The time has come to decriminalize fat. Wrongfully accused of making you fat and gumming up your arteries, natural fats have been maligned for too long, leaving room for the actually harmful processed oils and fake fats to corrupt our food landscape. But who's who and what's what?
Let's identify the authentic and the imposters.
First you should know that all fats are a blend of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fatty acids and that your body needs every one of these to function. Specific fats are named according to which of these is dominant. For example, BEEF FAT (tallow) is called saturated fat because it is typically 50% saturated fat though it is 40% monounsaturated oleic acid, the same fatty acid that garners praise for OLIVE OIL as heart-healthy. PORK FAT (lard) is mostly unsaturated so it is softer than beef fat and so tasty! It lasts for a long time in your fridge and it's even high in vitamin D. Good Lard! Strain and save the fat rendered from natural bacon to fry eggs or sauté vegetables. But beware: commercial lard is hydrogenated so avoid it as you avoid margarine and other unhealthy trans fats. POULTRY FAT or "schmaltz" is also good for cooking. It is mostly monounsaturated and it's anti-microbial. The healing properties of chicken soup lie in those droplets of glistening fat. In fact, all of these animal fats, as well as coconut oil are powerful immune boosters. Antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal lauric acid is unique to COCONUT OIL and breastmilk!
Here's the caveat for animal fats: if the animals were raised naturally (pastured) then they were healthy and their fat is healthy to eat. If they were grown on sugar (fed corn and grain) then it is not and the same is true of their meat. Not to be overlooked as great sources of healthy fat are nuts and seeds, avocados and pastured butter. Fat was the F-word of the past 50 years and the euphemism "oil" promoted an industry of hydrogenated seed oils from GMO crops like soybeans and rapeseed (canola). Like all factory foods, these are not real food. Adding the hydrogen molecules extends the shelf life of these products: good for industry, bad for your body. These fake fats are the culprits of food-instigated maladies like diabetes and heart disease. The skinny on fat is that you need it to be healthy: it supports brain function, fights infection and revs your metabolism. It provides fat soluble vitamins A,E,D and K and aids digestion. In fact, depression is linked strongly to fat deficiency. Maybe that's because fat makes everything taste so good and satisfies our appetite for what truly nourishes us: real food!