Aug 4, 2010

Fats Do Not Make You Fat

Don't believe it? Rita O'Kelley has provide a great summary below of some of the information you can find in Nourishing Traditions about fat. Our modern society has so ingrained in us a fear of fat that the idea can be a little hard to abandon. That is until you start realizing that the majority of this "lowfat" food Americans are eating is highly processed additive laden stuff that our great grandparents would not recognize as real food. And that the fats which actually are bad for us are those which are not natural, but rather have been produced by this same food industry (like partially hydrogenate oil). Could all of this lowfat food fair, in fact, be benefitting industrial food producers more than the people consuming it? If you're having trouble dumping your skim milk and giving up the lowfat yogurt, perhaps Rita's post will get you interested enough to do some more research on your own. (By the way, the picture above is of 3lbs. of butter next to a loaf of homemade bread. I like to have a little bread with my butter...I'm serious.)
So what is good fat versus bad fat? Don’t laugh… I hear your wheels turning.

Fats from animal and vegetable sources provide a concentrated source of energy. As part of a meal, they slow down absorption so that we can go longer without eating, feeling more satisfied. i.e. prevent the “snack attack”.

Something is wrong with the theories we read in the popular press. Low fat diets do not work as America is more obese than ever. It is extremely important to choose fats wisely. Most people, especially infants and young children need more good fat in the diet.

Fatty acids are classified in this way:

Saturated: highly stable, do not normally go rancid, semisolid at room temperature, found in animal fats and tropical oils

Monounsaturated: Tend to be liquid at room temperature, relatively stable, do not go rancid easily, most common is oleic acid which is the main component of olive oil as well as from almonds, pecans, cashews, peanuts and avocados.

Polyunsaturated: Your body cannot make these fatty acids, thus they are called “essential”. They are liquid, even when refrigerated, go rancid easily, and should never be heated when cooking.

Fatty acids are also classified according to degree of saturation and their length:

Short-chain – found mostly in butterfat from cows and goats. They protect us from viruses, yeasts and pathogenic bacteria in the gut and contribute to a healthy immune system

Medium-chain – Found mostly in butterfat and tropical oils. Have antimicrobial properties, absorbed quickly for energy, contribute to healthy immune system.

Long-chain – Found in beef and mutton tallows, olive oil, animals fats,
Contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) found in evening primrose oil, borage and black currant oils.

Very-long-chain – Highly unsaturated, obtainable from organ meats, egg yolks, butter and fish oils. The most important is DGLA. Play important role in function of nervous system

The cause of heart disease is not animal fats and cholesterol but rather a number of factors in modern diets, including excess consumption of vegetable oils, hydrogenated fats, refined carbohydrates with sugar and white flour, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and the disappearance of fats from the food supply such as animal fats and tropical oils.

Extraction methods are very important. Low temperature expeller-expressed, unrefined oils are preferred and will last longer if stored properly.

Hydrogenation and high-heat extraction are to be avoided. Manufacturers start with cheap oils (corn, soy, cottonseed or canola) already rancid from the extraction process and mix them with tiny metal particles, then steam-clean to remove the rancid odor. Margarine’s natural color is grey and is removed with bleach. Dyes and strong flavors are then added back to make it resemble butter.

Good Fats:
Duck and Goose fat, Chicken fat
Lard (from pork)
Beef and mutton tallows
Olive oil (extra virgin)
Flax seed oil (unrefined)
Tropical oils (coconut, palm)
Real Butter (from pastured animals)

Fats to avoid:
Margarines and “fake” butter substitutes
Peanut oil, Sesame oil
Safflower, Canola, Corn, Sunflower, Soybean and Cottonseed oils
(it is difficult to find truly cold-pressed versions of these oils)

Avoid processed foods with hydrogenated and polyunsaturated fats.

Use traditional oils like extra virgin olive oil and small amounts of unrefined flax seed oil. Coconut oil is good for baking. Animal fats are good for frying. Eat egg yolks and other animal fats with the proteins to which they are attached. Eat good quality butter and eat it with your fresh vegetables and good breads. Your body will thank you!

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