The Paleo Diet: In Praise of Fat

Strutto: clarified pork fat. Image courtesy of

CBS News and Rita Braver may have done us a great service with the broadcast of their short piece on on animal fats on the show “Sunday Morning”. “Singing the Praises of Fat“, brings to light what some of us have known for a while, that saturated animal fats are in fact healthy. Are we starting to turn away from the lies and misinformation brought to us by Ancel Keyes, George McGovern and the food industry on the so called “health benefits” of a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet? The trend certainly appears to be going in that direction. The growing popularity of the Paleo diet might be considered a confirmation of that trend. Might we soon hear on the main stream media, the praising of the Paleo diet as well as fat?

The segment starts off in the kitchen of chef Jennifer McLagen, author of the books “Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient“  and “Bones: Recipes, History and Lore“, where Braver tries some rosemary infused lard. The reporter was surprised at the delicate flavor of the spread. Perhaps her reaction is symptomatic of the general reaction to fat in our society. We think of saturated fat as heavy, something that will weigh us down, when the reality is quite a pleasant surprise of taste and texture. In fact our bodies crave the feel of fat in our mouths, especially when we’ve been denying ourselves the pleasure for so long.

We’ve been eating animal fats for 10,000 years, right? It’s been part of our diet up until this crazy thing where all of a sudden we decided fat was bad for us,” said McLagen. “And if fat HAD been that bad for us, we’d all be a lot healthier today, because we’ve seem to have given it up - and we don’t seem to be any healthier or happier.

Well, it’s been a little longer than 10,000 years. That is how long we’ve been farming. But we’ve been eating saturated animal fat for as long as 2 million years, and possibly longer. But chef McLagen is 100% correct about the results of removing fats from our diet.

Gary Taubes, author of Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It and Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health,  was also interviewed for this piece. He has been researching and writing about our fear of fat for more than 10 years.

“I mean, it’s just completely ill-conceived, this low-fat diet, this low-saturated fat diet,” said Taubes. “You know, the idea that we should not eat butter, that we should eat low-fat yogurt instead of full-fat yogurt.”

Taubes scoffs at idea that eating animal fat is unhealthy:

“You’re just going against the science,” he said. “The studies have never been able to prove it. And you’ve got clinical trials that demonstrate the opposite, that demonstrate that a high animal fat [diet] is a healthy diet.”

Indeed, according to a 2010 study published in , higher-fat, lower-carbohydrate diets worked better to reduce cholesterol than lower-fat, higher-carbohydrate diets.

Naturally, the main stream media, being what it is, had to get a quote from the president of the American Heart Association, Cardiologist Gordon Tomaselli. His response?

“From our perspective, excessive consumption of saturated fat is a bad habit to be in,” Tomaselli said. “The epidemiologic evidence tell us, other studies tell us that saturated fats, when consumed, will increase levels of cholesterol.”

Not surprising. Maybe he missed the memo: eating dietary cholesterol from saturated animal fats does not raise blood serum cholesterol levels. This may sound cynical, but I’ve come to believe that organizations, like the AHA do not have the best interests of the public at “heart”. For several reasons. First, there is ample scientific evidence that consuming a low carbohydrate, higher fat diet will reduce the risk of heart disease. Visit the Track Your Plaque website of Dr. William Davis who helps his patient get well by removing the cause of heart disease, excessive amounts of the wrong carbohydrates. On his front page:

Plaque is the stuff of coronary heart disease. It is CONTROLLABLE, it is STOPPABLE, it is REVERSIBLE. But you must be equipped with the right information on diet, nutritional supplements, and hopefully the avoidance of medication.

The second reason to NOT quote anyone from the AHA is money. Consider this - if the root cause of heart disease were exposed tomorrow and backed up with affirming statements from the AHA, they’d be out of business the next day.  No more money would come pouring in from the government or other groups. There would be no reason for the AHA’s continued existence.

But the story ends well when Rita Braver samples an egg cooked in chicken fat, one of my favorite ways to fry eggs. Compared to the egg cooked in olive oil, well there is no comparison!

I take this story as a positive move in the right direction. Paleo diet followers know that eating animal fats are healthy, filling and the best fuel to get through the day. Ask anyone on the Paleo diet if they get hungry frequently or at all. Anyone consuming more fat and fewer carbs will stay satisfied longer. This leads to weight loss and a reduced risk of disease. Because the Paleo diet is becoming more and more popular and it is proving to NOT be a fad diet, we will soon see more and more about it in the news media. Indeed, we have already seen this. Will they soon be praising the Paleo diet and saturated fat in the same breath? Let’s hope so!

Do you like fat? Do you enjoy it? What are some of the recipes you use to add extra fat to our diet? Please leave your comments and suggestions below. Please Share and Like this too on Facebook and Twitter if you found this interesting and useful. Thanks for visiting!


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