As crazy as it may sound, animal fat, or specifically saturated fat, is one of the most imperative nutrients to the human body. For over 3 decades, we have listened to people in white lab coats constantly repeat the same message like a broken record “saturated fats are bad and cause heart disease”, and as a nation, we have followed this advice with our eyes wide shut. As a result, sales of lean meats such as chicken breast, turkey, and red meat with the fat trimmed off has skyrocketed, while fatty cuts of meats such as ribeye & scotch fillet steaks, lamb chops, and pork seem to be a forbidden food only eaten by the rebellious and the ill-advised. Not only does the saturated fat hypotheses say that eating animal fat is like pressing the detonator on our own hearts, but animal fat supposedly is the food that makes us Uber fat, being that fat is 9 calories per gram compared to protein and carbohydrates which is 4 calories per gram. So what’s the big deal then! Stay away from animal fat and live a long, healthy, and lean life right?………….WRONG!! Don’t be fooled by the white devils (men in white lab coats), animal fat is your best friend. It’s time to surmount an offence in the saturated fat deliberation, Paleo Warrior style!
What Breast Milk Teaches Us About Animal Fat
Here is my first counter punch in the “saturated fats are bad” debate. I came across this fascinating piece of evidence from Paul Jaminet’s book The Perfect Health Diet, which is a fantastic book that I would recommend to anyone.
Let’s take a very close look at the composition of human breast milk, because as you will soon see, this line of evolutionary evidence will completely crush the idea that saturated fats are bad. If you didn’t know already, mother’s milk is the perfect dietary food for all babies. Due to evolutionary pressure, we know for sure that Mother Nature would’ve optimised human breast milk to make it a complete and perfect food for infants. But what will really give you goosebumps is the macronutrient ratio inside mother’s milk. First off, fat provides the majority of the milk’s calories, being 54 %, carbohydrates is the second largest calorie source, being 39 %, and protein provides the fewest calories, being 7%. So as you can see fat is the predominant macronutrient, governing both carbs and protein.
But Let’s Dig A Little Deeper Into The Tunnel. Here Is The Fatty Acid Profile Of Human Breast Milk:
Short And Medium Chain Saturated Fatty Acids – used to manufacture ketones to nourish the baby’s brain
Long-Chain Saturated Fatty Acids And Monounsaturated Fatty Acids – used to create the structural membranes in every cell of the human body
Omega-6 And Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
These fats play a special role in the body by adding flexibility to cells as well as playing a role in inflammatory and anti-inflammatory pathways.
We can clearly see that all kinds of fats play their role in the architecture and biological functioning of the newborn baby. Saturated fats, which is the fat we have all been told to fear, funnily enough, is the most important fat contained in breast milk. Short and medium-chain saturated fats make up 10.4%, while long-chain saturated fatty acids make up 34.2%. Without saturated fats, newborn babies, both animals and humans (well actually we are animals, we just have bigger brains) would perish. So let me ask you this question, if saturated fats are so deadly to the human body, why has evolution selected saturated fat as the most important nutrient to begin life?
What The Ancient Tribes Teach Us About Animal Fat
Throughout research history, it’s crystal clear that the healthiest people in the world are found in ancient tribal societies that have not been corrupted by westernised, processed food. Or to make it simple, people who follow a lifestyle closest to our most primitive ancestors display the kind of health and wellness that we modern humans all long for. Because remember, modern diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cancer were pretty much non-existent during the Paleolithic era. The wisdom we can learn about human health from our more modern hunter-gatherer societies is phenomenal. And guess what, these modern Paleo tribes still living today, with both male and females having blood profiles healthier than an olympic athlete, all have several things in common, and one of them is that they eat animal fat.
First off, lets look at some of the modern pacific islander communities who still follow a more ancient Paleo diet. The Okinawans of Japan, who have been known to be one of the longest living people in the world eat a diet high in eggs (including the egg yolk), pork, fish, and lard which is used for cooking. The Kitavan tribe living off the coast of New Guinea, get a large chunk of their calories from fish, fruits, and coconuts. The traditional Hawaiian tribes still living today, have a diet high in fish, squid, pork, chicken, and coconut.
Furthermore, early European explorers remarked on the beauty, strength, good nature, and excellent physical development of the native Hawaiians and other pacific islanders. Precise Journals from these early explorers showed detailed description that refer to Pacific Islanders as ‘singularly tall, muscular and well-proportioned people’. Even Captain James Cook noted the good diets and health of Pacific Islanders.
So if we pay attention to the detail, animal fat was a rich part of our more primitive Paleo tribes. The Pacific islanders may ingest more fruits and vegetables due to the tropical climates, but animal meat, along with the fat still makes up a large chunk of the calories. And let me just say this: you would seriously be up in cloud 9 if you think the healthiest tribes in the world trim the fat of the meat after a good hunt. In fact, the fattiest parts of the animal were the most cherished. Because the ancients knew that animal fat is a “survival” nutrient. Without animal fat, we wouldn’t have survived the catastrophic ice age that plagued our earth for thousands of years. Animal fat saved our butts!
Praise For Saturated Fat
Ladies and Gentlemen, animal fat is your best friend! Eat plenty of the following:
Egg Yolks (Best From Free Range Organic Eggs)
Organ Meats (Beef Liver, Chicken Liver)
Fatty Cuts Of Grass Fed Red Meat (T-Bone, Scotch Fillet, Rib Eye, Lamb Chops)
Free Range Chicken Thigh
Pork & Bacon
Organic Full Fat Cream & Sour Cream
Coconut Products (Coconut Butter, Coconut Cream, Coconut Milk)
When eating animal meat and fat, you must consider how the animal was raised. The more wild the animal, the better it is for you. Opt for organic and free-range poultry, grass fed red meat, organic eggs, and any dairy products should be 100% full fat & organic. If the animal was raised in a stress free, friendly environment, got plenty of exercise and sun, and ate the food it was designed to eat, the fat from the animal is going to be much higher in fat soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, along with the powerful antioxidants CoQ10 and CLA.
Saturated/Animal fats are bad and cause heart disease
Saturated/Animal fats are one of the healthiest and most important nutrients to the human body, eat plenty of it, but make sure they come from a good source.
ABOUT THE WRITER:
Michael Keon, is a certified health & fitness professional who specialises in Paleo nutrition. His journey began as full time personal trainer, working with hundreds of clients to empower them to reach their most desired goals & life changing aspirations. He has been a mentor to other coaches and is a dynamic and engaging seminar speaker. Michael’s passion, relentless drive and superior knowledge is known among the industry’s best. Currently, he is devoted to researching and delivering the most up to date information relating to the practices of the Paleo diet and lifestyle so that people from all walks of life, from the average Joe to the elite athlete, can achieve long lasting results.
Michael preaches the following underlying message: “Health & fitness is never meant to be complicated as we have all the answers. We just need to extricate ourselves from the modern confusion and bring back our primal roots.”
*** Article from Ultimate You Magazine, August 2013 issue ***