Dining out and bad fats

A couple of weeks ago, through the agency of a friend, I ended up spending the evening in a commercial kitchen preparing food.  The restaurant was closed for business that night, but had a full kitchen going for the dozen or so people who turned out to try their hands at being chefs.  We all cooked various portions of a four or five course meal. That’s me at the left in my chef’s attire chopping scallions for garnish for one of the dishes.

Sad to say, but this wasn’t the first time I’ve ever labored in the back end of a restaurant.  Both MD and I are very familiar with those duties.  One of the truly bad moves of my financial life was investing in a franchise restaurant years ago.  I still don’t know what came over me, but whatever did, it cost me a lot of money.  I distinctly remember how it all happened.  I was sitting in the kitchen of our house in Little Rock going through the mail and came upon a magazine buried in the pile.  I don’t remember now what magazine it was, but it had an article on hot new restaurant concepts.  One of the hottest, and one that was taking Dallas by storm, was a Mexican restaurant franchise called ZuZu.  ZuZu Handmade Mexican Food, to be exact.

I read the article and inexplicably reached around behind me, picked up the phone and dialed the number to get more info.  (A phone call, I might mention, that cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars before it was all over.)  The person on the other end – a honcho from ZuZu corporate office in the Rolex Building in Dallas – painted a wonderful picture of restaurant ownership, and before I knew it, MD, our eldest son and I were headed to Dallas to see a ZuZu restaurant in the flesh and try the food.

The food was dazzlingly good – all fresh, all handmade.  We tried just about everything and didn’t find anything that we didn’t love.  And much of it was low-carb, to boot.  Our eldest was just out of college and looking for something to do and our middle son was going to graduate soon.  After discussion with them, we decided to take the plunge.  Bad, bad, bad mistake on many fronts, but we learned a lot.  And that’s about the best face I can put on it.

The kids all went to Dallas and underwent the training program.  MD and I purposely avoided learning how to operate the cash register or do anything in the front of the house.  We had a large medical practice in Little Rock (a relatively small city) and didn’t want to be doing a pelvic exam or a rectal exam on someone in the morning, and then greet them that evening wearing a ZuZu hat and a big smile with ‘For here or to go?’

Consequently, whenever things went crazy – as they always do in the restaurant business – MD and I got dragooned into working the back of the house where we could do our part yet stay out of sight. One day during the first couple of weeks of being open was particularly memorable. MD and I both had presentations to make to a large medical meeting in Seattle, but the day before those presentations, we were scheduled to be on CBS The Early Show and the day before that on the Sally Jesse Raphael show.  I was busy putting together my slides for the medical presentation while MD was working on patient charts when we got the call.  MD headed to the restaurant while I stayed at the office and finished my slides.  By the time I got to the place, it was a true hellhole. MD was surrounded by piles of dirty plates, glasses, pots and pans and was deep into catching up on the dish washing so I jumped in and started prepping by chopping tomatoes, limes, onions, cilantro, you name it.  As soon as the dish washing was caught up (which took over six hours), MD started helping me prep. I was on a roll with all the stuff I was slicing and dicing, so she grabbed the peppers that I hadn’t gotten to yet and began.

As closing time approached, we began preparing the stuff for the next day.  In doing so – and I don’t remember now how I did it – I burned the bejesus out of my hand and had an enormous half-dollar size blister pop up.  After closing, MD and I got home and got into bed to get a few short hours of sleep before our 6 AM flight the next morning.  As we lay there recounting the day and wondering about our sanity for ever embarking on such a folly, MD said that her hands were starting to burn.  In just a few minutes, her hands were on fire.  She had been chemically burned by the juices from all the peppers she had prepped, and, like a sunburn, it had taken a few hours before she started feeling the effects.  She jumped up, held her hands under the cold water for about five minutes, then slathered them with a cortisone cream we had at the house.  She came back to bed and worried all night that her hands would end up red and grotesquely swollen by the morning, and that she would have to appear on national TV with lobster hands along with her husband with his giant blister.  What a nightmare!

Her hands were okay by morning – a little red, but nothing all that noticeable.  I still had the enormous blister I was trying to keep intact so that the skin would act as a dressing, but I figured I could probably keep it out of sight of the cameras.  We caught our flight, went on with Sally Jesse that afternoon and the CBS morning show the next day without incident.  Then it was off to Seattle for that gig.

In addition to our labors on the above-mentioned disastrous day, MD and I have both washed thousands and thousands of dishes using the commercial dishwasher, which has a lot of hands-on effort that goes along with it.  It seemed that it always fell to me to do the prep work.  I’ve sliced and diced rosemary, cilantro, garlic, onions, tomatoes and peppers by the car-load lot. ( And along the way I developed pretty good knife skills without sacrificing any of my fingers in doing so.)  So the two of us have spent plenty of back-breaking time in the bowels of a commercial kitchen.

But never in an enormous kitchen designed to service a fairly high-end restaurant like the one we found ourselves in the other night.  I was eager to see how it all worked.

I learned plenty.  For one thing, it’s really easy to cook in a big commercial kitchen because you have everything at your disposal.  And you don’t have to dig all the stuff out when you need it – it’s already there.

If you need to quick chill something, the giant ice bath is right there.  If you need to throw an entire tray of stuff into a big fridge, you’ve got it available without having to rearrange everything so it will fit.  If you need to quickly blanch something, there is the giant strainer and the pots of boiling water are at the ready.  It really makes cooking much more hassle free than it is at home.  And the best part of all is that you have (or at least we did during this event) staff who clean up behind you.

In between my various tasks assigned tasks, I snooped around, and my worst fears were confirmed.  Before we get to that, though, let me tell you what I’ve learned about chefs.  What I’m about to say doesn’t apply to every chef who cooks, but I would guess it applies to most.

Chefs are not particularly health conscious. They cook for flavor, not for health.  If there is a choice between making something taste a little better or making it a little more healthful, taste will win every time.  Which is a good thing in many cases because chefs – like most other people – have been brainwashed as to what is healthful and what isn’t.  Most doubtless believe that saturated fat is unhealthful, but, fortunately, that doesn’t deter them from using butter, heavy cream, bacon, and all the other tasty high-saturated  fat foods in their cooking. If butter tastes better – that’s what they use.

But many things are deep fried and cooked using vegetable oils and shortenings because these products don’t impart much of a taste.  That was the big advantage of Crisco when it came out: it was pure and while and left no taste the way lard did.  Same with processed vegetable oils today, so chefs use the heck out of it.

Part of my job was to make some egg rolls for an appetizer.  I filled them with shredded chicken, shredded crab, a snow pea, some ginger and a little salt and pepper.  Then I deep fried them.  I asked the main chef, who was keeping a watchful eye on all of us pretend chefs, what kind of oil he used in the deep fryer. (The deep fryer, like everything else in the kitchen, is running all the time, and people pop stuff into it all night long when the restaurant is busy.)  He told me it was canola oil.  I asked him if canola was commonly used in deep fryers; he said that canola was used in every restaurant he had ever worked in.

I was surprised because I wouldn’t think canola oil would hold up to a deep fryer.  I asked how often they changed the oil – he told me they did so once a week. I made a note to research it a little when I got home.

I knew polyunsaturated fat made up somewhere around a third of the fatty acids in canola oil.  Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are the ones most harmed by heat and oxygen, so it really made me wonder why anyone would use an oil containing so many PUFA for deep frying.  I just imagined all the oxidized fats in the oil I was dropping my newly made egg rolls into.

(There is a misconception in the minds of most people about what happens to PUFA when they are kept hot and bubbling for a long time as they are in deep fryers.  A lot of people think the PUFA convert to trans fats.  They don’t.  It requires heat, pressure and a catalyst to transform normal PUFA to trans fats.  What does happen, however, is that the PUFA become oxidized.  Then when you eat them, you are consuming oxidized fats that your body has to deal with.)

