I know what it was that set me off today. A random article, out of the blue, I shouldn't even have read it. It referred to great food cooked with rendered fat as “early-grave food heaven.” Why do people say stupid things like this?
Because the media bombards us with the simplistic message that Fat Is Bad For You, and it pisses me off.
Why? Because it's not true. Fat is good for you. Fat is good for your body. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Fat doesn’t make you fat, EATING TOO MUCH MAKES YOU FAT! Eating every morsel of your mile high Cheesecake Factory plate is what makes you fat. Eating a whole bag of Doritos is what makes you fat. Eating when you’re not hungry makes you fat!
To argue that fat is bad for you is akin to arguing that homemade chocolate chip cookies or apple pie is bad for you. Is ice cream bad for you? Of course not. Putting away a couple of pints of Rocky Road every night, that probably is. Obviously too much ice cream and too much fat is bad for you. If all you ate was lettuce, lettuce would be bad for you.
When was last time you heard a nutritionist warning you about the dangers of lettuce? Well, I'm here to make you wise. If lettuce is the only thing you eat, you will get sick, you're going to have serious health issues. It can lead to dangerous malnutrition, grave weight loss, and in women, infertility.
Fat is dangerous only insofar as it’s good, because it's so much more fun to eat than lettuce and we want to eat lots and lots of it. Yes, it’s calorie dense and yes, for some people, eating a lot of fat can raise their blood cholesterol—not me apparently, thank you mom and dad, grandpa and grandma—which is linked to some serious stuff, heart attacks and strokes.
But good health is not about being fat-free! It’s about BALANCE! Lots of vegetables, plenty of exercise, moderate consumption of meat, dairy and grains, cooked—and this is really really important—cooked by you or by someone you know, preferably where you or they live.
Please, let’s stop repeating the thoughtless mantra that fat is bad. Because fat is good. And don’t get me started on the fat-free labels processed food companies put on their packages that imply, everywhere we look, the falsehood that fat is bad.
You see food in the grocery store labeled fat-free? My advice is go in the opposite direction. Because they’ve either done something to it to make up for the fat, like putting sugars in “fat-free” half-and-half, or it’s a product that is naturally fat-free, like Kraft granola bars—there’s not supposed to be fat in them (it's the sugar overload that's bad)! Which means the company is pulling one over on you. Don’t let them.
Fat isn’t bad, stupid is bad.
Think for yourself. Use your common sense.
God this shit drives me crazy.
That does it, next up: Fried chicken. That’s right. DEEP FRIED CHICKEN! Who want's to talk about DEEP-FRIED CHICKEN?!
If you liked this post on Lettuce the Silent Killer, check out these other links:
- My post on Lunch with Michael Pollan: Two Words of Warning.
- Food Tech Connect is a great website connect modern technology to food system innovation.
- Read Nina Plank's book Real Food: What to Eat and Why.
- Need to learn more about sustainable agriculture and other food politics visit Civil Eats.
© 2012 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2012 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved