Whole Foods: Fats, Oils, & Salts

Hey guys, as I mentioned last week, I’m going to share what I learn in my Whole Foods Production class with you all since I think it’s pretty basic information that everyone should know! Plus, reviewing it on here will help me should the teacher give a pop quiz. ~.^ I hope you all enjoy it!


Fats are essential for cooking. They:

  • transfer heat (make cooking faster)
  • carry flavor
  • enhance texture

They are also essential for our bodies.

  • Physiological (all our cell membranes our made out of fat)
  • Fat-soluble vitamins: A,D,E,K
  • Slow down digestion keeping us fuller longer
  • Omega-3’s increase our metabolic rate


(Image from Google Images)

We often choose fats based on one or more of the following:

  1. Inflammatory/Anti-Inflammatory
    • Omega 3 vs Omega 6
    • Need balance!
  2. Saturation
    • Saturated: says solid at room temperature; lard, butter, coconut oil
    • Monounsaturated: liquid at room temperature; solid in refrigerator; olive oil, unrefined sesame oil
    • Polyunsaturated: always liquid; vegetable oils, seed oils, canola; prone to oxidation which puts free radicals in your body.
    • Trans: margarine; gives long shelf-life
      • Hydrogenation creates trans fats and I’m sure we all know how bad they are for us now. Linked to heart disease and cancer.
      • Anything like “partial hydrogenated” on the label means there is some trans fat even if the label reads 0%.
  3. Wholeness
    • Natural whole food
    • Natural partial food (such as olive oil)
    • Laboratory sources


  • Excellent source of anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids.
  • Rich in minerals and fat-soluble vitamins, folacin, magnesium, and potassium
  • Best if purchased in the shell and raw.
    • Pre-roasted nuts are often cooked for too long in the factories and thus the healthy oils are destroyed.
    • Roast yourself to make them more easily digestible.
  • Store in a cold dark place to avoid oxidation.


Extraction Types

  1. Solvent
    • Most common
    • Uses chemical hexane (which will not be stated on the label) to get 100% of the oil from the seed.
    • Supposedly the hexane evaporates off but there are no standards to check for this.
  2. Expeller Pressing
    • Chemical-free mechanical process
    • The temperature reached while pressing depends on the hardness of the nut.
    • Yields about 50-70% of the oil
  3. Cold Pressing
    • Controlled temperature throughout pressing
    • No legal standards but mostly below 120 F
    • Flavor, aroma and nutrients are present in good cold-pressed oil, although unless it is a monounsaturated oil (like olive oil) it will be very vulnerable to heat, light and oxygen.


(Image from Google Images)

After Extraction

  • Unrefined
    • Strained and filtered
    • No bleach or deodorizers
    • Tend to have a darker color and retain some of the aroma and flavor of their origin.
    • Very fragile!
  • Refined
    • Centrifuged to filter
    • Treated with chemicals
    • Filtered again and steam deodorized  (really high temperatures that can destroy the oils)
    • Bleached with charcoal or clay
    • Filtered again
    • Synthetic anti-oxidants are sometimes added to extend shelf-life
    • This process has a significant affect on the quality of the oil. The result is a pale, odorless and tasteless oil that can withstand higher temperatures.

How do you tell what type of oil you have if there is no mention on the label? Well refined oils are pale in color and fairly odorless and tasteless.

Interesting fact about canola oil: it’s actually rapeseed oil that is natural toxic so it has to be genetically modified to be consumed. Gross!

Which Oil to Use?

The right fat for the right job of course! ^_^

The smoke point refers to the temperature at which cooking fat/oil begins to break down into free radicals! Free radicals are not what you want to consume! Here’s a decent smoke point guide.

Avoid Oxidation!

Exposure to heat, light, and air oxidizes and turns fats rancid. This also causes a loss of nutrients, destruction of vitamins, and irritation to the stomach.

How to Store:

The less saturated an oil is, the more care it needs. Unrefined oils should be in dark glass bottles and in the refrigerator.


  • Draws water out, pulls flavors and nutrients to surface of foods
  • Increasing boiling temperature of water thus cooks food faster
  • Enhances flavors by increasing electrical signals on your tongue
  • Works as a preservative

It’s essential in our body! It strengthens digestion, stimulates the kidneys, helps the metabolism of fluids, and enhances calcium absorption. It alkalizes acid-forming foods, helps emulsify fats, and activates enzymes. Yay salt!

What Salt NOT to Use: Commercially refined iodized salt! This stuff is disgusting! It’s sprayed with iodide and has a whole bunch of different chemicals added to it to increase alkalinity and stabilize it. We seriously can get plenty of iodine in regular, real food.


(Image from Google Images)

Anyway thanks for letting me study with you all! I hope you found it at least a little useful. =)


2 thoughts on “Whole Foods: Fats, Oils, & Salts

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