Most diets today focus on reducing the intake of fat at mealtimes, forgetting that just like proteins and carbohydrates, fats also make up an essential part of a healthy diet plan. However, when fats are derived from natural foods sources like animal fats, and that also from healthy, pasture fed animals, then there is no reason to shy away from these naturally occurring fats.
Animal based foods are the backbone of paleo dieting and render many healthful benefits into the diet. The paleo diet promotes the use of animal fat into the diet in a big way. Meat is not only considered the main source of protein on the diet but also encouraged to provide the better part of fat derived from animals as well. Foods are advised to be cooked in a variety of animal fats to promote health and reap the benefits of this form of healthy fat.
Animal fat like lard, suet and tallow have a very high percentage of fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E, and K. In order to absorb these vitamins effectively, fat is needed for optimal performance. At the same time saturated fat helps restrict the accumulation of unhealthy fat in the liver, thus improving the liver’s performance. For our ancestors, animal fat had been the main source of fuel which has now been replaced by carbs and sugars.
Healthy sources of fat
In order to get our bodies used to burning fats instead of sugar, fat intake has to be restored to desired levels by incorporating healthy sources of fat in to the diet. There is a wide variety of meats to choose from and cooking methods definitely add to the nutritional value of the meal. For instance, pan frying meats in their own fat adds to the fat content of the meal. Slow cooking also releases fat and incorporates it into the meal.
Moving on from using traditional cuts of meat like fillets, ribs, or steaks, paleo followers can try using trimmings, organs and collars to get a more inexpensive source of animal fat into the diet. At the same time new flavors and tastes can be experimented with and adjusted to taste. While cooking poultry like chicken, turkey or duck, paleo followers can cook with the skin on as the skin contains the highest amount of fats. Not only is this an easy and convenient way to add animal fat into the diet, but definitely adds to the flavor of the meal as well. And while saturated fat has popularly been demonized by conventional health gurus, paleo followers can enjoy a generous amount of this satiating fat source according to paleo principles.
Fish and shellfish, especially fatty fish are excellent reserves of animal fat. Consuming fish and shellfish guarantees an adequate supply of omega 3 fatty acids that are crucial for many normal bodily functions along with proper development and growth. The kind of animal fat present in these marine foods is also beneficial for heart health and should be part of everyone’s diet.
Eggs are another inexpensive source of animal fat. Along with providing nutrition rich in protein, eggs also yield animal fat. Eggs are versatile so can be included in the diet in many different ways. Paleo breakfast ideas revolve primarily around eggs with occasionally being paired up with different cuts of meat for a heartier meal. Eggs can easily be incorporated into salads, soups and desserts for a different culinary experience every time. And for snacks, nothing compares to a couple of hard boiled eggs.
When compared to other kinds of fats, animal fat is digested more slowly and adds to the feeling of satiety. In fact, this very feature of animal fats in the paleo diet is one of the main reasons for the diet’s success. By consuming animal fat, the feeling of fullness remains longer with no need to eat repeatedly making the paleo way of eating extremely effective for weight loss.
And with animal fat as their primary fat source, dieters maintain a more sustained source of energy; not having to rely on energy reserves from carbohydrates. And last but not least, let’s not forget the taste factor involved as foods cooked with animal fat deliver a better flavor than others cooked in other types of fat.