Along with sugar and salt, we vilified fat in the past, but times are changing and whilst we thought fat was a villain, we are now finding that fat is not the real issue.
Three types of fat
We need to consume fats in our diets. Some of these fats are ‘good’ fats and others were thought to be ‘bad’ fats. There are three main types of Fats: Saturated, Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated. Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature, think Lard. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are usually liquid, think oils. Food that contains fats, will always contain all three types.
What’s in my steak?
People think of steak as full of saturated fats. Let’s take one of our fillet steaks, around 71% is water. This is why your steak shrinks as you cook it. 21% is protein great for bodybuilding! 1 % is minerals, 7% is fats, of which 2% is saturated-fat. Making saturated-fat less than 1% of your steak! Now compare that with low-fat milk, which is still 1% saturated-fat! We know which we would rather eat.
We tend to be told that saturated fat is the ‘bad’ fat, yet mackerel contains twice the amount of total fat as a steak and 1.5 times the amount of saturated fat as the steak. Yet, we are told to eat oily fish and avoid red meat! If you now consider that a tablespoon of olive oil has more saturated fat than a 100g pork chop, then it starts to question the reasoning behind whether any fats are ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Read this article for more on this.
So why is Fat thought to be bad for you?
This was a scientist in the 1950s who theorised that fat was clogging arteries leading to the increase of heart attacks in the United States. Ancel Keys looked around the world at people’s diets and plotted them on a chart, More fat in the diet against how many heart attacks per annum. He studied 22 countries in all. Of them, 7 countries seemed to show a correlation with his theory, so he picked them to prove to everyone that fat caused heart attacks. He even featured on the cover of Time magazine and enjoyed the resulting fame. But what of the other 15 countries? Like France, with their diet consisting of cheese, meats and wine. The French consume high levels of fat and yet have a lower incidence of heart attacks? Well, they were just ‘anomalies’!
To learn more about this story, check out this explanation on how that worked out.
People are now starting to understand that the story around fats is far more complicated than just eat more fats, have more heart attacks. We now have the Mediterranean Diet, full of olive oil and butter, along with Avocados and nuts and seeds. Plus, advocates of the Ketogenic and carnivore diets with high levels of fats and lower levels of carbohydrates. These are proving popular and do seem to be working in helping people to lose weight and reverse type 2 diabetes. However, aren’t they just storing up trouble ahead? No! It doesn’t appear so; trials and experiments are now showing that fats are not quite the villain of the piece!
Do a little research and you will see that the story is not so clear cut as Ancel Keys first suggested. If anything, the opposite is true!
Needless to say, we have been going for seven generations as butchers, so we’ve all eaten our fair share of meat and therefore lots of fats. None of us has died of a heart attack, we are not planning to! We believe eating high-quality real foods are far more important than worrying about fats.