Fat is flavorful. Fat is Filling. Fat is not (necessarily) fattening.
Fat is not a bad thing. Fat can help you – get this – burn fat. Personally, I’m a big fan of fat, and here’s why you should be too:
As we’ve discussed before, ingesting fat does not necessarily translate into making YOU fat. In fact, some types of fat (like those naturally found in avocados, for example) can actually make you LESS fat when consumed regularly.
Fat is a major requirement of the human diet. The dietary guidelines of most medical agencies recommend that between a quarter and a third of a healthy person’s calories should come from fat. That’s a lot of fat.
It’s been proven that foods that are richer and tastier are more filling. This partially explains how many folks who live in France eat loads of fatty cheese, baked goods, and butter and miraculously maintain their dainty French figures. They don’t feel inclined to eat an entire wheel of Brie in the same way that an American might chow down on a plateful of chili cheese fries. Our cheese, in most cases, isn’t even real. Real fat is filling, fake fat is not.
As fat as we are, most Americans are terrified of fat in foods which can lead to unhealthy dieting that inevitably leads to the very outcome they’re trying to prevent: more fatness. We run into problems when we try to substitute natural fats (like high quality butter, olive oil, avocados, nuts, etc.) for processed fats (margarine, butter substitutes, processed cheese, etc.). In addition, it’s shocking the amount of people who will withhold spreading butter on their toast but will binge on pretzels or pound multiple beers later that night. From a caloric and fat-burning standpoint, that’s diet suicide.
So toss your flavorless Crisco, drop your Velveeta (and shame on you for ever having it to begin with), and banish your margarine and any other hydrogenated trans-fats forever. When possible, you should also stop eating processed foods which contain these fats (which are more than you think). Check the labels – you’ll be surprised.
From the vantage point of a cook, fat is an ingredient, and it’s always advisable to use the highest quality ingredients available. If fat is meant to make up so much of our diet every day, we want to extract as much flavor as possible out of every little dollop we consume.
Olive oil is one of the healthiest of the lipids (and contains the highest percentage of desirable monounsaturated fatty acids) and is also immensely flavorful. Additionally, I’ve been cooking with avocado oil recently, which adds a fantastic flavor to the food and is easier to cook with than olive oil. When you need the old-fashioned buttery flavor, make sure you have real organic butter on hand. Butter is always up to the task.
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