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5 Fats You Should Be Cooking with – but May Not Be


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In a recent article I wrote on my other blog, 9 Steps to Perfect Health – #1: Nourish Your Body, I explained that saturated (SFA) and monounsaturated fats (MFA) are the preferred fuel source of the body. Another important benefit of LCSFA, and to a lesser degree MFA, is that they are stable at high temperatures and thus the safest fats to cook with.

With this in mind, here’s a list of my favorite cooking fats. Not just because they’re safe to cook with, but because they taste so good.


Ghee is clarified butter, and it’s popular in Indian cooking. Because the milk solids have been removed, it’s very low in lactose and is almost entirely fat – mostly saturated. I tend to use ghee to brown meat and sautee garlic and onions when I make soups or stews, and I sometimes scramble my eggs in it. A tablespoon of ghee contains 8g SFA, 3.7g MFA fat and 0.5g PUFA.

Coconut oil

Along with ghee, coconut oil is one of the best fats to cook with because it’s almost entirely saturated. In fact, coconut oil is more than 90% saturated fat. While this makes it the devil according to the so-called medical authorities, we know better. In addition to being a great fuel source for the body, coconut oil has some unique properties. It is a special type of saturated fat called medium chain triglyceride (MCT). Unlike other fats, MCTs do not require bile acids for digestion. This means they are easily absorbed in the upper part of the small intestine. Coconut oil is also rich in lauric acid, a fatty acid found in mother’s milk that is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. Coconut oil has 4g of SFA, 0.3g of MFA and

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Leaf lard

No self-respecting French chef would ever be without lard. Leaf lard is obtained from the visceral fat deposit surrounding the kidney and loin, and is considered the highest grade of lard because it has little pork flavor. This is why it’s prized in baking, where it’s used to make flaky, moist pie crusts, croissants and other non-Paleo delights. Lard is an incredibly versatile fat. I use mostly to roast vegetables. Unlike olive oil, vegetables roasted in lard do not get soggy or greasy. They stay crisp and almost dry, with a wonderful flavor. This surprises people because they think of lard as “greasy”. Not so. A tablespoon of lard has about 6g MFA, 5g SFA and 1.6g PUFA.

Duck fat

Let me just say this, if you’ve never had potatoes roasted or fried in duck fat, you haven’t had French fries. I mean that literally. Duck fat was what folks in Europe used to make the original French fries before industrial seed oils came along. Once you taste potatoes – or any vegetables – roasted or fried in duck fat, you’ll know why. A tablespoon of duck fat has 6 g MFA, 4 g LCSFA and 1.6 g PUFA.


Butter has a lower smoke point than the fats listed above, which makes it less suitable for high temperature cooking. However, it’s a great fat to use on top of fish or meat in the oven, or in stews or slow-cooked meals at lower temperatures. “Butter makes everything better” is exactly right. A tablespoon of butter contains 7.2g of SFA, 2.9g of MFA and 0.4g of PUFA.

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Join the conversation

  1. Hi Chris,

    How much fat should u consume a day without putting on weight. If I am eating half an avocado and have a couple of teaspoons of coconut oil a day as well as eating eggs is this too much saturated fats in one day

  2. My favorite cooking fat is lard. I use it to cook my eggs, bacon and pancakes. It makes everything taste better and has an amazing mouthfeel. Simply put, animal fats are ALWAYS going to be better for you than vegetable oils.

  3. If anyone still reads this article, I’m also looking for some leaf lard or a place to buy the correct type of fat so I can render it myself. I know that the lard they sell in tubs in the grocery stores is not good for you but I cannot find anyplace to buy either the already made lard or the fat to render it myself. I will order it online if anyone knows of an online site which carries it.

    I live in the Puget Sound region (near Tacoma and Seattle, Washington) in case anyone knows of a butcher where I can buy it.

    • Peggy,

      Butcher Boys in Puyallup has some. I would think any local butcher shop that you can purchase a cow/pig by the whole/half/quarter would have some leftover. Rendering it yourself is so easy! I can mine afterwards. It’ll keep like that for ages.

  4. After reading this article I went to the Butcher at my neighborhood grocery store and asked for leaf lard or duck fat. You should have seen the looks on their faces. 🙂 They called there supplier and they couldn’t even get it for me. UT might not be the best place to find these. Any good websites I could order it from?

  5. Great info on here. I love it! Where can I buy duck and leaf lard? I found some pork rendered lard at the local latin market, but that was it.

