I’m not a big fan of the low-fat movement. I don’t think eliminating or reducing fat has a thing to do with health. On the other hand, reducing the wrong kinds of fats – and the wrong kinds of carbohydrates – has everything to do with health.
By the wrong kinds of fats I don’t necessarily mean saturated fat, some of which we need. We just don’t want the kind that comes from fried food. Nor do we want to eat the fat-saturated or otherwise – from animals that have been raised on factories and given antibiotics, steroids and hormones, all of which gets stored in their fat and passed on to you. But we need not be afraid of some fat – even saturated – from grass-fed meat, wild fish, and wild game, or anything that’s raised on a family farm without being fed a chemistry set’s worth of carcinogens.
I’m far more concerned about two really bad sources of fat – man-made trans fat and fats that have been damaged by frying, especially in vegetable oil, which creates even more damaging compounds when it’s used for deep frying than the lard it substitutes for. The biochemistry of all this is far too complicated to go into here, but the bottom line is that there’s a big difference between knocking the fat out of a meal and eating healthy. High intakes of processed carbohydrates and sugar are as damaging or more damaging than fat ever was.
So here’s my personal definition of healthy meals. First, healthy meals are made with whole foods, which are foods your grandmother would have recognized as food, food without bar codes. Second, healthy meals are low in sugar. Third, healthy meals are high in plant foods, but they can also be high in animal foods; both are healthy. Fourth, if possible, some ingredients should be raw. And fifth, healthy meals should be prepared lovingly and caringly with as few artificial ingredients and chemicals as possible. Finally for overall health on a long-term basis, most healthy meals should be lower in calories than most of us are used to.
In case you didn’t notice, none of that has anything to do with being low fat. But it has everything to do with being healthy.