The truth is coming out, and the truth is that fat was never the culprit in the diseases it has been condemned for causing. In fact, there are many positive health benefits to eating reasonable amounts of good fats.
But what are "good fats"? How do you find them, and how do you tell if the ones you find are good or bad? After all, there's nothing on the label that tells you if the fat is good or bad for you, is there?
Actually, there is. The way in which a fat is processed can tell you a lot about whether it is a healthy substance to consume, or an unhealthy one - devoid of nutrients, or even downright harmful.
Extraction: Obviously unless you are eating the whole food, you can't avoid extracted oils, but you can make sure they are the healthier kind, by choosing only expeller-pressed oils (most will say on the container if they are expeller-pressed). If it doesn't say expeller-pressed, it may say extra-virgin, which is also usually safe.
When at all possible, choose oils in dark or opaque containers, which preserve freshness longer, and help prevent rancidity and oxidation from occurring.
Hydrogenation & Homogenization: Avoid at all costs! (You will never eat margarine again after reading the section on hydrogenation in Fallon's book - Yuck!) Consumption of hydrogenated fats has been linked to pretty much everything there is a drug for out there....
Here is just a partial list: Sexual dysfunction, increased blood cholesterol, lowered immune function, cancer, diabetes, obesity, birth defects, sterility, and many more. As Fallon states, "the popularity of margarine and shortening over butter represents a triumph of advertising duplicity over common sense."
Homogenized fats are also more susceptible to oxidation and rancidity, and may contribute to the development of heart disease.*
So What Kind of Fats Should You Eat?
Firstly, most fats are best for you in their natural form, meaning, as a part of the food God put them in to begin with. This is a great reason to make sure you're eating whole foods in their natural, unprocessed form - or as little processed as possible. (Remember my standard maxim! "Eat what God made, and eat it the way He made it!" If we would all just follow this one simple principle in all that we eat, our country would be one of the healthiest, instead of one of the least healthy developed nations in the world!)
If you must eat extracted fats, be sure they are safely and minimally processed.
Organic butter from grass-fed animals, extra-virgin olive oil, expeller-pressed flax seed oil, and extra-virgin coconut oil or palm oil are all good choices. Sesame and peanut oil are okay occasionally, but consumption should be limited due to high levels of Omega-6 fatty acids.
What About Animal Fats?
Again, if you can eat them as part of the animal, that is usually best. Eat eggs whole, as this is the only way they make up a complete protein, plus egg yolks from pasture-raised hens contain tons of great vitamins like A and D, and healthy Omega-3 fats as well.
Some rendered animal fats can be good for cooking, as most hold up well to high temperatures. Duck and goose fat, chicken fat, lard, and beef or mutton tallows are all fine for cooking - just make sure the animals are organically raised and grass-fed! Toxins accumulate in fats, so conventionally raised animals who are fed and dosed with many chemicals, drugs, etc., are not healthy to eat - especially their fat.
Fats from animals fed on their natural diet of grass and plants typically contain much higher levels of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as more vitamins and antioxidants. Basically, if the animal the fat comes from was truly healthy, eating a healthy natural diet of the foods they were meant to eat, their fat will be healthy too.
So there you have it! If you've ever wondered whether fat is truly bad for you, or what kinds of fat you should be eating, hopefully these two articles have helped clear up some of the confusion. (If you missed last week's post on The Low-Fat Myth, be sure to check that out as well to get the whole story!)
Despite the current "conventional wisdom" being many years behind the times when it comes to understanding the role that dietary fat plays in the body, gradually the truth is starting come out. As quoted from the Medscape journal article referenced above, "the dietary recommendations that restrict saturated fats should be revised.... It is time to reevaluate the dietary recommendations that focus on lowering serum cholesterol, and to use a more holistic approach to dietary policy." Finally some true common sense!
For more on healthy and holistic living, be sure to explore this website, and stay tuned to this blog as we continue to unveil the myths that are making our population unhealthy and unhappy, and shine the light on the Truth about health!
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