Good Fats: Do They Even Exist?

Confused about fats? Most of us have grown up being told to skip the butter, or even worse, to use margarine instead. We were often made to feel guilty if we reached for the extra pat of butter for our veggies. We were taught to limit our red meat intake because it's filled with evil saturated fats that will cause heart disease. Unfortunately, this is some of the worse advice we could have been given. Today, many of us have continued a low-fat diet. Even our doctors encourage us in this direction.
As the world became saturated-fat-phobic, many products popped up on store shelves offering us alternatives - mostly in the form of polyunsaturated fats. If you take a peak down a few aisles of your grocery store, you'll notice two oils used in most everything: corn and soybean. If you open a magazine, you'll notice ample use of vegetable oils in its recipes. But, science and history will show us that saturated fats are the ideal fat. Let's take a look at some facts.
Stability and Rancidity
On the molecular level (bear with me here) a fat is saturated when each carbon bond in the chain is taken by a hydrogen atom. This creates an incredibly stable fat. It means that these fats will not go rancid, and can remain stable at room temperature. They can also be heated to high temperatures without being damaged, making them ideal for cooking. 

In polyunsaturated fats, two or more of the carbon bonds are not occupied by a hydrogen atom and therefore, have two or more pairs of double or triple bonds, making them unstable. Because of their instability, these fats go rancid quickly. In fact, these oils are rancid before you even buy them, or the product that contains them. They are heated during processing and generally bleached and deodorized to make them palatable. The addition of these processes make polyunsaturated fats even more dangerous to your health. So, even though these oils don't look like they have anything wrong with them, steer clear, and avoid using and eating any products that contain them.
Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio
Problems with polyunsaturated fats continue to exacerbate when we take a look at the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. We are healthiest when we achieve an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 2:1, or even 1:1, definitely no more than 4:1. Corn oil, a common polyunsaturated fat, has an omega ratio of 45:1, and cottonseed oil's ratio is 260:1! It is plain and simple that polyunsaturated fats do not help us achieve the omega balance. (source)
Currently, the average American is thought to have an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 17:1. This is most likely because it’s much easier to eat polyunsaturated fats considering they’re in most conventionally processed foods. Unfortunately, the chief concern with a lopsided omega-6 to 3 ratio is that omega-6 fatty acids are known to interfere with the body’s production of prostaglandins. This can increase your chance of experiencing blood clots, sterility, poor immunity, indigestion, and cancer. Thankfully, a lopsided ratio can easily be remedied by avoiding polyunsaturated fats and eating more saturated fats, like beef tallow which has a ratio of 2.4:1, or butter from pastured cows which has a 1.4:1 ratio. (source)
The health benefits of omega-3s are finally being accepted by the general public, and you’ll see egg and fish oil companies touting the omega-3s in their products. What they don’t tell us is that omega-3s are best absorbed by our bodies when accompanied by a saturated fat, like butter oil (source). So, if you’re taking your fish oil, but staying strictly away from the butter, you may be flushing your money down the drain.
Fats You Should Eat
Natural, unrefined animal fats and unrefined oils have so many benefits for the body. They are excellent sources of vitamins A, D, E, and K. Saturated fats also have anti-microbial properties, meaning they protect you from viruses and pathogenic bacteria in your gut. Our bodies are mostly made up of saturated and monounsaturated fats. In fact, these fatty acids comprise 50% of the cell membranes, which give them necessary stiffness so they can do their job. These fats help us to absorb calcium and also protect the liver from toxins (source)

There are also healthy monounsaturated fats like extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, sesame oil, nuts, and avocados. While these oils can become rancid under certain conditions, they are much more stable than polyunsaturated fats. Although they are more stable, these oils should not be used for cooking except at low temperatures. They are best used for uncooked meals, such as salads. Finding good sources for these oils, if you're going to use them, is a must. 
Our ancestors had it right when they made sure to eat a diet of 50% natural, unrefined fats, even sometimes 80% fats. By now, it is certain that the saturated fat scare is, at best, quite unnecessary and at worst, very damaging to our health. Make the switch TODAY to traditional fats. Nourish your body and you will flourish. 
Since there are so many options at the grocery store, farmer’s markets, and online here is an easy list to help you decide which fats are best to eat.

What traditional fat do you enjoy the most?

This was entered into Real Food Forager's Fat Tuesday.


  1. I like freshly roasted chicken skin that has been smothered in butter.

    1. Gross! You and Kevin will get along great... :oP :o)

  2. I like beef fat that has been rendered crispy while the steak is cooking on the grill. Such wonderful flavor!

  3. I really enjoy adding coconut oil to our kefir and berry smoothies. Mmm... scrumptious!