Polys and Monos and Sats…

Polys and Monos and Sats…


            Happy Friday, everyone, and welcome back to the Wayside blog!

            We are especially excited today, because we are going to talk about one of our favorite ingredients in meat…

            I guess it is not really an ingredient as much as it is something that just happens to be there.  In any meat, you are going to find this.  And you are going to find this in multiple forms

            You will find this as an acidic enzyme, and you will find that this comes saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and in a “trans” form….

(I just had the Transformers theme go through my head)

            This, of course, is fat.

Isn’t fat bad for you?

            I know that this question is being asked by someone, somewhere, who is reading this article right now.  And the reason that they are wondering that is because we said its one of out favorite parts of the meat.

            Well, it is one of our favorite things (have you ever actually tried fat free meat?), and while too much of any one kind of fat is bad for you (even the healthy kind), your body does need some of most of the fat types listed above.

            Notice that we said “most”… there is a reason that one of those fats does not belong, and we will cover that here.

            The fats that you will find in your meat can be polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated.  That said, it is important to talk about these fats so that you know why they matter, and why they might not be the worst thing for you…

Polyunsaturated Fat

            Above we mentioned fatty acids.  Your polys are what someone is talking about when they are talking about a fatty acid.

            What is a fatty acid?  (Thanks for asking!)

            Think about the big hype that surrounds Omega fatty acids.  Namely, these are going to be Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, both which are important for your body and offer benefits to your body.

                        Omega 3.

            Omega 3 has been long associated with fish and fatty oils that are found in some vegetables.  Think about your fattier vegetables or flaxseed, as examples.

A Classic loaded with Omega 3’s!

A Classic loaded with Omega 3’s!

            The benefits of Omega 3 to the body are that it helps to do things like regulate hormones, boost brain productivity, help build and support cell walls, and generally prove healthy benefits to your skin and hair.  Overall, getting enough of these healthy fats can go a long way to ensuring that you live a healthier and happier life.

                        Omega 6.

            For a long time, people have wanted to stand against Omega 6 acids.  The problem with Omega 6 is that it is somewhat inflammatory.  Omega 6 is often found in rich meat, nuts, and foods that have similar biological profiles. 

            However, while these can cause some inflammation in the system, that is offset by the Omega 3 acids; Omega 3 fights the inflammation that Omega 6 acids cause, and since we do not need a whole lot of Omega 6, it all works out!

            Notice that we say you do need Omega 6; your brain and muscular functions are greatly improved by the consumption of Omega 6 acids.  Just, be sure not to consume more Omega 6 than Omega 3!

Monounsaturated Fat

            Often considered the be the “best” fats, monounsaturated fats are actually fats that will lower bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol, and newer studies are showing that there actually may be cancer-fighting properties in this type of fat.

            So, if these are so good for you, where do you get them?

            Think about the foods that you likely enjoy immensely (or maybe its just me), such as nuts (also rich in Omega 6, so be careful), avocados, olives… things that just kind of “jazz up” other foods.  Think about kalamata olives on a salad, or avocado toast, or chicken with peanut cause.

            Sorry, peanut butter fans… the processing to make peanut butter kind of negates the effects… but we know you were hopeful!

Saturated Fat

            Alright… Saturated fat is the fat that really has been considered the enemy for quite some time.  Saturated fat does have some problems – it does raise cholesterol, and when it is combined with a less-than-active lifestyle it can promote obesity, diabetes, and heart conditions.  This is also, unfortunately, the fat that is most often found in all meats and any animal byproducts (thing dairy and eggs).

            However…. Newer studies have been showing that removing saturated fat from the diet actually increases the risk of chronic conditions.  If you think about it, this does make some sense, as when you look around it seems like illnesses like cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and breathing conditions are on the rise.

            And all of this is happening while we are eating lower levels of saturated fat than our ancestors did.  More studies are showing that it is possibly the processing that is causing the rise in these illnesses, and that this processing is what results in our final fat category.

And Remember… One of these Fats did not Belong…

            The fat that does not belong, because it is simply not found at all in nature, is trans-fat.  Transfat is often added into something for flavor when the other types of fat are removed to make the food “healthier” (since there are less saturated fats).  However, the problem with trans-fat is that the body struggles to break them down. 

            Combine that with the unnatural manufacturing process that is used to make these fats more shelf stable than they should be, and the result is that you have a new type of fat that is simply bad news.

How does this tie to MEAT?

            As you sniff and taste that succulent piece of beef, you are probably not thinking about the fat that is in it.

            Well, you weren’t, but I bet that you are now!

            Many people have sworn off red meat, pork, and lamb or mutton because they are afraid of the saturated fat and cholesterol present.

            I understand how that decision could be made – after all, the different organizations that consider out healthy have been vilifying fats and promoting sugar as a replacement since the 1940’s…

            However, the news is not that dire!

            The fact is that, yes, there is saturated fat in beef.  And yes, too much of that will raise cholesterol and cause other health problems.

            However, consider the fact that there is almost even amounts of saturated and monounsaturated fat in a lean cut of beef. 

            Do you remember the benefits of monounsaturated fat?  It LOWERS bad cholesterol…

            Now, that is an interesting point…

            Eating meat that is properly cared for and properly fed throughout its life will have a balanced fat profile that will provide needed nutrients, and to some extent, has its own built-in “safety feature” to ensure that your cholesterol does not go sky-high every time you have a juicy and delicious burger.

            Really, isn’t that just some great news?

That is all for Today!

            Well, Friday is here, and now it is time for the weekend – break out that grill and fire it up, enjoy your beef and meats… you know that the fat is not the worst thing for you, and you know that you can be healthier for eating it!

            Join us again next week, where we will dive into yet another topic that will (hopefully) interest and entice you.

            Enjoy your weekend, and until then, eat well, live well, and be well!