Our philosophy on eating goes like this – If something is good more is better; if too much is bad then none is best. Fiber is good, into everything it goes! Saturated fat is bad, consume at your own risk.
If saturated fat’s not the most vilified “natural” nutrient in the food world, it’s pretty darn close. But it just may be that we have a few things wrong when it comes to this fat.
The common belief (and what I’d always believed) is that animal products contain 100% sat fat, while non animal products that contain fat, contain almost 100% unsat fat (with a few known exceptions like coconut which is 90% sat fat and hence why we have in the past, been told to avoid it.) But this over-simplification of fat, in fact, is just that. Most foods that contain fat contain a combination of saturated and unsaturated fat.
I spent some time on the surprisingly addictive USDA food database, and discovered that the majority of fat in many animal products like eggs and beef is actually unsaturated fat (ground beef is about 60% unsaturated fat). Wild chinook salmon surprisingly has about the same percentage saturated fat as bacon and some foods like cashews contain their fair share of sat fat. (See more foods here including eggs, cashews and others and get the link to the dbase to look up any food you want.)
And what about the part about sat being bad for us regardless of what food it’s in…
Several studies have come out recently overturning the assertion that sat fat has negative health implications. The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition recently conducted an analysis of several studies and stated that “there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of stroke or cardiovascular disease.” * (Link at the bottom if you really want to dive in.)
Many doctors and nutritionists are starting to tout the benefits of low to moderate levels of saturated fat, including its positive impact on bone health, immunity, liver health and even heart health.
This is clearly a heated topic with vested interests at play, dollars at stake, decades of experts saying one thing and a theory that is extremely hard to prove or disprove. But leaving all the studies and debates aside, I personally feel from all my eating, reading and plugging into common sense, that saturated fat in whole, natural foods (coconut, cashews, yogurt, organic (ideally pasture-raised) meat etc), consumed in moderation, should not be feared or avoided.
Translation: “If You’d Like Fresh Meat, Place Your Order By Sunday Morning”. I picked this old butcher’s sign up at a flea market in Paris. I said to the vendor, “I’m going to hang it in my kitchen.” He said, “It’s actually for the bedroom.” Ah, the French.
As an homage to my local beef vendor who raises cows with care, I created “Chile Hold The Beans Add the Vegs“, and in a nod to springtime, I loaded up on the vegs. There are no beans in this chile because I find chile usually has way too many beans and not enough vegs, so here the beans take a break and the vegs are the stars. I’m also into “layering” flavors, so rather than just tasting chile, I added a smokey note which you can do with a little bacon or a chipotle pepper.
Your views on saturated fat? On eating chile after April? On your favorite ways to break the rules when cooking chile?
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Congrats to the two winners of the Wholly Guacamole giveaway: Meredith K. and Carmila V. !
* From AJCN website: “AJCN is the most highly rated peer-reviewed journal in ISI’s nutrition and dietetics category and publishes the latest worldwide basic and clinical studies relevant to human nutrition in topics such as obesity, vitamins and minerals, nutrition and disease, and energy metabolism.” Link to the study’s conclusions.
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