For many reasons, beginning with Ancel Keys and falsely spreading from there, dietary fat (saturated fat in particular) has gotten a bad rap for being one of the leading factors in causing cardiovascular disease. We’ve all heard it from friends, relatives, even conventional doctors–”Stay away from fat,” “Fat’s bad for you,” “Fat will make you fat.”, etc. Dr. Michael R. Eades refers to these types as “Lipophobes.” Dr. Eades had a great post about fat and the lies surrounding the matter on his blog that we love to reference (we have this discussion a lot when it comes to paleo and fat around the box).
Food is made of fat, protein and carbohydrate. That’s it. Food also contains water, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, but only fat, carbohydrate and protein provide calories. And when a diet is constructed of these things – especially one that toes the line as far as portion control is concerned – trade offs have to be made.
If you keep the calories the same, and you decrease one of the three components, you’re going to have to increase one of the others. Let’s look at how the brain of a lipophobe would cypher this. Okay, we need to cut the fat, so that’s the first thing we’ll do. We’ll cut fat, and we’ll really cut saturated fat. But now we’ve got to get our calories back up, so we’ll add low-glycemic carbohydrates to do that. But, uh oh, when we add that many carbs, even though they are low-glycemic-index carbs, we increase the glycemic load. We can’t really do that if we want to prevent all these diseases. We’ll increase the protein. But, wait, we can’t increase it too much or we’ll damage the kidneys. (A myth, of course, but they all believe it.) And it’s hard to increase the protein without increasing the fat because most good sources of protein contain fat, even, God forbid, saturated fat. So if we up the protein, we up the fat. But fat is the devil in disguise, oh yes it is; it’s the devil in disguise. Can’t go there.
The government information out there recommends a high-carb, low-fat diet since a higher fat intake means a higher risk for CVD. This is simply not true. It is the high intake of saturated fats in conjunction with a high-carb diet that pushes the envelope and makes it more likely that you will drop dead from a heart attack and/or diabetes. The truth is, we need fat for normal daily functions–our brains are made up mostly of fat, fat is required for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins that we get from our carbohydrates, fat cells reduce systemic inflammation, Lauric acid (saturated fat found in coconut) has many antiviral properties including gut healing! Fat is also the macronutrient that is responsible for you feeling “full” or satiated after a meal. Take home message: DO NOT FEAR FAT PEOPLE!! Eat and enjoy, without fear, your avocados, coconut and olive oils, coconut flakes, nuts, and bacon! My only warning: do have some restraint as fats ARE easy to OD on. If you’ve ever eaten a whole jar of almond butter in one sitting (you know who you are), you know what I’m talking about…
I did mention BACON as being a fat source. Although bacon contains some protein, its fat content is higher and therefore considered a fat source. For some time now, it’s been the general consensus amongst the paleo community that the best bacon to buy is nitrite and nitrate-free. This is because nitrites and nitrates had been linked to cancer. It wasn’t until recently that Chris Kresser (another one of our favorite paleo guru’s) blogged about studies that have disproved the link between nitrites/nitrates and cancer. (HERE is the article)
In fact, the study that originally connected nitrates with cancer risk and caused the scare in the first place has since been discredited after being subjected to a peer review. There have been major reviews of the scientific literature that found no link between nitrates or nitrites and human cancers, or even evidence to suggest that they may be carcinogenic. Further, recent research suggests that nitrates and nitrites may not only be harmless, they may be beneficial, especially for immunity and heart health.
In fact, nitrites are produced by your own body in greater amounts than can be obtained from food, and salivary nitrite accounts for 70-90% of our total nitrite exposure. In other words, your spit contains far more nitrites than anything you could ever eat.
So, as long as your bacon comes from a good source (happy pigs!) it doesn’t need to be nitrite or nitrate free!
SOME GREAT RECIPES & STUFF
From Paleo Spirit, here’s a great “Basic Paleo Egg Muffin” Recipe. I love it when you all are DYING for the Egg Muffin recipe when you first hear about it, because it’s been floating around for 10+ years, starting in the Atkins Diet era…and is so flippin’ slimple! Here you go..and great photos on this one too:
Newbie, Amber G, and current Paleo Challenger (what a girl, huh? Joins the box, and on day 2 enters the Paleo Challenge…BRAVE GIRL!). Amber sent me a BEEE AYYYY EWE TEE FUL picture of her Paleo Pizza. The crust looked suspiciously good, so I asked her for the recipe. Here’s the recipe w/ the photo below it:
6 Tbsp EVOO
Any amount of garlic (great for immune boosting!)
Any amount of basil
1 tsp of baking soda
Add Paleo Toppings (meats fully cooked)Bake 15 mins on 400 dgrs F or until brown.
Stick back in over under broiler for a few minutes
AND HERE’S A STORY FOR YOU…TITLE: “B*@CH IN A JAPANESE SUICIDE BOMBER PLANE”
Robin and Peter H, husband and wife, CrossFitters, Paleo Challenge V participants, spent their Sunday prepping like most of us did…but here’s there story…and you thought YOUR first week started off rough! Oye! Send good thoughts!