You Asked, I Answered

Filed under: Nutrition

Q. I would love to see some in depth information about fats and specifically which ones are good for specific temperature cooking. Also, a typical guideline of the proportions of different types of fats we should be consuming would be awesome. I know Dr. Mike Roussell just wrote an article on this but I would love to see a more practical application of this knowledge from your perspective. Smoke points on the internet are all over the board! Thanks Brian! Love your site.

A. Well here is a simple list of smoke points for some common oils/fats:

  • Butter – 350F
  • Coconut Oil, extra virgin – 350F
  • Olive Oil, extra virgin – 320F
  • Sesame Oil, unrefined – 350F

Butter and Coconut Oil are both mainly saturated fat, Olive Oil is mainly monounsaturated fat, Sesame Oil is monounsaturated fat with some polyunsaturated fat.

A proportion of fats would probably be a relatively even split. I don’t think there is one perfect split, there is always a range. As well it will depend on the person. If I had to give one example it would probably be 40% monounsaturated, 40% saturated, 20% polyunsaturated. If you are at 33% for each, I don’t think that would be any issue at all either. The key is that these fats come from high quality sources, and that you have a pretty even split of omega-6′s to omega-3′s.

One thing I would not is not too have the majority of your fats come from polyunsaturates, as traditionally humans have never consumed huge amounts of it. Some is necessary, too much is probably not a good thing.

I would just stay away from overemphasizing any one type, other than that just don’t over think it. Eat real food, and things usually fall into place.

I got those smoke points from Jonny Bowdens excellent cookbook The Healthiest Meals on Earth.

Posted on November 1st, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre


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