Good Fat? Lard as a Health Food?

For the most part, if you ask the average American individual whether whole fat milk, or skim milk is better for them, they will almost always answer skim milk. The issue of fat is very likely the most miss understood aspect of eating healthily. How so you might ask?

A Short Fat History

In the 1950’s heart disease came out as the leading cause of death in the United States. From that emergence scientists and medical professionals tried to answer the question to why that is and amidst the ideas was a link between heart disease and cholesterol. Then soon after a theory arose saying that animal fats increased our cholesterol. This theory began to spread and soon the United States government got a hold of it and urged Americans to reduce their fat intake for the sake of their health. Without taking into consideration other cultures or people groups that have a diet high in animal fats (such as the French) and thousands of years of human history showing how important fat intake is, officials began encouraging the American consumer to eat “low-fat” or “non-fat”. Soon the food industry began producing man-made fats such as margarine and vegetable oils and found that they could be produced inexpensively and that it increased the shelf life of fried and baked products. These man-made fats were soon marketed as healthy alternatives to lard, butter, tallow, and poultry fats and so consequently, sales exploded. It appeared as is the American consumer was convinced.

Why Fat is Good for Us

We must know that fat is indispensable to our health as human beings. Our bodies need fats to function. Children especially need good fats for brain development. It is just a matter of eating the right ones at the right quantities. We must also know that there are a lot of unknowns in regards to cholesterol and the health effects of the different types of fats. So on one level we just simply do not know. Cholesterol is one of the large mysteries of modern day medicine. Which came first the chicken or the egg? While it is true that cholesterol is a marker for heart disease. Is it a precursor or does a high cholesterol count come about once heart disease is setting in? HDL-cholesterol is an anti-inflammatory (Kouloris, 2004). So could it be that HDL-cholesterol is actually present to help correct the inflammation brought on by the excessive consumption of sugars and grains? If you haven’ t researched this topic spend some time looking at it. It might change your view of what the bad guy is when it comes to heart disease. Natural fats are not likely the problem when consumed in moderation though I would avoid the man made fats such as margarine when at all possible.
After all of these years of “low fat” and “non fat” we as Americans are heavier than ever and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that we are any happier. We are starting to learn that by eating more man-made fats which contain trans fats our bodies do not know how to process these and they just store them.
So what are we to do? What are we to eat? What we do know is that as Americans we should probably be eating more local vegetables and fruits and more unprocessed foods. We should also be eating less meat but higher quality meat like meat from animals that spent most of their life on pasture. When processing, we realize that the fat of animals raised on pasture are much different than those raised in confinement. It is firm and not gelatinous. It also makes for a satisfying meal where you do not need to consume as much to feel full. Good fat is good for you. Our restaurant customers know to request full fat meats. They want little if any trim. While our retail customers and custom processing customers have wanted all meats trimmed so lean from the years of hearing that fat is bad for us. After working with enough chefs and working to do the research we are now offering choice to our entire customer base. When you special order or have us custom process for you, expect us to ask if you want your meat trimmed lean or the full fat kept for flavor. We suggest living like the chefs in America and enjoying the taste of fat. Once again, all things in moderation. Skip desert and taste the flavor of good meat. It will be satisfying, we promise!

By: Josh Fowler