There's a certain misconception around that fat equals fat on the body. The notion, upon closer examination, is illogical ,however; I was certainly under this spell for the longest time of my life. Eating fat does not equal fat. Growing up in the 80's everything was low fat and Jazzercise or aerobics with colorful leg warmers was the way to fitness godliness. As I have learned, both couldn't be further from the truth.
Further hang ups tend be with the types of fats. Everyone knows that we need more Omega 3's and less Omega 6's but at the same time we're told to use "healthy" fats and oils like vegetable oil which is loaded with polyunsaturated fatty acids and Omega 6. So, if you take away nothing else from this then understand that you need to dispose of all those corn, canola, peanut, soy, and grape seed oils. Yeah I thought grape seed was ok too for a while but it's no better than the others. Canola is used so heavily now it is disconcerting. Canola was originally designed as an industrial lubricant and even a lot of olive oils sneak in a portion of canola to round out the rest of the bottle and cut the cost. Canola is, as I understand, a product of Rapeseed and not exactly good for our systems. Another terrible "fat" is the alternative butters. Margarine is one molecule away from being plastic not to mention all the other so-called butters which are nothing more than chemical compounds made to taste like butter. Thanks, but I'll take my chances with something natural and something my body knows how to process. So, toss them out and don't look back. If you're serious about reversing your health, start here.
So, why do we need fats and where have we gone wrong? This simple question could create a large debate. A lot of science has gone into answering that and some psuedo-science as well to propagate some future capitalists. Gary Taubes, Author of Good Calories Bad Calories could explain it in much better detail than I could. You should also definitely have a Google at the history of Crisco; another industrial product that made its way into our kitchen. This seems to happen quite often and it's rather disturbing.
Ice Age Man
See, our bodies have not evolved from our ancient ancestors who lived through the Ice Age. There weren't many plants living while the planet was covered in glaciers so we subsisted on mostly animals. Many scientists feel this is what elevated us and gave us larger brains and smaller guts since links have been found with higher fat intake and larger brain capacities. Humans have lived longer in ice ages than they have in milder temperatures, so let that sink in and understand that it takes hundreds of thousands of years for evolution to take place (if not millenia!). Our bodies are still in the Ice Age for all practical purposes.
So, our brains still thrive from cholesterol and fat. Yep, those two evil things that many people across the globe fight daily to avoid with either disdain or pills. I won't begin on a conspiracy theory here but WHY would we try to avoid the things that provide energy to our brains and cells? It makes little sense to me. The obviously solution is to seek those healthy fats. You don't have to become some primal caveman ripping open live animals by the fire. No, we do have modern conveniences available, so use them to your advantage just keeping in mind that your body is still in a primitive footing. We are hunters and gatherers and quite well adapted to surviving if given the chance.
Saturated Fats, My Vitamin Vehicle!
Saturated fats are the vehicle for our nutrients. Fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K require the presence of fat to be absorbed successfully into the system. So, most supplements that you may take will never get into your system fully and you've wasted money trying to stay healthy when all you needed was some lard, tallow, or butter. I can say I was put off by this at first and I think it's either social programming or just misguided information passed down that was believed for so long it became a pseudo-fact. Ever since childhood we're repeatedly told by authority types that these things are bad so we tend to not want it and think it disgusting. I did for most of my life until I began researching things.
I can tell you though once you ditch some of the carbs in the diet and begin to use fat for fuel and the vehicle for your nutrients once again, you will notice the difference. It's akin to putting diesel in a gas engine for years and all of a sudden it gets gasoline again (I'm not a mechanic so that probably wouldn't work anyway but just nod along with my analogy). Your body wants it, knows quite well how to use it, and your cells and brain need it. This is one of the reasons why so many Paleo-heads eat a lot of bacon. For one, its a constant source of bacon fat that can be used in our meals, plus bacon is just so dang tasty and if you find a good source it is highly nutritious. The ability to eat as much bacon as you want is the best part of being Paleo! I digress. All I am going to say is, toss some meat in a pan and saute it with bacon drippings and thank me later.
The key to eating healthy and losing weight flies in the face of conventional wisdom. As long as your animals are sourced from a clean environment (pastured, grass-fed etc.) then eat your fat and enjoy the notion that it is quite healthy for you to consume and in fact the optimal ratio should be 4 to 1 for fat to protein. I typically cook with bacon fat or lard for nearly all of my meals. Not only does it add flavor but I can up the fat ratio with every bite. I also use coconut oil for some items as well and I used to use olive oils for cooking but they tend to oxidize easily, so its used for dressings and cold applications.
Go enjoy your saturated fatty meals, avoid the bad fats, and live to see the next ice age; fully prepared for it! I promise you won't get fat in the process.