  6. What about Hemp oil? I got some a while ago and haven’t really used it for anything. Is it safe to use? I haven’t seen it on any list either way.

  7. Good article! The fat in butter doesn’t have a low smoke point though (just as ghee doesn’t); butter contains milk proteins which is what browns/burns if you’re not careful. The proteins are also what give butter a superior browning ability as the proteins aid in Maillard Reaction.

    My favorite fat for all-purpose cooking would be bacon drippings. Especially when it has little specks of bacon in it. Mmmmmmm. I use it exclusively for eggs, onions, and greens. I haven’t ever tried (or seen) leaf lard and would love to try it sometime.

    @Kyle — I would *definitely* do a VAP Cholesterol profile as it gives a breakdown of lipoproteins (LDL patterning, apo(b), etc) and is profoundly more useful than just LDL/HDL/TC. Also, we like to do C-peptide as it’s a better indication of insulin status than just A1C and fasting glucose.

  8. Hi Chris- Is lard from pigs fed 100% grain (organic) not desirable to consume given the omega 6 profile?
    Thanks, Richard

  9. Chris,

    I run a wellness program for a local fire department. Do you have any recommendations on adding specific blood tests to our lab work to give a better idea of general wellness. We do a standard panel (lipid, CBC, Heavy Metal, etc). I assume you would add 25 Hydroxy-Vitamen D & CRP…any others?


  10. I use either coconut oil or avocado oil and sometimes macadamia nut oil for high heat cooking point – never tried lard b4 cause I don’t have any local pastured raised pigs around where I live and neither do duck fat.

  11. Hi Chris,
    I didn’t realize you had 2 blogs – I’m loving your “9 Steps to Perfect Health” at the Healthy Skeptic blog.

    I discovered this while researching a recent post I published simplifying all this information using fats and oils, what can be heated, what’s best unheated, what to avoid and putting it in a user-friendly chart. I couldn’t find a good one to share so decided to make my own. I would love your feedback if you have the time to check it out.



  12. As it happens, french-fries have nothing to do with France, They are named for the way the potato is cut – or ‘Frenched’.

    And in the UK French-Fries (Or chips as we know them) were originally cooked in ‘dripping’ (Beef fat) before the misinformed and misguided, backed by the Animal Rights Movement, spread the ‘gospel’ about seed oils.

    I love the taste of Duck, so I should like my chips fried in Duck fat. I wonder if like beef fat, it leaves a lovely coating of fat on the palate. 🙂

    And at last I found a place where few will laugh at me because I counsel the hunter-gatherer ideas. They might not have lived as long as us, but they were healthy. I should imagine they died from far more accidental means than we do, or they couldn’t escape a predator. Maybe our predators are the motor-car and lunatic drivers.


  13. The Fatted Calf sells goose fat not too expensively. It was about 9.00 for 1lb. Whenever anyone I know does a goose I always show up jar in hand:) For duck fat I usually get a whole duck and remove and render the skin in water in the oven. Makes tasty broth too.

  14. It looks like the decimal point is off on the duck fat PUFA number, it should be more like 1.6g/T of PUFA, etc.

    Good post, thanks 🙂

    • Goose fat is even more saturated than duck fat. It’s great. But even harder to find than duck fat.

      • hmm … that sucks!

        In most european Countries it’s available in every supermarket and very cheap.
        For Germany, look out for “Laru”. It comes in many variations. I can’t believe it’s hard to find in other parts of the world. too bad

        http://www.laru.de/assets/images/Ganseschmalz_u.Ganse.jpg … delicious
        Sometimes the fat is yellow. I suppose it’s because of the pasture.

    • Growing up in Yorkshire, UK, goose grease as it was known was very common. Goose was a popular Christmas or New Year roast and produced a phenomenal amount of fat that was used in cooking, but mostly amongst poor people. My grandmother used to queue for it during the Great Depression as they could not afford dripping, butter or lard. A popular cold cure was goose grease and camphor rubbed into the chest to promote clearing of the lungs.

  15. Where can I buy duck fat? If I need to get it from the butcher and render it myself, which cut do I ask the butcher for? I recently rendered lard from Leaf Lard from the butcher and it was totally easy. The few friends I’ve spoken to about it were shocked, saying it’s unhealthy, so I am glad to read your blogs and info and have enough common sense to know better. It’s fun to learn tasty ways of healthier eating which contrast with the SAD (Standard American Diet) way most people eat (and become obese).