When I got home after our dinner, I went to the USDA Nutrient Database to look up canola oil to see if I had remembered correctly about the percentage of PUFA. I found the following entry:

Oil, industrial, canola (partially hydrogenated) oil for deep fat frying

When I looked up the fatty acid breakdown, I discovered that this industrial canola oil made for commercial deep fat frying contained almost a third of its fatty acids (27 percent to be exact) as trans fats.  Which is why it worked for the deep fryer.  During the processing of this oil, most of the PUFA had been converted to trans fats.

I looked at the other canola oils listed in the USDA list and found this one:

Oil, industrial, canola with antifoaming agent, principal uses salads, woks and light frying

Sounds just like what you would want to eat on your salad, doesn’t it?

This particular canola oil had just a couple of grams of trans fats per 100 grams of oil, so it wasn’t nearly as bad as the deep fryer canola oil, but it still doesn’t sound particularly appetizing.

At most of the stations in the kitchen there were containers of a salt and pepper mix and containers of oil with ladles.  If frying (not deep frying, but regular frying) were to be done, you threw a ladle of oil on the grill or in the skillet.  If you were whipping up a salad dressing, you started with the oil and worked from there.  This oil is the industrial oil with the antifoaming agent.

So, the take-home message from my experience is that if you eat in a restaurant you are going to get a lot of oils that you would probably rather not have.  At worst, you’re going to get a load of trans fats; at best, you’re going to throw back plenty of omega-6s. Omega-6 fats are, for the most part, pro-inflammatory, and we get way, way too many of them in our diet as it is. Most of the readers of this blog know how harmful omega-6 fats are in large quantities, so I won’t go in to it here.  Suffice it to say, however, that the medical literature is full of articles pointing out the hazards of too many omega-6 fats.  Then there is the American Heart Association that has inexplicably come out in support of omega-6 fats for heart health (Harris, WS), which advice you can put up on your shelf right beside the advice to avoid saturated fats.

In the 6-Week Cure we wrote about how vegetable oils – at least in lab animals – drive the development of fatty liver.  Researchers give rodents large regular doses of alcohol to get them to develop fatty livers.  They have found that if they give the rodents vegetable oils, they can accelerate the development of liver disease.  If the rodents get saturated fats, however, they almost can’t get fatty livers no matter how much alcohol they take in.  Does this apply to humans?  Who knows?  These kinds of studies would be unethical to do in humans, so we can’t test to find out.  But, the evidence is clear enough in rodents that I’m not all that eager to go face down in the vegetable oil.

I suspect that one of the reasons non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is reaching epidemic proportions worldwide is the ubiquitous substitution of vegetable oils for saturated fats every where.  When we were doing research for the book, I scoured the literature to find studies in which people with fatty liver disease were treated with diet and found only two such studies.  In both of them the fatty livers of the subjects reversed quickly – in just a matter of a few days – when the subjects went on low-carb diets.  I suspect that the increase in saturated fat helped things along markedly.  And, I suspect the unwarranted avoidance of saturated fats by our bamboozled fellow citizens is one of the reasons there is so much fatty liver disease.

If you prepare your food in your own kitchen, you control exactly what goes into it.  If you go out to eat, you lose that control.  I suspect most restaurants operate about like the very upscale one I just played chef in, and so if you go to even a nice restaurant, you’re going to be consuming stuff you would probably rather not consume.  In the old days (when I was a kid, for example), going out to eat was a big deal, and it almost never happened. Everything was prepared at home.  Now people eat out more than they eat at home.

According to the National Restaurant Association, more people are dining out than ever, even in tough economic times.  On a typical day, restaurant sales in the US average $1.6 billion. The average household spent $2,698 for restaurant food in 2008.  Forty percent of adults say that eating out or getting take-out food makes them more productive in their lives. The majority of adults – 78 percent – believe that dining out with family and friends is a better way to make use of their leisure time than cooking and cleaning up.

To the left is a graph from the USDA Economic Research Service showing the increase in the home budget dollar spent on food away from home.  It just about parallels the graph showing the development of the obesity epidemic.  I’m not necessarily making the case that eating out has caused the obesity epidemic, but I’m not sure it hasn’t played a significant role in it.  Especially now that I know what kind of oils restaurants use.

One of the statistics I read while researching for this post was that 73 percent of adults say they are trying to make more healthful choices at restaurants now than they did just two years ago.  Assuming this is true, it probably means they are ordering more salads, which seem to equate in everyone’s mind with a more healthful choice.  But if the dressings are made for the salad with the oils used in bulk in most restaurants, it’s probably not the best thing you can eat where your health is concerned.  But I always ask for my dressing on the side so that I can control how much I put on, you say?  That’s the big joke among chefs.  It’s been shown that when salads are tossed by the chef, much less dressing is used as compared to when people ask for it on the side and add it themselves.

The point of all this is that when you go out to eat, no matter how upscale the restaurant, you lose control over what goes in your mouth.  Short of bulling your way into the kitchen, you are clueless as to what oils are going into and onto your food.  If you eat out a lot, you are doubtless taking in a fair quantity of trans fats and oxidized fats and plain old omega-6 fats – all fats you can stand to do without.  The only way you maintain control is if you do the cooking yourself.  Plus, you’ll save a lot of money because it’s almost always less expensive to prepare it yourself.

One of the best things you can do for your health (and your pocketbook) is to spend more time in your own kitchen.

ADDENDUM:  Geez, one post later and I’ve already forgotten about the book list.

Since the last post, I’ve polished off Predictably Irrational, the Kate Atkinson novel and the Shenk book on genius.  I’m still working on the others.

I’ve added the following to my list:

I See Rude People by Amy Alkon.  The subtitle says it all: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society.  Amy is a friend of mine who writes an advice column, and I can tell you after spending a lot of time with her, that she is unfailingly polite and gracious herself to everyone she meets…except for boors.  I’ve dipped into her excellent book numerous times, but now I’m reading it from front to back.  I wish I had the gumption she does to confront the rude people I’m (we all are) confronted with daily.  With this book, I can do it vicariously.  An excellent read.

Naked by the Window by Robert Katz.  A book about the death (was is murder, suicide or accident?) of the diminutive Cuban artist Ana Mendieta, who plunged 34 stories to her death in 1985.

The Invention of Air by Steven Johnson.  I hope I love this book as much as I loved his The Ghost Map.

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170 thoughts on “Dining out and bad fats

  1. I just spent 10 days at an upscale resort in Mexico and I think I came home with 5 extra pounds as a souvenir! The food there was tasty and fresh (buffet style, 3 meals per day), but I was wondering about what types of fats they used. The egg lady cooked eggs every morning on the grill where she would slather vegetable oil with a rag before cracking the egg. I wanted to ask her to make mine with butter, but it didn’t really seem feasible (language barrier, plus the line-up of other breakfast eaters wouldn’t have been happy about the delay).

    I have worked in several restaurants and I know that they use fat willy-nilly, especially PUFA vegeltable oil. But, I also spent a summer working at an upscale restaurant in Brussels (I was there as an intern to learn French, not cooking per se) and they used loads of butter and cream. I ate well that summer and even though I ate much fattier foods than normal, I came home thinner. I have great memories of that job… :)

    Thanks for your excellent blog, Dr. Eades. I love it when i check in and see that you have a new post!

    • I too stayed at an upscale resort last week in Mexico (Playa del Carmen). I noticed a truck delivering food to one of the restaurants and saw the driver unloading Costco size plastic jugs of canola oil. I suspect it is the most common cokking oil due to its low smoke point and neutral flavor.

      • I just returned from the same area. I can only imagine the amount of crummy industrial and oxidized oils I ingested even while being careful.

        The Mexican people are wonderful, but there are many overweight people there. Their diet cannot be any healthier than the typical North American from the two northern countries. I wonder what their rate of diabetes is.

        I wanted to buy some Mexican chocolate but the examples I found listed vegetable oil prominently in the list of ingredients – incredible. Uh no thanks. I shouldn’t be surprised though, a bottle of olives from California in my local Safeway were packed in canola oil – sigh.

        It seems much easier to avoid sugar than those damn industrial oils.

  2. Hi Dr. Eades,

    I’ve been diligent lately about asking the waiter to make sure to cook my food in butter. So far, so good (as long as they are not lying to me!). I opt out of dressing to be safe.



