Be prepared. We’re about to present a dirty three-letter word. F-A-T. We’re talking butter fat, milk fat, beef fat, duck fat. Fat from nuts, oils and cheese. Bristling? For the past 30 years, Americans have developed a fear of fat in a quest to get leaner, faster. And guess what? We’re less healthy and less lean than at any point in history. According to the Weston Price Foundation, “As Americans have cut back on saturated fat and cholesterol-rich foods, rates of heart disease have gone up.”
Could it be that the absence of fat in our diet is making us fatter? Part of the blame goes to excess sugar, additives, preservatives, fast food, processed food, less fiber, less sleep and less exercise. But yes, removing healthy fat from our lives is making it harder to lose weight. Fat makes us feel fuller so we consume fewer calories daily. Also, a diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (avocado, oils, nuts, nut butters, olives) can actually reduce belly fat.
First, let’s be clear. This doesn’t mean you can eat a bucket of fried chicken, three burgers or buttered bread and lose weight. However, you can enjoy poultry and beef by choosing wisely. Grass-fed beef, for example, has less fat than other types of beef yet offers 400% more omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E. Healthy olive and coconut oils provide omega-3 and -6 fats plus antioxidants. Research even shows that long-maligned butter trumps hydrogenated margarine which is high in transfat.
Still, the one fat that you should be consuming (and probably aren’t) gets lost in something we use every day. Milk. Decades back, whole milk got shelved for all the wrong reasons. Sales of skim milk skyrocketed, yet we didn’t get thinner or healthier. That’s because recent studies indicate that whole fat dairy products pose no greater risk of cardiovascular disease and can actually lower obesity.
To get the most from your dairy boost, choose raw milk products which are free of additives and hormones. Because raw milk is not heated through pasteurization or homogenized, it retains all of its natural vitamins plus lactobacilli bacteria so most lactose-intolerant people can enjoy it. At our store, we carry Milky Way Farm raw milk which comes from all Jersey cows. Jersey milk has 20% more protein and calcium and 25% more butterfat, so it’s the healthiest milk you can buy. (Raw milk can also be used even after the due date. Check out our 15 ways to use sour milk!)
So pour on the whole milk. Sink your teeth into a grass-fed Angus burger or a handful of nuts. Cook with coconut oil and add a dab of butter to your whole grain bread. And don’t forget to increase your intake of vegetables and fruit, while curbing the sugar, soda and sweets. Your body’s gratitude might just tip the scales in a healthy direction.