Saturated Fats Not so Bad After All
Have we gone overboard with the removal of saturated fat from our diet? The diet dictocrats are pushing for ever more anorexic cuts. Not a piece of fat in sight. In fact the purchase of a fatty lamb chop can bring on an attack of anxiety and guilt. All because saturated fat has been so successfully maligned due to its supposed association with heart disease.
Yet if we look more closely at the science we find that nearly 50% of animal fat is actually oleic acid. This is the same "good" fat found in olive oil. The other components of the fat turn out to be either not bad for you or at least OK if you eat them with lots of antioxidant rich fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. In fact marinating meat in garlic, rosemary, thyme, lemon rind, red wine etc is a perfect way, not only of maximizing flavour, but also of protecting all fats from possible oxidation during the cooking process. The addition of olives or avocado to a side salad also enhances the fat balance of a meaty meal. If at all possible, source your meat from animals that are truly free-ranging on natural pastures. Like humans, animals actually are what they eat!
However the attitude towards eating saturated fat may be starting to soften as the results of ongoing research come to light. For example, scientists recently combined the findings of 21 different studies that included 347,747 people of which 11,006 developed coronary heart disease (CHD). Contrary to the general perception, intake of saturated fat was NOT associated with an increased risk of CHD, stroke or cardiovascular disease.
This is good news for many. Fat, including intramuscular marbling, is where all the flavour is in meat. Ultralean cuts of pork, turkey and other meats leave most people looking for the gravy or sauces such as apple and cranberry, inevitably full of added sugar. Without these additions such cuts taste dry and flavourless.
So let’s be a little less judgmental when it comes to animal fats and instead, try to pull back on the huge consumption of seed oils such as safflower, sunflower, corn and soyabean oils which have such a high requirement for antioxidants and can cause inflammation in the body. Also watch out for low fat foods which have substituted sugar for fat. Sugar is the great hidden fuel for the manufacture of fat by the body.