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For so many years fat has been considered unhealthy, the typical quote “eating fat makes you fat” has been thrown around countless times, but is that really the truth? Fats are essential in our diets and are responsible for a plethora of roles in the body. Fats and cholesterol are fundamental in the production of hormones, which help to regulate and determine the way we function; so to go without any fat in our diet seems extremely counter intuitive. The only catch to all this is, the source of our food; a food like butter has the potential to be one of the healthiest sources of fat on the planet, but this is dependant on the type of butter you select, as the nutrient profile it contains can drastically vary dependent on what the cow that has produced it has been fed.
This is where misconception arises; again and again we see these blanket statements that tell us how ‘bad’ butter and fat is for you, all said without exploring different sources and nutrient contents of foods in contrast to one another. Foods such as butter and eggs have been demonized and blamed for increases in heart disease since the mid 1900’s, due to the fact that they contain high levels of saturated fats and cholesterol respectively. But how can these foods that we’ve been eating for thousands of years before these issues began suddenly become a cause? The answer is in the manufacturing of our food.
With an ever-growing population, the demand for mass production at a fast rate is increasing, which in turn leads to a reduction in quality and overall standard when it comes to food production. This is where the type of foods we select can play a big role in the way our bodies respond to certain foods. A great example of this is the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed cows; think about it, cows were made to eat grass, not grains. By putting a cow on a low quality grain diet, we increase its intramuscular fat and throw out the hormonal balance within the animal. This means that the produce we get from that cow is deprived of certain nutrients and vitamins that we need to consume from that product. By selecting a grass-fed product we can be sure the cow has a much more stable hormonal balance and is providing us with much higher quality produce that will actually nourish the body with required micronutrients and not just empty calories.
Recent studies on the myths surrounding saturated fats and cholesterol have been completely debunked; showing that consuming foods high in saturated fats has no association with heart disease, and in fact may improve our blood-lipid levels and lower our risk of heart disease. Again, the source of this fat is important; it has been shown that people who consume butter and dairy from grass-fed cows appear to have a drastic reduction in their risk of heart disease.
Grass-fed butter has been shown to have over 400 fatty acids including a fair amount of fat-soluble vitamins that our body requires. It has a higher concentration of omega-3, five times more CLA and has a higher biological activity than grain-fed butter. Grass-fed butter also contains high levels of Vitamin K2, which has been shown to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease through calcium metabolism making it great for our bone and heart health. It also contains high amounts of Butyrate, a short-chained fatty acid that can help fight inflammation and increase the function of our immune system. These are things that our body doesn’t get when we utilise a grain-fed butter, as the formation of these nutrients is determined by the diet and treatment of the animal, evidently making grass-fed butter a far wiser choice.
From simply looking deeper than the surface statements made by marketing and media we can break down and see that foods aren’t all created equal. While some fats such as hydrogenated trans fats are not ideal for our health, other forms of fat such as essential fatty acids that come from high quality sources of produce, such as grass-fed butter, can improve our health and longevity. They aren’t called ‘essential’ fats for no reason, we need them to survive and function. So don’t be scared of dietary fats, be selective, choose good quality foods and fill your diet with healthy sources of essential fats to optimize your health and performance.
Author Glen George from our Blackburn store in Melbourne. Please send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or hit us up on Facebook as we’re always keen for a chat!