    • “as long as they are not lying to me”. Mmh, try to talk to people who work in restaurant about that, you’d be surprised.

  3. I’ve been cooking most everything from scratch and at home for almost a year now. Not only is it fun and creative but I feel a whole lot better. My diabetes is easier to manage cause I know how many carbs are in the food. I can portion control by weighing everything and the best result…my friends like to drop by around lunch to have home made soups and the best salads ever.

    I just have to say how this started. I have a strong faith and I pray about my disease. It’s complicated to manage and I could not do it by myself. I was standing in my kitchen on day thinking about what was on the menu and I began to think about food in general. While I was thinking about different ingredients I realized that there was not a box in any of my thoughts. From that point on my husband and I have worked to change our lifestyle. We invested in cookbooks, new pots and pans, bread maker, good knives and high quality ingredients
    It must be working…my last A1C was 6.1, on a pump, without a trip to the ER for hypoglycemia. My endo wants me to teach others and while not a big fan, she is a fan of low carb.
    thanks for letting me share my story!

    Less sweet today….

  4. I was shocked when I received Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc At Home. I always thought the really high end restaurants at least cooked with better things.

    Nope, many of the recipes call for canola oil.

    An exception to this trend is Momofuku in NYC, where they use lard. Because they are working with so much pork, particularly dry cooked pork belly, the lard is a byproduct they want to use.

    • I can tell you that the food is great at Momofuku. When we rolled out the Sous Vide Supreme with Heston Blumenthal back in October, we ended up in NY. Heston got us in to Momofuku (an almost impossible reservation to get). David Chang (the owner and chef) sat at our table and told us not to order, that he would take care of us. The food just kept on coming, and it was out of this world. Unfortunately (for my head the next morning, at least), the wine and spirits kept coming as well. David wanted us to try everything. It was an incomparable meal. And the whole thing was comped. I decided then and there that I needed to travel with world-famous chefs more often.

    • ad hoc is a really dissapinting book, i couldn’t believe the cheap industrial ingredients used and how many recipes were filled with flour.

  5. Changed the oil after only a week. Wow. I worked at a 4-star restaurant with the world’s largest wine list – and we only changed it about once a month! So gross!

    As long as you avoid salad dressings and fried food at restaurants, odds are you’ll live through a little restaurant food.

  6. When I eat out, I avoid all fried foods and dressings for the reasons you mention. But I’ve also noticed how restaurants cater to the American sweet tooth. So many foods now have sweet sauces or dressings added to them and desserts are often a prominent restaurant feature. I haven’t been eating desserts for over four years now, but even in ordering entrees I have to look out for words like “sweet” or “honey” as indicators of loads of added sugar. Needless to say, I skip those too. I also ask for real butter instead of the usual default margarine. So, in addition to the bad oils, Americans are getting loads of sugar, which makes for a disastrous recipe for bad health.

      • I myself suspect that sugar (particularly the fructose half) also contributes to NAFLD, and maybe other disorders of the liver which are related to diet. Great article, keep up the good work :-)

  7. Very interesting, as my husband and I have been thinking of starting a restaurant for years. I would love to learn more about why it all went wrong. Just the time committment? Love your stuff!

    • We’re not restaurant people, and I believe you’ve got to want to run a restaurant more than anything else in life to make it work. Plus, it was a bad concept. As a consequence, the entire franchise went belly up. There are a couple of stores still operating in Dallas and one in St. Louis (I think), but they are no longer franchises. The people who were franchisees are now operating the store without benefit of the franchise. The concept was flawed because the food – all fresh, nothing processed – was too time consuming to make and still be profitable. When the franchisor started making much of the stuff in a factory and shipping it to the franchisees, the quality went to ground in a hurry. A bad deal all around.

      If you seriously are contemplating starting a restaurant, I would encourage you to go to work in one first. If you love the work, then maybe give it at try with the understanding that it will probably go under unless you work very, very hard. And even then, it’s no guarantee.

      The guy who took over our place in Little Rock put his life savings into a BBQ restaurant. The food was great – he worked all the time. And the restaurant failed. The guy’s lawyer called me asking if I would take a long-term payout for all the equipment I had sold him. In one of the great charitable decisions of my life, I told the lawyer to tell the guy to forget about it. I felt his pain too much to hound him for the next 10 years.

      • “If you seriously are contemplating starting a restaurant, I would encourage you to go to work in one first. If you love the work, then maybe give it at try with the understanding that it will probably go under unless you work very, very hard. And even then, it’s no guarantee.”

        Man, no truer words have been written. Restaurant work, in the front of the house or the back, is some of the toughest work out there. I spent two years as an apprentice chef and ten years in my own restaurant. Even though we were successful, and sold the place at a handsome profit, I now would rather take a beating with a wet, knotted rope as work in a restaurant again.

  8. Great post! After years of eating far too much Mexican food and other carb-laden fare, we really buckled down to low-carb/Paleo after the 6WC came out. So far, for 2010, we have eaten out exactly ZERO times. We feel so much better cooking our own food all the time. Special shout-out to the meat loaf and chili recipes in the 6WC book. Both of us in our mid-50’s are the healthiest we’ve ever been in our lives. Thank you so much!!

  9. This is how a person can make eating healthy cheaper. By preparing and cooking your own food, there is no more desire to even eat out. Now that will save you a lot of money in the short and long run.

  10. Hi Mike,

    Love, love your blog and your books.

    I have question about deep fried foods in general. If something is deep fried in trans-fat *free* oil, is it “good” for you? In other words, are trans-fats the main thing that make deep frying (allegedly) unhealthy?



    • No, it’s not just trans fats. PUFA will oxidize, saturating your food with oxidized fats, which isn’t a good thing. If deep frying were done at low temperatures, it would be as problematic, but then it wouldn’t be deep frying either.

        • Ahh, coconut oil, I had forgotten about it for deep frying foods. I was planning to ask what fats there might be that would be good (or at least ok) for frying. Are there others? How would peanut oil do for fry-fat.

          I don’t do any deep fat frying and haven’t for years because I suspected polyunsaturated oils might be unhealthy (I don’t know why, just intuition I guess (the same intuition that persuaded me I should use butter and nothing else).

          Some things would be nice to prepare on the odd occasion, such as pan- fried chicken and catfish, for example.

          • BTW, there is a chain of restaurants here in Southern California (perhaps elsewhere as well) that use coconut oil for frying chicken and french fries. The results are invariably delicious, crisp and crunchy. Probably would be good for pommes frites (shoestring potatoes).

        • Yeah, you’d just have to make sure that you don’t exceed the smoke point of the oil when frying. Coconut oil has a smoke point of 350 degrees F and lard has a smoke point of around 370; beef tallow is probably the most impressive of the highly saturated fats/oils because of its smoke point of 420 degrees F. I haven’t done any frying with it (though I do plan to make sweet potato fries at some point) but I’d guess that beef tallow is probably the best stuff for the job. It was, after all, one of the frying fats of choice of many restaurants, including fast food ones (e.g. McDonald’s), before the anti-sat fat crusades began.

  11. Thanks for the info. This does give me renewed interest to cook at home more often. I always wonder about the oil issues and what I’m ingesting when eating at a restaurant. Besides, I have witnessed some horrors from being in restaurant kitchens when I was younger, and have heard of a few from others as well. And as you stated, being an upscale restaurant doesn’t exclude them. I know of a very good and popular restaurant that keeps the pasta cooked, and soaking in oil until needed (hey, a sort of sous vide for carbs) and I’m guessing its not olive oil. Fortunately, as low carbers, we won’t be loosing any sleep over that one.

  12. Dr. Eades,
    I’m still having some confusion about mayonnaise/oils. I like to eat a tuna salad for lunch once or twice a week. I use Spectrum’s Expeller-pressed Canola mayonnaise. I know that expellar-pressed means below 122 degrees F and cold-pressed means no heat used in processing. I’ve read that Canola oil is bad for you but years ago when I read PPLP I had decided that Spectrum’s was a good choice (can’t remember why I thought it was a good choice). Can you clear this up for me and your readers? And do you have a recommendation for the mayonnaise/oil I should use for a tuna salad? Thanks.

