4.18.2013

All about healthy fats


A book all about healthy fats?

I'm in love with this book. No, seriously, it's amazing. Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes by Jennifer McLagan is an ode to a vilified and much forgotten part of our food that deserves a resurgence. Her main motivation for writing the book is that, "There are stacks of cookbooks that tell us how to cut fat, lose the fat, and cook without fat, but none tells us how to enjoy fat."

This book isn't written by someone in the Paleo community, so you'll find some recipes with wheat in them, but her views on fat are right on the money. I want to endorse it as having some of the clearest explanations I've seen of how fat became the villain it is today, what the different kinds of fat are, and why fat is actually good for you. She breaks it down in a very easy to understand way which makes it especially useful for a beginner to this new (old) way of thinking. She hits the point right on the head by focusing on the benefits of eating saturated animal fats over the high percentage of polyunsaturated fat found in vegetable oils. (The book is from 2008, and I noticed a few points where she wasn't quite as enthusiastic about healthy saturated fats as we are with our Bulletproof Diet, but overall really appreciate her approach. She even talks about CLAs from grassfed animals!)

Animal Fat Comparison Chart:

Below is a chart, with information taken from the book, of the common varieties of animal fat and their fat content. If you look at beef and butter fat you'll be able to tell why Paleo-centric people often recommend them as dietary staples. Their extremely high saturated fat content compared to extremely low polyunsaturated makes them ideal for burning as energy, and building the cells in our bodies and brains. I've been using it as a reference which has been helping me keep a working knowledge of what I'm getting from the animal fat in my diet. Hopefully you'll find it useful too!

The numbers don't always add up to exactly 100% because of water and other solids.
Source: Fat

Main takeaway for me: Butter, beef, and lamb fats have the highest ratio of healthy saturated fat to less healthy polyunsaturated fat. A reminder that these are better choices than poultry or pork fats, which oxidize at lower temperatures and more quickly. (Plus, we know about the bonus of conjugated linoleic acid and other benefits of fats from pastured ruminants!)

Further exploration of healthy fats:

This book will answer many of your questions about why the right kinds of fat are extremely good for you. If you want a deeper look into the arguments for eating saturated fat and cholesterol, as well as an in depth history of how the medical establishment moved to recommending low fat diets check out Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It, by Gary Taubes, which is pretty much the definitive text on the subject for our current understanding.

4 comments:

  1. I love that side-by-side comparison of the composition of the fats. Quantifies how beef fat and butter are much better than poultry and other fats for saturated fat content!

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  2. Totally! When I get plenty of healthy fat I feel awesome and I've kept losing weight and putting on muscle.

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