At one time in the not so distant past, we all believed that fat was bad and that low-fat diets were the key to health.
This was actually still the belief of many when I published my first book, Fat or Fiction, back in 1999. While most of the medical fraternity thought I was mad to advocate the consumption of fats and condemn sugar, they’ve since slowly started to realise that not all fat is bad.
Fat is an essential part of a healthy diet. It keeps our brain healthy, provides amazing energy and is crucial for absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K.
To some—fish oil and olive oil—seem to be the ‘good’ fats, while trans fats and animal (saturated) fats are demonised as ‘bad’ fats.
The truth is, it’s not so much about the source of the fat, it’s more about whether it’s ‘toxic’ fat.
Fat cells are prevalent storage tanks for toxins, so when animals are raised in poor conditions and pumped with hormones, antibiotics and fed an unnatural diet of grains, which have been sprayed with pesticides, their fat cells are also toxic. This has nothing to do with whether or not the fat is ‘saturated’ or ‘unsaturated’, nor does it have anything to do with whether or not it’s from an animal or vegetable source. Animal fats are only ‘bad’ for health when they’re contaminated.
Grass-fed animals are raised on a ‘natural’ diet, roaming through pastures feeding on grass. Their fat is then naturally higher in omega-3 and lower in inflammatory omega-6 fats.
While we’ve been led to believe that vegetable-based oils are healthier, many are actually more toxic than animal fats. Oils which are heated many times over in fast food cafes, or any vegetable oil that has been heated and refined during processing/extraction, is not a good option.
Most vegetable and nut oils are high in omega-6, which is pro-inflammatory. These fats are also very sensitive to heat, light and oxygen, so the tend to go rancid very easily.
The ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 fats is an important factor when it comes to optimum health and, most western diets are highly in favour of omega-6 and dismally lacking in omega-3. This is why I advocate the use of flaxseed oil in the program, as it's the oil with the highest ratio of omega-3 ... but please ensure it's purchased from, and kept in, the
refrigerator. It cannot be heated - it can only be used on cold dishes or drizzled over food after cooking. Heat will destroy it.
The old-fashioned way of thinking that animal fats are ‘bad’ and vegetable fats are ‘good’, is not only out of date ... it’s completely incorrect.
It’s about time we started looking at fat as something which- -when chosen correctly —has the potential to improve our wellbeing.
Combined with the right balance of fibre, protein, a combination of the right dietary fats are essential for good health.