    • The canola oil you’re using is as good as canola oil gets. Since writing that section in the book, I’ve discovered that virtually all canola oil contains some trans fats that arise during the deodorization process. (Canola oil smells wretched in its native state and requires deodorization to be palatable.) Canola oil contains a fair amount of omega-6 fats, so I avoid it when possible for that reason.

      A better option for mayonnaise is to make it yourself, which is what we (read: MD) do. Here is MD’s recipe for the mayo she makes.

      • I’ve tried quite a few different oils for homemade mayonnaise and the two I like the best are refined avocado oil (expensive) and almond oil (more reasonably priced). I’ll try the “light” olive oil. How would you rank those three health-wise?

        • I would probably rank olive oil first, avocado oil second and almond last. All are pretty good, but the olive oil actually has higher saturated fat content and a lower PUFA content than the other two, which makes it get my vote for best.

  13. When I worked at a small restaurant they used a canola oil for the fryer and they fried anything they could in it. Bacon and sausage links for breakfast, hot dogs, wings and burgers if needed. They changed the oil weekly and it would smoke and be jet black after a few days of use. What happens when you mix all that animal fat with the canola oil? Also when butter became high they switched to a product called “phase” which was a liquid butter flavored vegetable oil. It was even used on the toast!

    • Yuk. When you mix animal fat with awful oxidized fat, you get animal fat covered with oxidized fat. The animal fat doesn’t really change because most of it is saturated, and saturated fat is immune to change by heat and oxygen.

  14. Since you’re talking about oils, I’ve been wondering about commercial fish oil. I use Carlson’s out of the bottle. It’s odorless, which got me wondering how much processing it’s gone through. I mean, how can fish oil that’s been in the bottle for months not stink? Do they refine it, bleach it, deodorize it?

    BTW, The Six Week Cure has been a godsend for me. I was very stalled for a very long time and now I’m losing like I’m in my twenties again. :)

    • Glad to hear you’re doing so well on the 6WC.

      Fresh fish oil is actually pretty odorless. It’s when it starts to become rancid that it begins to smell fishy.

  15. I’ve always been fascinated with restaurants, and would love to own one in theory. Just to dissuade myself I bought “Running a Restaurant for Dummies” that shows how much effort goes into managing one. Would love to work a bit in the kitchen.

  16. Can you suggest a good oil for deep frying with? I’ve had trouble figuring out what would be best if I wanted to deep fry something at home. Ideally, it would also be cheap!

    • Probably beef tallow if you can find it. That’s what they used to fry McDonald’s French fries in until the CSPI got onto them and they switched to vegetable oil.

  17. Hey Dr. Eades,

    I enjoy wings (non-breaded) every now and then and always suspected they were fried in vegetable oils, but ignorance is bliss after all. It’s a shame too because lard tastes so much better.

    I have a slightly off-topic question that I didn’t know where to ask so I’m trying it here. My mother is 52 years-old, had breast cancer twice, and was radiated on her left side 40+ times. She now has 2 broken ribs that won’t heal (almost a year and no improvement). What is your opinion on dietary changes to help the healing process in a situation where there has been such a violent, repeated offense to the body? I feel like her body would like nothing better than to heal, it just doesn’t have the proper environment to do it.

    Thank you so much for your blog

    • i believe the original way to do buffalo wings is to deep fry in butter. (tricky, of course, due to the low smoke point.) good luck finding anyone doing it that way tho…

    • Beef tallow, if you can find it. Coconut oil would be a good oil to use, but I don’t know how it works in a deep fryer. Readers? Any experiences to relate?

      • I don’t know for the US but here in Europe you can get “vegetable oil” for deep frying that is in fact refined coconut oil. They have relatively well known brand names, in France Vegetaline, in Germany Palmin (which last time I checked was coconut oil and not palm oil as the name would suggest). But I do prefer beef tallow, no question (it’s quite easy to find), it tastes so much better than anything else.
        And BTW, french fries is a misnomer as fries are definitly Belgian and fortunately, Belgians call real “frites” only when they were made in beef fat.

      • I don’t have a deep-fryer, but I do use coconut oil for that purpose, just in a small saucepan so I don’t waste much since it’s expensive. It works really well as far as smoke point, etc., but there will be a coconut flavor. That works well with things like shrimp, and can work with other things, too, you just have to be mindful of the flavor profile of coconut from the front end and make sure it won’t clash with what you’re cooking.

        My daughter loves chicken tenders coated in egg and shredded coconut and fried in coconut oil.

        On the rare occasion when I’m going to deep fry a larger quantity of stuff, I’m still falling back on peanut oil. Is that awful?

      • I have a deep fryer that has an immersed element, and a removable pot for the oil. When I deep fry, I use lard, but any solid saturated fat will do. I just drop the solid chunks of fat into the pot, heat it in the oven at 250 degrees, or in a pot on the stove top on low heat, until it is liquid, and then immerse the element inside. If you use a deep fryer that doesn’t have the immersed element, still be sure to melt the fat in the oven or stove top; it won’t splatter and is at a lower temperature and won’t smoke. My fryer specifically stated not to use solid fats, but it’s just because the melting stage can cause large air bubbles that splatter and is a fire hazard, hence the heating in the oven.

      • I’ve used it in a deep fryer before. I works just fine. One thing though – the saturated fats, coconut oil and tallow, bubble up more than vegetable oils when you deep fry in them so you have to be careful about overflow of the foaming oil. It works just fine though.

  18. Just finished The Invention of Air a few weeks ago, and absolutely loved it. I just now ordered Ghost Map using your link — looks like another winner by this author.

  19. “Probably beef tallow if you can find it.” Way back when in Quebec, all the little roadside stands and restaurants had home-made frites, made on the spot, cut big, soaked in salt water to keep them crisp, and fried in beef tallow. They were wonderful. Now they all have McDonald’s equivalents and it is easy to not eat fries. However if anyone is in Montreal and wants good fries, go to a “La Belle Province”. For better fries, go to a deli – Dunne’s or Smoked Meat Pete’s, and enjoy really good smoked meat (best on rye with mustard, unfortunately) and good fries. Forget the poutine.

    • Why forget poutine? The added cheese and gravy is healthier and arguably tastier than just eating plain potatoes, which is 100% simple starch that quickly turns into sugar in your body. (Not to mention the possible lectins that might survive the frying process…)

  20. must have been a high-end restaurant for sure, the cafeteria in my work place uses soybean oil in the deep fryer :-(

  21. When I brown ground beef, I save the fat in a jar in the fridge. It’s great for making French fries, chicken fingers, fried fish for the kids. Coconut oil foams too much, so I don’t use it unless I don’t have enough beef fat to do the job.

  22. should’ve gone with Chipotle, I guess?

    I always figured I was safe eating out at a steakhouse, but you got me wondering even about those places…

  23. There is a steakhouse in my town that people flock to for… the salad. I have to admit, this is the best salad I’ve ever had, and it’s so simple. Some lettuce, chopped green olives, and chopped tomatoes. I always figured that the dressing was olive oil and some of the brine from the (presumably) jarred olives.

    Well, we finally got them to tell us what was in it. It puts your canola experience to shame. Cottonseed oil and Accent seasoning (pure MSG). The last time I went there, I passed on the salad. Much to my surprise, the gastro-intestinal distress that I always experience within 20 minutes of leaving (and always attributed to the huge amount of beef I ate) did not appear.

  24. I can get beef suet from my farmer, render it, and make souffle potato slices from a Jacques Pepin recipe. It’s a wonderful treat, but it’s hard to keep that much rendered beef fat on hand.

    That’s the real problem with deep frying. It is so time consuming to render all that fat.
    My heritage pork farmer sells fat for 1.00/lb, and one pound usually nets me about a cup of pure white rendered lard.

    I treat it and value it like gold.

    I remember the fryer from my baking days. We cleaned it once a week- but the oil (partially hydrogenated soybean oil) was never really replaced, only filtered through a diatomaceous earth filter.

    Almost got fired for warning customers about it.

