Where’s the Fatty Acid ?!!

Speaking of good fats, Honi and I participated in an inter-active focus group concerning the relationship between what we eat and healthy hearts. It was inter-active in the sense that we not only responded to questions put to us by the moderator but were also encouraged to pose our own questions to the group of twelve. By the way, the group included people that were thought to be knowledgeable about nutrients and in what foods they were found - doctors, dietitians, chefs, farmers and lay persons.

The group quickly came to consensus on what were and were not the nutrients that were both good and bad for the heart. Omega 3's and CLA’s = Good, wherever they were found.  Bad = hydrogenated fats, trans-fats created therefrom, processed foods in general, and especially, refined sugars. So far so good.  Things did not go off track until the group was asked to explain what they thought a proper diet would look like. In other words, put your knowledge into practice. How do you accomplish that heart-healthy diet? What does it look like on your plate? That is when the outdated but still embedded ignorance came out. When it came around to us, about half of the group had nominated skinless boneless breast of chicken breast as their choice for a heart healthy entree’. So we asked a question before describing our plate - where do the Omega 3's and CLA’s that we all seek come from? The group either did not know or thought it came from the muscle - the “lean” - of the flesh, be that beef, chicken, pork or salmon. They were shocked, and frankly disbelieving in some cases, that these important nutrients come not from the lean but from the fat. Skip the skin on the chicken and you skip the Omega 3s and CLAs too. (We assume the meats are grass-fed and free ranging like you get from JVF.)

How is it the case that large portions of the populace still try to eliminate fats from their diet, thinking it is all bad? This myth started with the completely unfounded and simplistic assumption (and it was no more than that) that if cholesterol showed up in our arteries, it must be from fat in our diet. While the literature now disputes this, the myth remains in the average person’s mind because it is so embedded by years of preaching the wrong values.

We always leave as much of a fat layer on our meats when possible. Even if you trim it off, do not do so until you have cooked with the fat on. It will not only flavor your meat but it will combine in the natural juices and you will get its heart healthy attributes that way. For my part, I eat it along with the lean as well as the au jus.

There are other reasons to include fats and oils in your diet. Meats contain the essential vitamins A,D,E and K. These are fat soluble vitamins. They are most efficiently metabolized when eaten in combination with fats. Without fats, they are absorbed poorly, if at all. So eat your meats and fats in sensible but frequent doses. It’s a good thing.

JVF