Animal and vegetable oils and fat are used in large amounts in processed food. Fats are included for several reasons including helping dry processed food such as biscuits stay moist. Home made biscuits would last only a week or so in a biscuit tin, purchase them from a store and they will last a month or more after opening. Fats and Oils in processed food requires additional preservatives to prevent them from going rancid.
Fats and oils can be found in potato chips, cakes, cheese, salad dressings, bread, ice cream and chocolate among a long list of similar processed food. The fats included in these is often in addition to any natural fat present in the base ingredients.
We consume more fat than required through fats in processed food. Meat, Eggs, Fish, Chicken and Pork also provide fat in our diet. Dietary fatty oil requirements can be fulfilled through plant oils such as Canola, fresh fish, sardines or canned tuna and salmon as well as nuts and some vegetables.
While there is a huge excess of fat in our diet we do require small amounts of fat for healthy cell production. Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish and plant oils is sufficient to our bodies needs. The overuse problem surfaces when we add more fat through fast food, processed food from the supermarket and other sources of fat we consume through the day in addition to regular, traditional home cooked meals as well as in the preparation of these meals.
At home we can also reduce the amount of fat we consume. The way in which food is prepared is a good place to start. A lean roast beef is perfectly fine when cooked in an oven rack over a bath of water but cooking the same roast in an oven bag where it continuously bastes itself in its own dripping fat is not healthy. As a kid I would always ask for the crunchiest lamb chop. I used to eat the chop fat and all. Not a health choice but a rather delicious one at the time. These days with better education I trim fat from any meat before eating or where possible trim the fat before cooking.
Fat is often added to processed meats such as sausages and sandwich meats to prevent them drying out. A fat free alternative is to use low salt marinades. In most cases you will need to ask your butcher to prepare a special batch of sausages from a select piece of lean meat or fat free trimmings.
Reducing fat in your diet offers several benefits to your health. Reduced fat will help towards your goal of reducing weight – but its not the only factor in weight loss. Reduced fat, particularly animal fats reduces the level of cholesterol in your blood which can lead to heart and blood pressure problems. Eliminating animal fats from your diet can assist in reducing toxins in your body because when an animal is exposed to a persistent chemical it often stores the foreign toxin in fat cells.
Article written by Eric J. Smith