  25. Amazing post, Dr. Mike! It is very relevant for me, as I have been avoiding restaurants recently for this exact reason. Avoiding gluten and excessive sugar is difficult enough at restaurants, but doable; but avoiding trans fats and Omega-6 oils is next to impossible unless you “bull your way into the kitchen,” as you said!

    So I don’t eat out anymore, unless it’s a steak with butter and a potato. And even then, I fear that a restaurant could find a way to hide some bad fats somewhere in there.

    Ignorance is bliss, and the truth hurts. But it’s the truth, and thank you for making it so clear that we can’t avoid it.

    Regarding mayonnaise: Order some macadamia nut oil! Macadamia nut oil is 80%+ monounsaturated and extremely low in Omega-6 linoleic acid (lower than olive oil.) It is very stable and has a mild, pleasantly nutty taste.

  26. I just finished reading “Righteous Porkchop” by Nicolette hahn Niman.
    The book makes the case, among others, that small family farms are not economically inefficient, as big agra insists. The author, interestingly, is a vegetarian who marries a cattle farmer.
    I highly recommend it.

    • I started reading the book about four months ago, but the author’s self righteousness got on my nerves. I laid it down and haven’t picked it back up.

  27. what’s the difference between PUFA that gets oxidized from high heat, and PUFA that goes rancid over time at room temp? I’ve also read that canola gets affected by light, so I keep mine away from light. (Note that flaxseed oil is usually kept in black bottles.)

  28. We used to eat at a ZuZu’s in Houston when I was in college and just out. Loved it! Terrific food. Too bad it didn’t survive.

  29. “Readers? Any experiences to relate?”

    Expeller – Pressed coconut oil is great for the deep fryer. The coconut scent is gone but the oil is still healthy.


    Also, if MD’s mayo seems a little too “olive oily” use avocado oil instead. About the same omega 3,6,9, profile as olive oil, but the avocado makes better mayo in my opinion.

    Really good avocado oil here:


    They used to sell mayo but got out of the business – too bad, it was Wonderful!


    Philip Thackray

    • I love avocado oil, and always use it with balsamic vinegar for salad dressing. I also think it makes a good mayonnaise, but it takes $7 worth of avocado oil (2/3 c.) to make a small batch of mayo. That’s why I tried the almond oil. 2/3 c. costs $2.75. I still have to try the “light” olive oil, which I hope will also be more reasonably priced. I did try two kinds of macadamia nut oil (what Nathaniel recommended) but I didn’t like that flavor in mayo. One kind tasted too “nutty” and the other kind just didn’t taste right to me.

      • This is going to sound odd to most, but my solution for this exact problem was quail eggs. You can make eensy batches of mayo using the yolk of a quail egg! I actually started raising quail just for their eggs, and honestly, I believe just about anyone who can’t raise chickens could raise quail. We brood and raise them indoors when the weather is bad, even. If you only have hens, they don’t make noise, and they’re easy to care for. Hard boiled quail eggs are also delicious pickled, and the perfect size to toss in a child’s lunch or snack box.

  30. I have a deep fryer full of coconut oil. Yes, it does foam up…but all that really means is you simply only put less oil than the minimum fill line in the fryer.

    I’ve got nothing but rave reviews from everyone I’ve served food cooked in coconut oil.

    You can literally see the difference in your fryer too…before discovering paleo diet principles, I used to have a fryer full of canola oil. That stuff left a yellow-brownish residue over every part of the fryer lid, filter, and any other part exposed to the frying steam.

    The coconut oil leaves no residue.

    When I switched to it, I basically threw out the old fryer with it’s canola residue stains, and got a brand new fryer and filled it up with the coconut oil.

    It still looks brand new, despite having fried hundreds of times with it.

    • Dave, do you have a Mail order source for coconut oil in larger quantities? Here in the states, on the east coast anyway, it can only be found in small containers and is very expensive, usually around a dollar an ounce. I image a small deep fryer would take at least 45 oz? I never had a deep fryer. I am curious about the reusing of the oil. Especially since cooking proteins in it, I would think all kinds of bacteria would be festering in it; is it not a concern because of the heat? Is there no reason to be concerned about reusing the oil?                                                                  

      • No, I buy it from the grocery store here…and yes, it is very expensive. The good thing is that the oil does not degrade from heat (as long as you don’t let your fryer get too hot.), so it’s alright to use and re-use it over and over again.

        Here in HI, a 12 oz. jar of refined, expellar-pressed/extra virgin coconut oil runs around $9 – $12. It took me 4 jars to initially fill up my fryer. Not cheap.

        But than, even if you fry every day, you only need to add a new jar every 2 weeks or so to replace the oil lost by food absorption.

        As for germs? I’ve been using my coconut oil in my fryer for 2 and a half years now…no problems whatsoever. When it cools down, coconut oil hardens into a solid, so it’s easily covered and stored. When you heat it up, it melts back into a liquid and it doesn’t look or smell like it’s degraded at all.

        Also, you will most likely want to buy a small, hand held strainer with a mesh, so you can clean out the food particles that will accumulate with use. Wait about 10 minutes after you’ve unplugged the fryer and the oils cooled a bit, but not yet begun to congeal, and you can dip the strainer in and clean out all the food particles.

        Here are some dishes my wife and I have made with our coconut oil fryer: egg rolls, almond-flour coated chicken, sweet potato french fries, our own tortilla chips (I may eat low-carb 90% of the time, but I simply refuse to give up my corn tortilla chips with salsa when we make our own mexican food…) and almond-flour coated onion rings.

        Here’s one thing I noticed about frying with coconut oil – whenever I used to eat out at restaurants and order the deep fried appetizers, like the “blossom” onion rings, egg rolls and french fries, I would always get to a point where my stomach felt upset by eating too much deep fried fare.

        I have yet to experience that from eating anything fried in coconut oil.

    • Dave, do you use the coconut oil over and over and over? Does it hold up pretty well?

      I have been using peanut oil, on the theory/hope/supposition that it’s less industrially processed than canola or soybean, but this post and comment thread gives me renewed inspiration to find something better. Less PUFAtastic.

      I use it over and over and over, occasionally straining it, and swapping in some fresh oil when it gets too broken down and dark. Also adding to the pot as the oil level gradually moves lower. (But I never use ALL fresh oil — some used oil is needed for proper frying. Something about chemistry, I forget exactly — I read the explanation either in McGee’s Food And Cooking, or the book How To Read a French Fry, or both.)

      I’m hoping I could use coconut oil in this way, so that I could afford it!

      To the person who was concerned about bacteria: coconut oil is renowned for its antibacterial properties.

      Also, is there a scientist in the house who can tell us whether bacteria can survive a 375 degree drubbing?

      • It wouldn’t surprise me if cryptosporidium spores could live through deep frying–they seem to live through almost anything. I shouldn’t think much else would survive though. (But I’m not a scientist, so I suggest either waiting for a definitive answer or finding a doctor friend who can run a lab test on some of your old oil.)

    • I tried a bit of stir-frying with coconut butter but that left a lot of thick, brown residue. I would love to use more coconut, but I haven’t a clue what I’m doing with it.

    • Thanks for the information, I always wondered if coconut oil was well suited for deep frying.

      Can you tell me, because of the expense, how often does this need to be changed?

  31. How about palm oil for deep frying? It’s reasonably cheap compared to rendered animal fats.

    I’ve had an urge to find a good quality small deep fryer for home, for the occasional treat, but for the most part, I’ve eliminated vegetable oils from my cooking — but on the other hand, some of the stuff I use typically for cooking (lard – and not the partially hydrogenated crap – or duck fat) tends to be more expensive or scarce (if I’ve rendered it myself.)

    • Mike, I use a two-quart cast iron saucepan. It is the best deep fryer system I’ve ever used.

      I cover it when not in use and use a digital thermometer for the temperature.

      Unless you leave it in the rain for several months, or shatter it between a mallet and anvil, this deep fryer will last you and your descendants for thousands of years. In contrast, a dedicated deep fryer with built-in electronics and other parts seem only to last a couple of years or so.

      For the few occasions it’s not capacious enough, I transfer the oil into a chicken fryer or Dutch oven. And if you find yourself not frying, you will still have a wonderful cooking pot.

