Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Eating animal fat is good for you

with 11 comments

I found this article and interview particularly interesting, given how much boneless pork shoulder I ate last night. The article begins:

Jennifer McLagan is on a mission: to dispel the myth that fat is a “greasy killer.” Or, as she writes in her new book, “Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes”: “Human nutrition is complex, and no two bodies function the same way, but for the majority of us, eating animal fat is not the death sentence we have been led to believe.”

The book tackles the controversies that have long been swirling around fat, from the fact that doctors praised the wonders of a low-fat diet only to watch as that wisdom was contradicted by a major 2006 study to the more recent study that indicated there may not, after all, be a direct link between obesity and heart attacks. On the other end of the spectrum, of course, there is Dr. Atkins and his contrarian high-fat-diet approach to getting healthy.

But McLagan’s book is about more than mere science. It is divided into sections based on types of fat: butter, pork fat, poultry fat, and beef and lamb fats. Since many of these fats (except butter) are not easily available commercially, McLagan teaches the reader how to render each one specifically. A skilled writer, McLagan presents her case for the armchair reader at the same time she offers enticing recipes for the seasoned cook: bacon baklava, marrow rice pudding, and lamb fat and spinach chapati.

“Fat” is an unapologetic celebration of its title ingredient and a compelling argument that explains not only why fat is a fundamental flavor but also fundamental to our health.

Salon interviewed Jennifer McLagan, who lives in Toronto.

There has been a huge movement against the consumption of fatty foods over the past 30 years or so. So why is obesity such a challenge in America today?

Eating less animal fat hasn’t made us healthier or thinner. We have reduced the amount of animal fat we eat, but statistics show the total amount of fat in our diet has increased. Vegetable fats have replaced animal fats, which has resulted in a huge increase in polyunsaturated fat in our diet, which has resulted in a huge increase in polyunsaturated fat in our diet (which can depress your immune system). We’ve also added man-made trans fats to the mix, which everyone now agrees are not good for us.

It’s difficult to blame obesity on one thing. But it is definitely not consumption of animal fats. I think there are many causes — the way we eat, alone, in the car, walking down the street, the constant snacking. Increased consumption of low-fat, fat-free “foods” results in us eating more sugars and carbohydrates. These products don’t satisfy our hunger and leave us wanting to eat more. Eating good animal fat does, so you eat less.

It’s also how we relate to our food. We consume large portions of prepared foods, huge portions. Food is relatively cheap: We spend less than 10 percent of our income on it. Consequently, we don’t value it. Many see it simply as fuel or a medicine, not a pleasure. Because people have become so disconnected from their food, they fear it and continually break it down into good and bad elements.

There’s also a widespread myth that making food from scratch takes too much time and is expensive. It may not always be quicker, but it is better for you and cheaper when all the costs are considered.

If we cooked our food, sat down at a table with friends and family and enjoyed eating it, we would be healthier, happier and probably thinner.

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

30 September 2008 at 11:42 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health

11 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. LG, if you thought that was interesting, you really ought to check out this blog on high-fat nutrition:

    Peter’s a vet and the blog has a heavy biochemistry angle, but also a lot of personal interest stuff. Check out the pic, he’s as lean as a rake … on a diet of 80% animal fat … and cats love him, obviously (maybe they’re waiting to eat him at some point, hahahah)



    1 October 2008 at 6:33 am

  2. Also, have you tried coconut oil to cook with? It is SUPER good for you! I get it at my gym where I workout (Roland Semprie Rosedale). Honestly, it’s amazing, I use it in smoothies, stir-fry, salad dressings, etc. Check it out!



    21 January 2009 at 5:49 am

  3. The tropical oils, including coconut oil and palm oil, are extremely high in saturated fats. I think they are probably good for cosmetic applications, but I would not eat them. Obviously, YMMV. You can also buy coconut oil at Whole Foods and other stores. But read up on it.



    21 January 2009 at 6:42 am

  4. There is nothing wrong with saturated fats in moderation. Please do your research. The “saturated fat is bad for you” myth is just that – a myth.



    20 November 2009 at 10:42 am

  5. Unprocessed, whole coconut fats are absolutely safe. They can be used with high heat without going rancid, and they are filled with mega healthy ingredients. Not the least of which is lauric acid, a rare and vital substance found in few foods- one notable food is mother’s milk. Note that tropical people have a very low incidence of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and thyroid disease compared to North Americans.

    Saturated fat is not only good for you, but saturated animal fat is the healthiest kind. It PROTECTS you from heart disease and cancer! It PROTECTS your liver from the harmful effects of sugar and alcohol! This is all unraveling now and “coming out in the wash” as they say. But monocrop and animal liberation propaganda has successfully brainwashed us away from our natural heritage diet of millions of years. We are slowly recovering it since the alternatives are clearly killing us. It is hard for scientists and doctors to admit they were wrong, even if they have figured out that they were misled. That is why the “egg” is still half-heartedly vilified even though it has been “cleared.”


    Lorette C. Luzajic

    13 July 2010 at 5:14 am

  6. The problem I now have with coconut oil is the extreme degree to which it promotes inflammation. Obese people already have a problem with inflammation (from excess fat) and adding to that a food that promotes inflammation seems to me a bad idea.

    The inflammation factor, according to the USDA nutrition database (which NutritionData uses), coconut oil is “strongly inflammatory“, with a rating of -1798. (Target is +50/day.)

    Contrast this with turmeric (1/2 tsp of which I take daily), olive oil, etc.



    13 July 2010 at 7:06 am

  7. Refined coconut oil (or refined oils of any kind) is inflammatory. Again, please do your research. Unrefined, virgin coconut is very healthy.



    18 February 2011 at 8:29 pm

  8. Well, Victoria, as you can tell from the link I was in fact doing my research—and who else’s research would I be doing? I will say that you’ve now worn out that expression on this blog. And, by the way, it’s highly offensive.



    18 February 2011 at 8:36 pm

  9. haha you guys are funny, if you guys REALLY wanna do research, you’ll look up “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” by Weston A. Price. That book goes into deep detail of this whole matter, and the studies he made are showing very similar results to recent studies, except for the fact that his were done in the 1930’s, so if you wanna “do your research”, thats the place to go.



    24 March 2011 at 2:07 pm

  10. LeisureGuy, you’d be well advised to disregard the IF ratings at They are based on a dubious methodology which considers all saturated fats inflammatory; this is simply not supported by the scientific literature.

    Even refined coconut oil is not inflammatory, it would only be lacking in the polyphenols which virgin oil has. Coconut oil in any form (except hydrogenated) is the best thing you can add to your diet to improve your immune system health. For an obese person, it will HELP in burning fat since coconut oil is highly ketogenic with it’s fatty acid profile rich in MCTs. Look at the people who consume lots of coconut oil in Sri Lanka, Philippines, etc. They are lean as hell.



    26 October 2011 at 12:22 am

  11. Thanks for the pointer. I’ll continue to do reading. As Marion Nestle points out, nutritional research is difficult and it’s no surprise that conclusions are disputed.



    26 October 2011 at 6:16 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: