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Who's Afraid of a Little Fat?

By: Dr. Al Sears, MDTallow

When I was little, my grandmother’s kitchen was the place to be on Sunday afternoons. That’s when she used to bake pies. She would trim the edges and I got to eat some of the delicious leftovers. Her crusts were second to none.

What was her secret? Homemade pig lard. Good old-fashioned lard is one of the most natural fats. In its unpolluted, unadulterated form it’s also one of the healthiest fats you can eat.

This goes against everything we’ve been told for fifty years. In fact, the diet dictocrats are doing everything they can to ban natural fat from your food because they say it causes heart disease.

Why would they do that? Because natural is not “proprietary.” By proprietary I mean something that they manufacture, patent, trademark, corner the market and sell it to you at a huge profit.

They do this with synthetic fat substitutes…but even before they created synthetic fats they were trying to tell you fat was bad for you. Because carbohydrates are easier to produce cheaply.

Fats in nature have a fixed cost. But carbohydrates…you can grow them in huge quantities, get the government to subsidize and pay you for growing them, and sell them for cheaper than dirt.

That’s what attracted the big food manufacturers to carbohydrate. For example, there’s only about 20 cents worth of wheat in a $4 box of Wheaties. A loaf of white bread has around 15 cents worth of wheat. Peanut butter has maybe 35 cents worth of peanuts.

With fat, it’s hard to make a 5,000% profit like you can selling a box of cereal.

It’s hard to keep perspective with such intense, widespread and effective marketing. I’ve devoted much of my professional career to this subject. I’ve read scores of books on nutrition, I’ve attended multiple conferences and I’m a certified clinical nutritionist. Yet their disinformation campaign is still overwhelming, even to me.

But before you start writing to me telling me how ignorant I am, Let me give you three reasons why telling you not to eat fat anymore is a bad idea. Then I’ll show you the best places to get the healthiest fats.

Reason 1: Fat is one of our three macronutrients.

You need this nutrient to give you energy, maintain your body temperature, transport nutrients, and build a faster brain.

Fat is so important that if your body senses you’re starving, it does everything it can to preserve your fat stores.

Reason 2: We eat less fat than our ancestors and our heart disease rates keep going up.

Reason 3: Saturated fats are a natural part of your diet and they don’t raise your risk of heart disease.

Take a look at the science that backs me up on this.

Contributors to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition did a review of 21 studies and found no evidence that eating less saturated fat lowers your risk of heart disease.(1)

In fact, one study found the opposite. It followed 235 women for over three years and the more saturated fat they ate, the less their arteries got clogged. The women who ate more processed fake fats had the worst progression of atherosclerosis, especially when eating carbs and a lot of high glycemic index foods.(2)

This was backed up by another study that found almost the exact same thing. More saturated fat meant less heart disease.(3)

I tell patients who come to my clinic that I recommend eating as many different natural foods as possible to get the widest variety of healthy fats. You should get at least 50% of your fat from saturated fats.

Here’s a chart I use to give you an idea of which foods have more of the “good” saturated and monounsaturated fats and which have man-made trans-fats:

Fat 1 TBS Saturated Fat (grams) Monounsaturated Fat (grams) Polyunsaturated Fat (grams) Trans Fats
Lard  5.0 5.8 1.4 0.0
Butter  7.2  3.3  0.5 0.0
Margarine (stick)  1.6  4.2  2.4 3.0
Vegetable Shortening  3.2  5.7  3.3 1.7
Olive Oil  1.8  10.0  1.2 0.0
Beef Tallow  6.4  5.4  0.5 0.0
Flaxseed Oil  1.3  2.5  10.2 0.0
Corn Oil  1.7  3.3  8.0 0.0

Also, remember:

  • If you want to try lard, you should get it from natural sources. The lard sold in most grocery stores is typically hydrogenated to give it a longer shelf life. It’s not the real stuff. One rule of thumb: If it’s not refrigerated, you don’t want it.
  • Other good food sources of healthy, natural fats are eggs and nuts.
  • Coconuts have two unique fats – lauric and cupric acid – that are among the heart-healthiest from any food.
  • Stearic acid, which is found in beef and pork, skinless chicken, olive oil, cheese, and chocolate, is one of many saturated fatty acids found in food. Other healthy fats include lauric, myristic and palmitic acids.


Editors Note:  Dr. Al Sears, M.D. is a board-certified clinical nutrition specialist. His practice, Dr. Sears' Health & Wellness Center in Royal Palm Beach, Fla., specializes in alternative medicine. He is the author of seven books in the fields of alternative medicine, anti-aging, and nutritional supplementation, including The Doctor's Heart Cure. To get his free special report on the proven anti-aging strategies for building a vibrant, disease-free life, go here now. You'll learn how to stop Father Time without giving up the foods you love.


1. Siri-Tarino P, Sun Q, Hu F, Krauss R. “Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Mar;91(3):535-46.
2. Mozaffarian D, Rimm E, Herrington D. “Dietary fats, carbohydrate, and progression of coronary atherosclerosis in postmenopausal women.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Nov;80(5):1175-84.
3. Griel A, Kris-Etherton P. “Beyond saturated fat: the importance of the dietary fatty acid profile on cardiovascular disease.” Nutr Rev. 2006 May;64(5 Pt 1):257-62.