4 Things To Know About How Fat From Meat Can Be Healthy
Many of us have been taught at some point that fat is not good for us. I know I encountered this philosophy often growing up. Our bodies actually thrive when we consume plenty of good fats. They help us to have steady, maintained energy levels and healthy brain function. This knowledge has become more widespread with the rising interest in keto and paleo diets.
Without healthy fats, our bodies are unable to absorb vitamins and minerals from many food sources. This is the reason that some vegetables are actually far more nutritious when cooked in fat. Sure, there’s definitely fats that are bad for you out there - but research shows that these come from processed foods and meat that’s raised unnaturally in factory farming facilities. When you eat quality meat, the fat content is nourishing and beneficial in many ways.
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1. Fat Was Inaccurately Given A Bad Reputation
There’s been a widespread misconception that saturated fat is bad for us. This came from a flawed scientific study done in the 1970s on seven different countries and their rates of heart disease in correlation with saturated fat consumption. What the study failed to take into account was other significant factors such as cigarette smoking, sugar consumption, and exercise habits.
Oddly, the study only published results from seven countries, but had access to the data from twenty-two different countries. They failed to mention any of the numerous societies that consume high amounts of saturated fat but experience almost zero heart disease. These societies include native populations that practice old ways of being and eating, meaning they consume large amounts of naturally raised meat and little to no processed food.
2. The Science Of Fat Is Still Being Revised
There’s also the relationship between saturated fat and cholesterol. Generally, there’s two types of cholesterol - HDL and LDL. HDL is supposed to be the “good” cholesterol, while LDL is the “bad”. Saturated fat is believed to raise levels of LDL, which seems bad at first glance. However, there’s more to the situation than meets the eye. LDL can actually be further broken down into two different types.
There’s type A, which is made up of large, buoyant particles. Then you have type B, which has small, dense particles. Type B is the part of LDL that is actually linked to an increased risk of heart disease. And it turns out, these small, dense particles are actually regulated by carbohydrate intake.
When you reduce saturated fat intake, it only lowers the type A particles, which have not been linked to heart problems. According to this research, it seems that consuming a diet lower in carbohydrates has a better chance of reducing risk of heart disease. In fact, research from 2010 shows that 21 different scientific studies utilizing 350,000 subjects found no association between consumption of saturated fat and heart disease.
3. Saturated Fat From Quality Meat May Actually Be Good For Us
Saturated fat has been found to have some remarkable beneficial effects on the body. Saturated fat cells encourage the liver to get rid of its stored fat, helping it to function more efficiently. These cells also boost testosterone levels which helps our bodies to repair muscle tissue and improve sexual health. Saturated fat even makes white blood cells more effective at attacking bacteria and viruses in the bloodstream. This knowledge is often surprising for those of us who have thought of saturated fat as one of the most unhealthy things we can consume.
4. Omega-3’s And Omega-6’s Unmystified
Then there’s the unsaturated fats, which is where we find omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. You’ve probably heard that omega-6 fatty acids are unhealthy, while omega-3’s are absolutely essential. This isn’t the whole truth. Omega-6 fatty acids are important for our health, too - it’s just that the American diet typically provides an excess of these, and not enough omega-3’s.
It’s really all about having the right balance and including both in your diet. Both of these fatty acids are essential for prevention of heart disease and brain health. The surplus of omega-6 in the average American diet is due to the overuse of plant based/seed oils as an additive in processed foods and for cooking.
When you eat grass fed meat, there’s an optimal ratio between these two fatty acids. Meat that’s raised naturally will be high in omega-3’s, and still contain omega-6’s without there being too many to offset your body’s optimal balance. Grass fed meat is also much lower in cholesterol and fat in general than factory farmed meat, helping to bring our fat intake back into balance across the spectrum.
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