  32. What about bacon fat? Would anyone know if this would be good or bad for frying, either deep or simply pan, and also what the health effects might be?

  33. Great post Dr. Mike. As I have said before many times the resemblance of you and Anthony Bourdain is incredible. You in the Chef outfit solidifies it for me! :) Interesting facts about eating out and oils. Definitely doing our best to eat at home as much as possible especially with our SousVide Supreme! Fantastic Food and Extremely Healthy! :)

  34. The problem with omega 6 isn’t just that we are getting too much of it, but the fact it actively displaces omega 3.

    See Linoleic acid is associated with lower long-chain n-6 and n-3 fatty acids in red blood cell lipids of Canadian pregnant women.

    We need more omega 3, in particular low brain DHA is linked to poorer brain development and function, this research shows the more linoleic acid (omega 6) the mother consumed, the less DHA they had in their red blood cells.

  35. some news coverage for you in the UK:
    BTW I tried and all-meat diet last year and I ended up being diagnosed with a number of number of nutritional deficiencies (B12, folate, zinc, chromium, c, iron, tryptophan… umm there’s some more but my memory fails me at the moment) now I don’t think the all-meat diet caused it but it would explain why it did not solve my weight problems and in fact made me fatter. Just a thought for any of the other readers doing everything right but not getting any results. I’m hoping now I’m on the right supps, the diet will get better results.

      • Maldigestion? Broken Methylation Cycle? Bug? My 8 year foray into vegetarianism…. 10 years ago though. I guess it was all bad timing and my collapse just coincided with the diet…. who knows. My Dr is also rather baffled but the more I read about B12, I’m not at all, once depleted it becomes a self-perpetuating situation. I also took up to 12 HCL pills each meal with no burn…. not even so much as mild warmth – I’m now down to 1-2/meal almost 10 months later. I know you’re a big reader and a good book if you’re interested http://www.amazon.com/Could-Be-B12-Epidemic-Misdiagnoses/dp/1884956467/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1271080273&sr=1-1

        • Thanks for the book tip. I’ll give it a look. I’m always on the watch for B12 deficiency, however. It’s much more common that most people – end especially most doctors – believe.

      • The only way I could think of that happening is if someone had a problem absorbing vitamin B12 in the small intestine, in which case the meat diet wouldn’t be responsible. I eat a meat/eggs/dairy diet with some veg and fruit here and there and whenever I punch my food intake into Fitday, I come up with a B12 count of well over 100% of the RDA because it’s so abundant in those foods. And tryptophan, iron, zinc – these are all abundant in meats, especially red meats. So the only things I could think of are that the person on the diet had serious problems absorbing nutrients or the lab numbers were way wrong.

      • Back when I became a vegetarian, I did a lot of B12 research. I recall reading about some rare genetic mutations that effected certain people’s ability to digest and absorb B12. I don’t know how rare that is, but I do remember the article saying the subjects got very little B12, no matter how much they digested.

  36. I’m a member of this natural food co-op, which has a vegetarian policy. I know a lot of the folks who shop there regularly are not vegetarians though. I used to be a vegetarian, until I started to come to the conclusion that many of us have bought a lot of establishment ideas on this subject and become useful fools of big processed food industry companies. It’s no longer at all clear to me that vegetarianism is anything other than an “orthogonal” variable, ie, largely irrelevant to health, and even potentially downright dangerous, if it lulls us into thinking things like, “Look, it must be good, it’s all vegetarian,” or better yet, “all vegan!”

    I know a lot of the baked goods at the co-op I shop at are prepared with vegetable shortening, and loaded with canola and or “modified palm.” Maybe they aren’t partially hydrogenated. But who really knows? The bakers can’t really say; they have no clue who produced the stuff in their own products. Canola, afterall, is an industrial product made by a huge corporation in a huge factory.

    How on earth did the “anticorporate,” “vegetarian,” “support-your-local-economy” crowd get duped into buying heavily processed cooking oils from huge corporate manufacturers instead of locally produced butter from grassfed cows? How did the anti-establishment folks get sucked into supporting the very same ugly corporate food establishment they thought they were against? Was/is vegetarianism a Trojan Horse??

  37. Hi
    Could I ask about lard – I have a vague memory from childhood about the “lard pot” which I think all fat from cooking was poured into. Is is ok to mix fats? And if not, how does it work if you are using butter or oil which will get mixed in anyway. How long does it keep? Can you keep using it over & over – that is pour further excess back into the same pot?

  38. In the 80s when I was a student, I worked in several restaurants, from fast food to waiting tables in better restaurants. So I’ve seen the other side of the swinging door, too. With that background and the eye-opening things I’ve learned about fats & oils over the past 5 years or so, I’ve increasingly operated on the assumption that restaurant meals of any quality contain lots of hidden (& probably highly oxidized) PUFA vegetable oils that I’d rather not consume in quantity, if not avoid entirely. Thanks for the confirmation. My inquiries have also led me to believe most restaurants now use concentrated commercial broth bases in their “homemade” soups and sauces, too, not long-simmered real broth made from bones & meat scraps. Sigh.

    We’ve cut back drastically on dining out, but not for budget reasons so much. Instead I preparing our meals at home with Real Food. I don’t stress too much when I do dine out, but I still do try to make good choices to the best of my ability.

    As much as I try not to be one of those people who make a huge deal out of special ordering everything, but between avoiding hidden gluten, added sugars, and industrial veg cooking oils, it can be a delicate balancing act when inquiring about the ingredients, esp when traveling overseas and not speaking the local language (and sometimes we are “hosted” by my husband’s overseas friends and colleagues, which increases my sensitivity to the common image of Americans as “overly diet-conscious”. Recently while traveling in Poland, I had the pleasure of trying lots of traditional Polish foods including “schmaltz” (lard seasoned with bacon and onions). Our hosts were surprised I would try schmaltz as they expected Americans to be horrified by traditional natural fats, but they were amused that I ate it with a spoon because I don’t eat bread. But even in Poland, where there doesn’t seem to be a fear of traditional fats, I noticed a lot of veg oils are consumed in the many fried foods and snacks. Fried potatoes seem to come with everything, though my requests for a salad or sauerkraut instead was usually cheerfully accommodated.

    I do a couple of things to reduce veg oil consumption when dining out. I ask for EVOO & vinegar instead of a prepared salad dressing (even if the salad dressings are prepared on site). If EVOO isn’t an option, I’ve eaten many salads “naked”, but frankly, and oily dressing does improve a salad’s taste, texture, and “swallowability” (not to mention improves absorption of the fat soluble vitamins in greens), so sometimes I request dressing on the side and I dip my forktip into the dressing container (not scooping) before spearing a forkful of salad. I always have plenty of dressing left over, so it seems a good compromise.

    Also, when ordering eggs, restaurants liberally use a “griddle grease” that is hydrogenated veg oil because it keeps the very hot griddle “clean” for a long time and doesn’t brown and burn like butter can. As nicely as possible, I ask for my “over-easy” eggs to be cooked in butter instead of in oil. Usually this request is accommodated. If cooking in butter isn’t possible, I don’t stress about it, but I usually order an extra egg and eat mostly yolks and not much egg white. I’ll also make sure to add some butter at the table to melt over the egg yolk.

    I rarely eat anything deep-fried anymore (thereby avoiding gluten, excess carbs, and the nasty oils) and I encourage this habit with my family, too, though my son still lobbies for french fries occasionally. A couple weeks ago while traveling in England he had (unbattered) fish with chips (thick french fries) and the frying oil was obviously very old as the chips tasted and smelled like paint (I could smell it across the table). Those chips went into the trash.

    As much as I love mayonnaise, I generally avoid it when dining out because unlike the OO mayo I make and use liberally at home, prepared mayo is always made with soy or canola oil.

    Before I order coffee, I ascertain that there is a real dairy option and not just non-dairy creamer (liquid or powder), as these are laden with hydrogenated veg oils as well as other crap ingredients). If fake coffee “lightener” is the only option, I order tea instead (which I like plain).

