I had a health screen done recently as part of the health insurance we get through my husband’s employer. I was having a lovely conversation about my results with the person conducting the screen and for a while there, her and I were on the same page. Do I get regular exercise that includes strength training? Yes. Do I eat enough fruits and vegetables? Yes. When I eat grains, are they whole and unprocessed? You bet. Do I eat and drink non-fat dairy products? Negative.
This is what happened. The woman (who was a dietitian) waited for me to explain. While I love having this discussion with others, I knew I was taking up this very nice woman’s time and would hold up the health screen schedule she was trying to keep. I didn’t elaborate.
Dietitian: Well I’m sure you buy whole milk for your daughter, since she’s just over one. But then you and your husband drink skim milk, right?
Me: No. We drink whole milk.
Dietitian: Whole milk?
I totally know the recommendations. I learned them while I was earning my degree and preached them myself for a while. I even used to enjoy watery skim milk. I explained to my new health screener, dietitian friend that I understood where she was coming from and that I was completely aware of the recommendations put forth by nearly all nutrition organizations out there. I just don’t agree.
I wrote a post recently highlighting the benefits of butter. Butter is a lovely food and foods high in fat (even the dreaded saturated fat) is beneficial to our health in amounts higher than what the standard recommendations are.
Here is why we need fat and why our family does not limit saturated fat:
- Our bones need saturated fat to utilize calcium to stay strong
- Fat is essential for the absorption of certain nutrients (fat soluable vitamins like A, D, E, and K)
- Our immune system functions better when our diet contains ample amounts of fat.
- Our digestive system functions optimally and wards off harmful micro-organisms when we are getting enough of the short and medium chain fatty acids that come from saturated fat.
- You are most likely aware of the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, which come from things like wild caught salmon, nuts, and flax seed. Our body cannot properly utilize these essential fats if we haven’t consumed enough saturated fat
You can find more facts, included those listed above on the Weston A. Price website.
This world is full of fat, it’s not all created equal, and this is especially true for saturated fat. Saturated fat coming from vegetables and seeds that have been processed into what is being sold as “edible” oil is NOT good for us. This includes canola oil, which has been promoted for its heart healthy qualities. Read Dr. Mercola’s article about saturated fat (and coconut oil!), which further explains how unfortunately, all saturated fat has been given a bad name even though it truly is essential in our diet. Include the following high fat foods in your diet for better health:
- Butter from grass fed cows
- Eggs (yolks, yolks, yolks) from pastured chickens
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil (do not use in cooking)
- Lard (yes, lard)
- Grass fed beef
Fat is not something to avoid, as we’ve been told to do for so many years. Studies done with Pacific islanders show that even though they are getting 30-60% of their saturated fat from coconut oil, they have shown nearly non-existent rates of cardiovascular disease.
Something that isn’t discussed is the consequence of not eating enough saturated fat. A Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. This trial included 12,000 men and found that when saturated fat and cholesterol were reduced from the diet, their heart disease risk was decreased marginally, but their overall mortality from all other causes of death was higher. Other studies show that a decrease in fat reduction was linked to higher rates of cancer, suicide, violent death, and brain hemorrhage.
Just a few random thoughts to wrap up.
Fat doesn’t make you fat; it actually might help you lose weight.
Just because we can man make oil in a lab doesn’t mean we should.
Butter is delicious.
I am going to make lard cookies this week.
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