Keto frying oil or fat or should you fry food at all is the question here. Since you are on a Greek website, you might think that I will be writing another saga about olive oil. Well, think again! 😉 This Keto Greek loves the olive oil, but not so much for frying. Especially if we are talking about meat. Of course, in some of our recipes, we do use olive oil, but it’s always just an addition to the high temperature-stable cooking fat. Before I give you the overview of best cooking fats for Ketonians who prefer the Mediterranean way of living, let’s just give the verdict to frying:
Yes to Keto frying – but how to make it healthy?
First, you will not fry food every day and you will most certainly not do it on sky-high temperatures. Ideally, you will choose those kinds of meat and fish that don’t require long frying. same goes for the cheese!
For example, if you just dip a piece of fresh veal or fish in some hot fat, you literally can eat it without worrying if it’s cooked. In just 5 seconds these types of food will be safe to consume. On the other hand, if you do that with a piece of beef, the result will not be that great and you will need to fry it longer. Furthermore, you have to cut it thin if you want the crunchy texture!
Secondly, we need to think about the pots and frying pans. What are they made of? How resistant are the surfaces that get in touch with frying oils? Ideally, you will use granite or ceramic-coated frying pans. Of course, good old die-cast iron is great, but in some cases, can’t compete with the taste of food fried in granite coated pans.
As the third most important fact about old-fashioned frying, (Keto frying) your cooking oil or fat comes under the spotlight. Many Ketonians are surprised when they come across a list of healthy fats, including saturated animal fats, such as tallow and ghee. All our lives we have been hearing bad things about saturated fats like butter. Luckily, there is more and more evidence that saturated fats are actually healthier fats!
Saturated fats and false accusations
The amount of evidence linking saturated fat and cholesterol to heart disease is poor or none. Unfortunately, contemporary medicine is slowly coming up with this interesting information and continues to advocate for unhealthy and inefficient low-fat diets. Furthermore, there are still doctors prescribing cholesterol-lowering medicines for those with heart disease. The evidence for this is so overwhelming that even Time magazine had this subject on their cover as a controversy to their previous claims.
Misconceptions about saturated fat
World-renowned cardiac surgeon Dwight Lundell recently stated about the misconception against the use of saturated fat:
Animal fats contain less than 20% of omega-6s and are less likely to cause inflammation than supposedly healthy ones of polyunsaturated oils. Forget about “science” that has been saying the same thing for decades. A science that cites only saturated fat as a cause of heart disease. The science that says saturated fats increase blood cholesterol is also very weak. Because we now know and have evidence that cholesterol is not a cause of heart disease, concerns about saturated fat are absurd today. ” You can also read more about this in this article:
Can we simplify the “Fama” about saturated fat?
Simply put, the evidence linking heart disease to fat is weak. At the same time, the evidence related to inflammation caused by processed foods like cereal-based flour, sugar and chemical additives is much stronger.
Dr Lundell goes on to explain:
What you can do is choose the food your grandparents ate, not the food your parents ate, not the one from supermarketsThis sounds totaly Greek Goes Keto to me!
“By removing inflammatory foods and adding essential nutrients from fresh, unprocessed foods, you will repair the years of damage to the arteries and the whole body, caused by consuming a typical faster diet. “
That is why we are advocates of the traditional diet. Traditional food is exactly what our grandmothers served, long before most family tables became filled with artificial, industrially processed foods.
4 healthiest cooking oils
If you ask Greeks, olive oil is used for everything. But, if you want to fry something now and then, maybe not the best choice. Of course, you will use extra virgin olive oil, but when it comes to higher temperatures, here are 4 healthiest cooking fats for KMD approach to living. Also listed are the smoking points for each of them, ie the maximum temperature at which the fat can be heated before it becomes dangerous (oxidised or carcinogenic). Knowing the burning point of each oil will help you decide if you want to use it at low or high cooking temperatures.
The mighty and tasty Tallow (400°F/250°C)
Tallow is simply super cooking fat that tastes better than you would expect! It can be utilised for savoury and sweet Keto creations and it’s quite easy to prepare at home. Ideally, you will render it from the fat surrounding the kidney of veal. Here are some advantages:
- One of the most stable fats on high temperature
- Extremely high in vitamins
- Ideal for people with dairy intolerance
- Tallow is pure fat, which helps you to burn fat (through glucagon)
- Contains CLA, which can enhance your immune system and even prevent cancer
- Tallow consists of 42% monounsaturated, 4% polyunsaturated and 50% saturated fat
Tallow vs. Lard
The first advantage is that tallow comes from a ruminant animal. The contrast between lard and tallow is very prominent in each item’s fat proportion. Tallow is quite more solid than lard. Tallow offers a higher ratio of saturated to unsaturated fatty acids. This also gives longer unchanged consistency and taste on room temperature. Grass-fed tallow is healthier than lard and you can see this in the colour. Tallow is slightly golden when warm and has this hue even when cold. The reason for this lays in the carotenoids. They are nutrients available in grass-fed tallow together with vitamins A, D, K, and E.
Ghee is pure gold, but preferably Goat or Sheep (485ºF/252ºC)
We already wrote about the advantages of goat milk, but sheep’s milk is really near and even fattier. In Greece, you can find ghee (clarified butter) made of goat and sheep’s milk. However, if you don’t live in Greece, this amazing product which is sold online could be a great treasure in your Keto kitchen!
Things are simple, A2 type cassein is just easier to digest (cow’s dairy predominantly contains A1 cassein). Sheep or goat dairy will give you beneficial MCTs! Furthermore, Goat milk products have great anti-inflammatory properties. If you can’t find goat, sheep or buffalo ghee, then cow’s is your choice. To top it all, just hear how the Japanese people call Ghee – Nirvana Sutra!
Duck or goose fat -gourmet to the full potential (325°F/163ºC)
If you haven’t tried duck or goose fat then you have the whole new world of taste to discover. It’s extremely delicious and offers some great performances at high temperatures. However, as with all poultry, not as good as tallow. Duck fat also includes oleic acid which may be important for managing diabetes. There’s research that suggests that the percentage of oleic acid in the diet is linked with a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease. Oleic acid in duck fat is as high as 40%.
Good old Coconut oil (350ºF/177ºC)
Naturally, we are talking about cold-pressed coconut oil here. For many Ketonians, it’s the easiest oil to use, but have in mind that it’s plant-based and might not be the right choice if you want to go totally carnivore. It does have a sweet flavour and could be ideal for oriental or exotic dishes. Coconut oil is rich in healthy saturated fats! Not to mention mighty MCTs that are extremely available and easy to extract from coconut oil.
Perfect Keto Frying fat combo
Yes, you can combine them. In fact, ideally, you can experiment with the flavours and smoking points. Roberta likes using coconut oil in combination with tallow, while famous french chefs always mix butter or ghee with some olive oil. Of course, you will have to be careful with the temperature here.
As a Keto nutrition therapist, I must recommend giving emphasis to animal fat, our bodies understand and utilise it much better than plant-based fats. Always remember that Keto Mediterranean lifestyle has three postulates. One of them says making everything at home from scratch. The best thing you can do is learn how to render some tallow or clarify your butter and make homemade ghee! Everything else will be much healthier and even more affordable!