    Even so, when we travel and necessity requires that we dine out for the majority of our meals, I know we are consuming a greater amount of veg oil even when making an effort to avoid the obvious sources. I try to make sure we are consuming some extra omega-3 rich foods to balance the higher omega-6 consumption, or else we take extra omega-3 supplement instead.

  39. Hi Dr. Eades: Just purchased you new book “Six Week Cure….” from Amazon. I’ll get it in a few days but had a question. Is it OK to add fish oil or krill oil to the protein drink mix? I have some of Dr. Sears fish oil and when that ran out I was thinking of changing to krill oil which I have heard good things about. I’m turning 60 in a few weeks and am looking forward to going on the program.


  40. I ordered organic virgin coconut oil from greenpastures.org A huge gallon container was $39 I also ordered their grassfed butter ghee/coconut oil combination. I think I paid around $10 for Fed Ex shipping. Besides using the coconut oil for cooking and baking, I have been using it as body moisturizer. I know that I would pay way more for a gallon of lotion than $39.

  41. As always, Dr. Mike, thanks for the useful (though scary) information. This coming week marks the first anniversary of our switch to a low-carb food plan, and we have no desire to return to our former starch-laden way of eating.

    On another subject entirely, do you know why Dr. A’s blog (Livable Low Carb) can no longer be accessed? I know you were a reader of her blog since I have seen your comments posted there. I miss her!

    • I have no idea why Dr. A went walkabout. I get her blog on my Google reader, and don’t click on unless there is a new post. Since there haven’t been any new posts, I haven’t clicked until you asked, so I didn’t know her blog was down. I’ll see what – if anything – I can find out. Anyone out there know?

  42. gosh I love this blog

    I love mayo as well

    the one I use I buy from mail order, from wilderness family naturals in MN

    it’s made from coconut oil, evoo, and some sesame oil, all organic, best mayo I’ve had

    I’m on business and because of this article I am avoiding eating out, just going to a high end grocery store and stocked up on grassfed beef, organic pastured ghee, cheeses (my new weakness which slows down fat loss on the days I have it) and organic eggs – seems to be working well

    I miss the fun of going out but honestly not getting sick (which I usually do) and shaping up makes me feel a whole lot better

  43. Anna, I love mayonnaise too, but instead of making it I buy *Hain* brand kosher mayo. It comes two ways, 100% safflower or 100% canola, and the rest of the ingredients are natural and sans preservatives. I buy it at Whole Paycheck.

    • LCForevah,
      Thanks for the suggestion but I love making mayo at home. It takes perhaps 5 min and I can practically do it in my sleep. I rarely measure anymore now that I have mastered the basic ratios and can make many variations (citrus, curry, herb, bacon/horeseradish, etc.). I get great “backyard” eggs from a neighbor’s coworker and the yolks make really great mayo.

      I make at least one batch (about a cup) a week, sometimes two. It’s rare to not use it all up as plain mayo or in a sauce, but on the rare occasions it gets older than a week or so, I toss it and start over. I am careful to not cross-contaminate with utensils,though.

  44. Dr Mike, can you please comment on the following link:


    I recently watched Dr Oz show and couldnt believe my eyes. He invited a doctor who from Stanford University who conducted a study using Interleukin Genetic Inc proving that a person who is on the gentically correct diet lost almost 3 times more weight. The shocking part came later in the show when Dr Oz acknowledged that people who tested genetically positive for low carb would benefit tremendously being on high fat, moderate protein and low carb diet. he even said the carb intake for those people should be in the range of 30-60 grams. I recently ordered a test from the Interluekin genteics that Stanford used in its study to see if it is indeed accurate. I know that I do best on low carb, no doubt and I also know that my fasting insulin was at one point in high 20s being on high carb low fat diet. Just curious what you think of this new tool called genetic testing to see who should be on what diet according to our genes. The test is not cheap, costing $149 but for me it is worth it. Have you heard anything about this test? Thanks!

  45. Dr. Mike,

    I know there’s not enough time to deal with all the bad advice handed out by ‘nutritionists,’ but if you get a moment look at this short article. She starts out defending fat and then goes places I just don’t understand. Saturated fat impairs insulin and leptin? And what about the Omega 6 and Omega 3 ratios? And, of course, high fiber!


  46. Pingback: Gray Areas
  47. We never eat out, or snack out, or have cocktails out. I make every thing at home, and we have such a good time preparing and serving dishes and snacks and drinks whose recipes we have perfected over the years. We buy one carefullly raised grass-fed beef per year, and I buy organic chicken and occasional organic pork and lamb at stores, as well as organic produce and eggs.

    My husband finished a 42 year military career last year, and we ate out occasionally during his last tour of duty at a base in Florida. I was always deeply surprised to see large family groups at noisy buffet style restaurants (where they serve lots of meat) observing family milestones such as anniversaries and birthdays. I would HATE having my intimate family times observed so publicly, without our time-honored family favorite dishes, but that seems to be a minority view anymore. The restaurant tab for a soiree like that must be very high, but I guess that is not a consideration.

  48. Anna-Schmaltz is chicken fat. Pure golden ecstasy. The gribbenes (cracklings) are prepared with onion. Lard and bacon and onions=schmaltz? Not where I come from.

  49. Surely trans fats, resulting from hydrogenation of cis fats, are simply trans fats, period.

    It is a bit like pregnancy, either one is or is not pregnant.

    “A little bit pregnant” makes about as much sense as “A little bit trans fat”.
    To claim that a certain oil is “such and such” percentage trans fat is nonsense. It makes about as much sense as someone saying “I am only “such and such pregnant”. DOH!

    Once a cis fat has been hydrogenated it becomes a trans fat, all those curves in its molecular structure have been straightened out to resemble (horrors) a saturated fat.

    What our cellular receptors make of these faux plastic fats is unknown.

    One can be sure whatever the outcome it will be wrong.

    The body is required to make a decision about a saturated fat look-alike that is simply a PUFA in drag.

    Given the importance of fats in cell wall structure it is hardly surprising that diseases associated with cell wall dysfunction are proliferating.

    Any hydrogenated fat/oil should be avoided. Percentages of trans fats are meaningless.

    All hydrogenated oils/fats are PUFAs in drag.

    Be careful of things purporting to be something else.

    It could be bad for your health.

  50. I eat out for lunch several times a week – so this is like a survival lesson for me. Thanks.

    As regards frying oils, anyone have any comments on peanut oil? I know it’s not as good as coconut, but don’t know about the potential for oxidation, trans fat conversion, etc. Thanks, Paul

  51. Men’s Health magazine (April 2010, page 97) rates canola oil, “Near perfect Omega ratio”. And it goes on, “This should be your go-to option for everyday cooking.”

    My take from this is… Trust no one. Or, everybody’s just guessing.

    We’re doomed. (unless we exercise and don’t eat too much crap)

  52. Great story Doc Eades. You’re an entrepreneur after my own heart. The important thing is you didn’t let this one zuzu experience stop you! Interestingly, I ran across the franchise failure rate list and surprisingly Subway is number one with something like a 5% franchise failure rate. When I’m forced, due to time to eat there I go for the chicken breast footlong and feed the bun to the ducks.

  53. Dr Mike, a coworker of mine is contemplating going on a low carb lifestyle, however she is a vegetarian. She does eat occasionally eggs and milk products but no animal meat whatsoever. She asked me if its feasible to do it for her given the fact that she is vegetarian and quite overweight? What would be the best way for her to go? I dont know of any way for her to increase fat consumption and I know many low carb experts advise against being on low fat high protein low carb? Have you dealt with low carb vegetarians in your practice? Do they fare well on this journey?

  54. It’d be interesting if the major shift in our national waistline could be attributed more to our restaurant habits than to any other single factor.

    I’m sure Amy’s a wonderful person, but recently she ran a column on her blog about women with moustaches, and hosted an entire discussion in the comments about how dirty and unkempt and nasty such women are, *just because they have facial hair.* There is more than one way to be rude, and I have been just as offended in my life by people who are polite but who say nasty things with nice words, as I have been by trolls who comment in l33tsp34k and derail entire conversations. Even more offended, to tell you the truth, because I expect more out of people with a better command of manners and language.

