Is it Bad to Cook With Saturated Fats?
We’d love it if you ate Miracle Noodle three times a day, every day, but, of course, that’s unrealistic. Our customers ask us, the Miracle Noodle Team, if we eat the noodles. Being primarily a family-run business, you bet we do! Several times a week, in fact.
But of course we like to eat all kinds of food. We do primarily eat veggies for lunch and dinner and even a couple for breakfast (it’s real easy to throw in some spinach and tomato in an omelette), but we also will indulge in foods that have fat from time to time.
No doubt you’ve heard that saturated fat is bad for you. Every mainstream medical expert on TV says that to avoid heart disease, you should avoid saturated fat.
But is this true? Is saturated fat as bad for you as doctors, other medical professionals and associations and dieticians say it is?
The answer is not absolute, black and white.
Saturated fat has many benefits, but only in ideal conditions. Just like anything else that’s cooked, saturated fats become very bad for us when we overcook them or let them spoil.
Where’s the (healthy) beef?
Beef patties, if they are organic, come from pasture-raised, grass-fed cows, is an example of a healthy saturated fat. Grass-fed cows contain lots of omega-3 fatty acids, which are a polyunsaturated fat. But beef also contains saturated fat. The advantage of saturated fat is that it doesn’t spoil when heated...most of the time.
The exception is the ubiquitous barbecue, which brings up a major problem: barbecues are so commonplace, and most of the time, whomever is manning (excuse the sexist implication that the grill master is a ‘man’) the grill will likely blacken (read: overcook) the meat, thereby making it carcinogenic.
In this case, saturated fat would be guilty by association, but not causation. In other words, it’s not the beef that’s unhealthy, it’s the cooking method.
When beef, or any other saturated fat (animal products such as cheese and meats all contain saturated fat) is overcooked, it becomes oxidized, aka spoiled, aka cancer-causing.
Whale blubber is good for you, eat lots of it!
Just kidding. But there are some traditional societies that, after thousands of years, have stuck to their native eating habits and have remained free from debilitating chronic diseases. The Inuit and other Eskimo groups have subsisted on caribou meat and whale blubber for generations, and rarely have heart disease (unless they’ve started eating Western fast food).
The Masai tribe in Kenya subsist on cattle blood and meat and don’t have high cholesterol levels or diabetes or obesity (unless they’re guzzling cola).
Harvard Says Saturated Ain’t that Bad (And They Is Smart!)
With prestigious organizations such as the American Heart Association and American Medical Association claiming that people should limit their diet to, at most, 10% saturated fat, it’s no wonder that most people think saturated fat is a villainous killer.
But some prominent establishments, such as Harvard’s School of Public Health are revising the decades-old witch hunt against saturated fat. Says the school, saturated fat isn’t as evil as other sources claim it is.
But the school does offer some words of wisdom: even though saturated fat is part of a healthy diet people should cut back on red meat and dairy products and replace them with foods that contain other healthy fats: fatty fish such as salmon, nuts and seeds, plant oils and avocados.
The school rightly says to replace not saturated fats only with these other healthy fats above, but more specifically, foods that are high in refined carbohydrates.
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