Guide to Healthy Fats and Pastured Meat 

The Problem: A Misunderstanding of Healthy Fats

In the mid-20th century, nutritional scientists, physicians and health journalists began targeting cholesterol and saturated fatty acids as a way of combating a coronary heart disease epidemic in the United States. Unfortunately, the “lipid hypothesis” was never fact.

Regardless, consumers were told to replace butter with margarine, and to replace animal fats, such as lard and tallow, with soybean oil, corn oil and other vegetable oils. And most of us did just that. The general public was led to believe that multi-generational food preparation and nutrition practices were to blame for a health epidemic that continues unabated in observed rates of diabetes, obesity, coronary conditions and cancer.

Compounding our radical shift in fat intake, meat producers began moving ruminants, such as cows, goats and sheep, from grass pasture to concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) for grain feeding. These large-scale animal operations have, unfortunately, become the new normal, as many health and environmental studies consider corn- and soy-fed cattle loaded with antibiotics to be the control group. No wonder all the bad news! 

The New News on Fatty Acids

We now know that we aren’t getting the right balance of healthy fats. American eaters receive fewer anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and more pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids from oils and animal fats than preceding generations. We know that ruminants and pastured poultry and swine are integral to promoting grassland biodiversity and carbon sequestration. Generations of farmers, cooks and eaters weren’t wrong. Now, we have the results and the positive food activists to back them up.

Returning to Healthy Fats

Give thanks through action. Support your local, organic producers selling pastured meat and dairy products every chance you have. Let farmers know that you’re concerned about soy and corn feeds, and that you’re willing to pay more for a healthier product. If possible, raise or hunt your own animals, or join with neighbors, family and friends. Cook from scratch, and always consider your oil source. Dig much deeper into the topics of healthy fats, grass-fed beef and other pastured meat, wild meat, and much more in the following articles and resources.

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