  55. What about the cheap lard you buy in the supermarket? Is it healthy or has it been processed with heat and chemicals and hydrogenated etc?

    • Supermarket lard is generally hydrogenated (i.e. trans fats). It’s listed that way in the ingredients, so you can check before buying.

  56. I’ve made mayonnaise using coconut oil and EVOO half-and-half. I love it.

    There are many places on the internet you can order coconut oil by the gallon.

    Tropical Traditions
    Wilderness Family Naturals
    Mountain Rose Herbs


    Watch out for the shipping costs, because they’ll sneak up on you just when you think you got a good deal.

  57. The key is telling your body there won’t be any more famines. There are two primary ways of doing this:

    1. Eat real food. When you’re eating quality food and it’s assimilated efficiently, the body begins to receive what it needs to function at its best. This is one very important step in turning off the famine response. The presence of nutrient-dense food in the diet signals to the body that there is plenty of food available and there’s no need to pile on fat stores. Digestion is also an important part of this equation because you want to make sure the real food you eat is assimilated properly. Including raw and cultured foods in your diet on a regular basis can improve your digestive health and ensure you’re getting the most out of your food.

    2. Reduce stress. Another folly of modern society is the intense level of stress most of us are exposed to, often since very early childhood. Stress induces the famine response as much as dieting. After all, the body doesn’t distinguish between types of stresses; the same biochemical reactions occur whether you’re stressed by your work, a difficult marriage, lack of real food, poor sleep habits or any number of stressors. So it’s very important to address this and take the appropriate steps to reducing and managing the stress in your life. Read more about the stress connection to weight loss here and here and here.

    Without addressing these two components, a healthy body composition is virtually impossible to achieve. Plus, healthy food choices reduce stress, and reducing stress makes it easier to choose healthier food. So making one small change at a time really can add up, and the right choices will come more naturally over time. Granted, this involves patience and won’t produce results like “Lose 10 pounds in one week!” But it will set you on the path to lasting health.

  58. This is a great blog which caught my attention because we are going on an extended camping, moteling, cruising vacation this summer — the first since changing our WOE. We really haven’t ventured into a restaurant for a few months now, but we can’t avoid it on the road. We really need to learn what to avoid in restaurants, and try to cook as much food as possible when we can on our little propane camping stove. I’m going to try and ask for the fried eggs and meat to be cooked in butter, and try and get olive oil and vinegar for salad dressings. We’ll carry coconut oil with us, along with other snacks, but at some point we will have to eat food cooked in oil — it seems like such a shame that I am focusing on this rather than the beautiful nature I will experience.

  59. I enjoy your blog, especially the straightforwardness of it.

    When eating out, what are the healthiest things to eat? I usually order hamburger steak (no gravy), chicken breast, or boiled seafood of some type. (I don’t like steak.) Now, after reading your post, I’m wondering if there are somehow hidden oils in that as well. What’s your opinion on this?

    • With most restaurant food, you’re probably going to get some oils that you’d rather not have. Probably not that big a deal, though, if you don’t eat out constantly. You could probably avoid them if you stuck to boiled seafood.

  60. I think that if you are truly trying to change your eating habits learning how to shop organically would definatley be a much healthier choice than eating out. I have worked in different restaurants and to increase the taste of their food loads of fats,creams and sugars are a must.In my opinion you can only expect restaurants to cook in this way since they inquire a certain reputation for the taste of their foods.

  61. Thanks for a great post!

    No one has mentioned olive oil. Frankly, I use my cold pressed olive oil to fry everything in. Is this wrong and does the oil oxidize? What about ghee? Can I pan fry things with that?

  62. I am so obsessed with your work. I have all of your books on hold at the library, on a waitlist, though. I’m wondering, am I supposed to make sure I don’t eat too many calories each day, or do I just eat what I want (cheese, meat, eggs, milk, 1/2 & 1/2, etc) as long as it’s not carbs? THANKS!!!

  63. I remember Zuzu’s! We had one in Memphis. It was owne by a very nice Pakistani gentleman. My whole family loved eating there and we became fairly close with the owner. As time went by, we were very sad to see the business die a slow and painful death. I felt so terrible for the owner and his wife who were clearly doing everything they knew to do to stay afloat. -Very sad. I wonder if it was a problem partially caused by poor franchise support or policies?

  64. Years ago, I believe it was around 2002, Mary Enig and I were invited to give a presentation on fats and oils at the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). We explained how the chefs should be frying in tallow and lard, and using olive oil for the salad dressing. We presented all the information on the harmfulness of vegetable oils–both liquid and partially hydrogenated–and we urged the chefs to do the right thing, for themselves and for their customers. Then came the question and answer period. There were at least a dozen “plants” in the audience, mostly dieticians in league with the vegetable oil industry. They were all over us with criticism, how could we be promoting animal fats full of cholesterol, blah, blah, blah. We learned later that IACP got a real dressing down for having us there, with threats to remove all their corporate sponsorships. The next year, someone from Nestle became the administrator of IACP, Nestle paying the salary. Such is the heavy handed influence of the vegetable oil industry that they even were able to prevent a very dear friend of mine, who became the president of IACP for one yer (the presidents serve for one year only), from having me speak at their annual conference, even though she completely agrees with me about the importance of using animal fats. This is an evil industry. However, the good news is that those who consume vegetable oils will eventually die out–vegetable oils cause infertility and animal fats are necessary for successful reproduction–and then those wise enough to have stuck with animal fats will be in the majority and will be able to outlaw such toxic ingredients in the food supply. Vegetable oils are to western culture what lead pipes and lead cookware were to the Roman culture, the stealth factor leading to the wipeout of the civilization. Fortunately, enough people will remain to raise a new culture out of the ashes of industrial food.

  65. My husband and I have been on the 6 week cure for 5 days and are feeling total lack of energy. We are taking the recommended vitamins, potassium, and magnesium, but don’t feel good. We’re not hungry, just weak. I’m dealing with some dizziness too. Blood pressure is a little low, but blood sugar is fine. Husband’s blood pressure is down from before he started but is normal, blood sugar is fine. Any suggestions to help us through the first two weeks. We have followed the blood type diet, I’m an O and he’s an A. Would like to continue this cure but need some assistance.

  66. Greetings Dr. Eades,
    I was just introduced to this site although I read your books a few years ago. If you have any interest in further conversation: my diet is predominantly red meat with a lot of eggs, fruit and dairy. Caloric intake is about 60% dietary fat with most of that saturated fat. I am 58 and have not seen a doctor in over 30 years. I have been studying diet & health for over 43 years and you seem to be closer to the truth than anyone else I have read. Keep up the good work.
    Kyle Tarpoff

  67. Thanks for such an informative blog. Your article “metabolism-and-ketosis” has been particularly helpful! It took a few evenings to read all the comments but it was very worthwhile.

    I’ve always heard that Polyunsaturated fats were the most healthy. Is it just that Polyunsaturated fats become unhealthy when heated, but are healthy otherwise? What about mono-unsaturated fats?

    Would I be correct in taking away that butter and coconut oil would be healthier for cooking with? I’ve currently been using olive oil since I’d always read that was healthiest.

    I’m also wondering if a diet higher in overall grams of fat is less healthy than one highest in protein. I’m eating a low-calorie ketogenic diet and many articles I’ve read suggest moderate protein and high fat.

    Thanks in advance!

  68. There’s a restaurant in Chandler, AZ called Heart Attack Grill. I’ve never been there, but I’ve read about it. It advertises itself on being obnoxiously unhealthy (by conventional wisdom), so they cook everything in lard. Even the burger buns are coated in lard. The irony is, it’s probably actually a healthier restaurant to eat at than most others (assuming you avoid the soda and unfiltered cigarettes).

  69. For many years I’ve preached to any one who would listen; fat doesn’t necessarily make people fat, sugar makes people fat. You discussion of the kinds of vegetable oil, fatty livers and alcohol consumption was particularly interesting to me, in light of alcohol being basically, sugar. I wonder if the same coloration holds for soda pop consumption along with these terrible fats that are served up in restaurants.

    Thinking about how many people eat french fries fried in canola oil and a big soda pop to wash it down.