use in cooking since I started slimpod. I will change the oils I use to healthier ones. N
    I’m embracing all the advice given on Slimpod. I can’t believe how much better I feel and I’ve only been doing it forv3 weeks.

  32. Thank you for the information. I love Nuts so it’s reassuring I ‘m eating the right things. Also the advice about oils very helpful.

  33. I use and eat most of those oils mentioned
    I used to cook in coconut oil
    When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes I went to a help class and was told I had been wrong to use coconut oil
    I would like to think they are wrong for telling me that and get some reassurance that it’s ok to start using it
    I usually cook with olive oil

    1. Some evidence suggests coconut oil can reduce the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. One study found that a diet rich with medium-chain fatty acids, such as coconut oil, could help prevent obesity and fight insulin resistance — both of which lead to type 2 diabetes. Coconut oil does have its pluses, but it’s still a saturated fat. So if eaten in excess, the oil could increase your risk for heart disease. The answer, as always, is moderation in all things.

  34. Good to know I always thought coconut oil was good for you but stopped using it when I started sw will be going out to buy some again now.

  35. That’s really interesting and helpful info, thank you. I’ve used Extra Virgin Olive Oil for cooking for years and have unused cold pressed Coconut Oil in the cupboard so will do a swap having now learned it won’t leave a coconut flavour! I wouldn’t have thought of using it on toast or in a smoothie. I already eat oily fish weekly and will also up my nut intake and check out other cold pressed oils and uses.

  36. Very informative like the way you concentrate on what’s good for you.
    Lightbulb moment today. I’ve had little nudges (which sadly I didn’t always follow) but today I followed the nudge without even thinking about it!

  37. Sheila Harris

    Thanks, very useful. What about using butter, especially for baking instead of marg.? Is it an acceptable fat to use melted in y sourdough bread and savory sugar free cakes??

  38. We only used extra virgin olive oil but have been introducing coconut oil a lot more recently. Its good to know I’m doing something right!!

  39. I have been using coconut oil to cook with for a long time now and it makes such a difference to the taste if food – it brings out the flavour! To know that it’s better for you as well is bonus

  40. I’m so confused by fats. I’ve thrown out cooking oil and use either butter or lard if I need to roast something. I don’t fry foods except eggs very occasionally. Is it ok to use lard. I’m sure I heard Liz Earle say she uses it on that chat with Andrew Jenkins the bariatric surgeon?

    1. The experts at Nuffield Health advise: Butter, lard, tallow and coconut oil are all saturated fats, which are solid at room temperature. The chemical structure of saturated fat has each carbon molecule linked or ‘saturated’ with hydrogen, so when this fat is heated the molecules remain stable. This means they won’t become oxidised or rancid with heat. So saturated fats are the best for cooking at temperatures over 180℃.

      Recent research shows that saturated fats are not making the contribution towards heart disease once thought, they say.

  41. I understand animal fats are actually good for you and don’t make you fat, unlike carbs!
    Why have you not mentioned these?

    1. It’s certainly true that man-made hydrogenated fats are full of trans fat, which is difficult for the body to break down – so instead it is stored as body fat. Animal fat in small quantities is healthier than man-made fat (and won’t increase your weight like processed carbs can) but medical science is divided on whether too much of it can cause problems for our systems.

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About Sandra
Founder of Thinking Slimmer
Food addiction expert
Member of All-Party Parliamentary Obesity Group
Huffington Post contributor
DipCHyp HPD NLP MasterPrac
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