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Why are we so afraid of fat?

This is a long one, but, it’s important…

Okay, I know, I know, we all grew up with the notion that fat makes us fat. We were all on the fat free diet in college, right? We were so healthy back then with our fat-free bread sticks & pretzels and fat free ranch, potatoes and salsa. Gross. America went crazy with the low, fat-free diet and what happened? We got fatter, and a whole lot sicker. Hmmm.

Ever heard of Ancel Keys, the “Father of the diet-heart hypothesis”? He was actually not a cardiologist, or even an MD, but a man who earned his PhD studying salt-water eels. His 1958 televised public claim that animal fat was the cause of cardiovascular disease, changed the shape of america, quite literally. I won’t bore you with all the details but take a look at his graph that lead him to that conclusion. Oh and by the way, his study, wasn’t actually on animal fat; it was on margarine made from partially hydrogenerated vegetable oil (which is 48% transfat). But somehow, he still came to the conclusion that animal fat was the cause of heart disease.

“Animal fats and cholesterol are not villains but vital factors in the diet, necessary for normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels.” — Sallon Fallon

I’ll admit, it was weird the first time I put butter in my egg pan knowing (or telling myself) I wouldn’t gain weight from it. That’s how programmed our minds are! But not only is it okay, but it’s good for us. We should eat more:


  • butter from cows that graze on pasture
  • whole fat dairy products from cows that graze on pasture
  • grass-fed meats like beef and lamb
  • eggs from chickens who are free to roam outdoors (and have extra omega 3’s)
  • tropical oils, especially coconut oil, or palm oil

Why it is good for us:


  • Vitamins A and D, which are vital for proper growth and for protein and mineral assimilation, are found only in mostly saturated animal fats.
  • As saturated fats are stable, they do not become rancid easily, do not call upon the body’s reserves of antioxidants, do not initiate cancer and do not irritate the artery walls.
  • Saturated fats enhance the immune system, thereby protecting us against infection and cancer.
  • Saturated fats help the body lay down calcium in the bones and help prevent osteoporosis.
  • Saturated fats provide energy and structural integrity to the cells.
  • Saturated fats protect the liver from alcohol, drugs, pesticides and other poisons.
  • Saturated fats enhance the body’s use of essential fatty acids, which the body needs in small amounts and obtains from whole foods.
  • Saturated fats are needed for the kidneys to work properly.
  • The lung surfactants are composed of saturated fatty acids.The lungs cannot work without adequate amounts of saturated fats.

Here is a good quick article just from eHow to get you started on this top if you’re interested.

And, these are two great books if you’d like to learn even more on the topic:

-Gary Taubes’ “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and “Why We Get Fat”

Frontline interview with Gary Taubes

-Sally Fallon’s “Eat Fat, Lose Fat”

-Weston A. Price on Cholesterol

DON’T BE AFRAID OF FAT! Embrace it. Our bodies need it. FAT WON’T MAKE US FAT.

By the way, I know this picture doesn’t really go with fat, actually not at all. But when I asked my 3 year old, “what can we take a picture of to show people good fat?”, he grabbed the pumpkin and said “this is good and fat.” Not quite the train of thought I was going for but I needed a picture for a post and well, he had an idea that just might make it work…