Thursday, January 26, 2012

so close, yet so far

Yesterday evening I spotted this headline on Yahoo:

Fried foods not direct cause of heart risk, new study finds.

And I'm like, HA! SUCK IT, low-fat proponents, because I've been saying that for years.

But then the article goes on to say,

"We currently recommend swapping saturated fats like butter, lard or palm oil for unsaturated fats as a way of keeping your cholesterol down and this study gives further cause to make that switch...Regardless of the cooking methods used, consuming foods with high fat content means a high calorie intake. This can lead to weight gain and obesity, which is a risk factor for heart disease."

And then I'm like, Sigh, alas alack, they still ain't getting the big picture.

In the first place I don't know of ANYBODY, aside from myself and a few other crackpots in the Primal lifestyle crowd (and I can't be sure those are real people, anyway), who cook with butter, lard, or palm oil. It's corn and soy oil 'round these parts. I was raised on Crisco, which I haven't eaten since I left my mother's kitchen, and which was giving me heartburn at age 25.

Calories do count, but much less than the soundbites would have you believe. The important thing is to make sure the calories you ingest are nutritionally dense, and helpful, rather than detrimental, to the body. Animal fats--butter, lard, tallow--are fats we evolved to eat. They're about as natural as you can get. Olive oil is natural--it's pressed out and unadulterated. Corn and soybean oil are frankenfoods. They're not good for your digestion and they're not good for your liver.

I have a great interest in the insulin theory, but it tends to be rather complex and difficult to explain to people, so I just think of it this way: if you eat calories that your body can't use, then it shuffles them aside and demands something else with some actual vitamins in it. That's why you can have a huge meal of processed foods and still feed unsatisfied.

The other problem with American fried foods is they are often breaded, and heavy batters of wheat flour are not good for you. I've used almond flour, parmesan, oat flour, gluten-free baking mix, and coconut flour for breading; they are all decent alternatives.

But sauteeing in butter or olive oil, the way they do it in France/Italy/Spain, is about as healthy as you can get, plus it tastes good. See? That's the real reason French women don't get fat.


Freyalyn said...

Yep, I spotted some of the blogs that looked at this research before the main media took it and ran in the wrong direction. *Sigh*.

Alien Life Form said...

I don't use veg oil for much other than baking, and even that I occasionally swap out. Olive oil and butter are my main choices for cooking, but beet greens in bacon fat are awesome too. And now I'm hungry :D
What do you use to deep fry stuff? I don't do it often, but I haven't settled on a good alternative to veg oil for that yet.

Holly said...

For high-temp frying I used lard or peanut oil, depending on the recipe. For pan sauteeing I like olive oil or butter. Often both.

Holly said...

I should add that I found a good local butcher who sells fresh lard in buckets. :-)

Shirley, surely said...

Hmmm. I might have to swap sumpin' with you for some of that!