One question I often get: Is this a good fat or a bad one?
Labeling something a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ fat is a bit misleading, but there are certainly fats that I incorporate into my diet and there are others that I prefer to avoid.
So where does animal fat fall into that spectrum? If you eat a steak or bacon, are you subjecting yourself to too much fat? Let’s discuss!
What is Animal Fat?
Animal fats are natural sources of lipids that are an essential part of the organism. Typically, the animal fats that we consume are partnered with some kind of protein. Animal fat may be found in steaks, ground meat, eggs, milk, cheese, etc. Ultimately, fats are a way for the animal to store energy – which is passed on to us as we consume the animal product.
How Much Fat Do I Need?
You all know my favorite answer: It depends. It depends on your calorie expenditure, your body size, your physique goals, and many other factors. Hiring a responsible nutritionist or coach can help you target exactly how much fat you should be consuming and what that looks like in your day-to-day meals. There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to nutrition.
What are Good Sources?
Animal fats may not be the only source of fat in your diet, but they can be a great natural source of lipids and energy. Dairy products like milk, butter, and cheese can be good sources of animal fats that aren’t highly processed (depending on your source). Meat products that come from beef, pork, and poultry can have good sources of fat as well. Fish can be a heart-healthy source of omega-3 fatty acids. I encourage you to do your research and find the best sources of fats that align with your nutrition needs and goals.
So many people are quick to write off animal fats in place of vegetable fats. I think that is the wrong approach. Any natural product that gets demonized deserves at least a second look. There are lots of nuances in nutrition and animal fats can be very diverse and complex. I always recommend that people hire a trustworthy, reliable coach to examine their nutrition and see what they are eating on a daily basis. This type of dietary analysis can determine what you need to keep doing, what foods/drinks you need to omit from your diet, and help establish a plan moving forward.
What are your favorite sources of animal fats? Let us know what you think in a comment below and until next time.. Stay moving!