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Lean meats? But I thought animal fat was good? Surely fatty meat is good? I'm confused

by (5)
Updated about 9 hours ago
Created August 27, 2013 at 8:50 PM

So I've been doing paleo a little while now and I'm staring to look and feel good.

The thing I've never got is lean meat? I can fry my lean meat in good animal fat though!! Looking into a ketogenic diet It's fat fat fat.

What's wrong with fatty meat? Why lean?

Cheers

Nick

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55 · August 29, 2013 at 12:46 AM

While they might've added access only to lean meat wild game, it doesn't mean that their fat intake was low. For example, among the native north american people oolichan grease made from oolichan fish was a food staple and was a major commodity that they traded with inland tribes. Most other cultures around the world had their regular day-to-day fat supplies one way or the other. Also 'lean-meat' and fat profile of paleo era game is discussed at http://www.thincs.org/discuss.cordainagain.htm. Bison, elks and even mammoths were not as lean as you make it out to be.

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10184 · August 28, 2013 at 7:55 PM

The flawed science on fat comes from Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution in the early 70's.

Medium avatar
10184 · August 28, 2013 at 7:54 PM

Eating fatty meat daily was not normal. Maybe a month at a time in feasting periods. Maybe. Meat was precious and fat even more precious. Our ancestors probably were in ketosis a lot from starvation, but rarely if ever from eating massive amounts of fat.

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10184 · August 28, 2013 at 5:23 PM

What I said above essentially is a defense of Cordain. Lean meat was the rule, not the exception, and modern arguments about O3:O6 ratios are seriously overthinking what out ancestors ate.

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10184 · August 28, 2013 at 5:19 PM

The biggest source of fatty meat is farm animals. Our paleo ancestors had very little access to abundant fat except under unusual conditions. Fat bears coming out of hibernation. Baby animals they could steal from the mothers in the spring. Squrrels stuffed with nuts in the fall. Red salmon. But because they had no useful cooking vessels, the fat could not be collected easily in large quantities. And the larger range animals like bison and elk were lean and mostly tough meats, with only a few tender fatty organs.

Medium avatar
10184 · August 28, 2013 at 3:24 PM

This is the point that paleo fracks on. The diet that ancestors ate is more in line with Cordain, because abundant fatty meat needs pastured and feed lot conditions. Heavy fat eating traces straight to Atkins ketosis dieting, not to ancestral. But many paleos bollox it up and equate paleo diet into Atkins.

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8 Answers

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55 · August 28, 2013 at 12:44 AM

See haley's answer.

Grain fed cows (or sheep or whatever) tend to accumulate fat that are more in n6 and less in n3 fats. Additionally environmental toxins (and anti-biotics?) has a tendency to build up in the fatty sections of an animal body.

So the thumb rule is, if you are going to buy grass-fed meat then go for the fattier parts and ofcourse the liver, heart etc.. But if you are buying factory farmed, grain fed meat which came from animals that lived under bad environmental conditions then it is safe to stick to lean meat and use some good fat like coconut oil or ghee or lard to cook the lean meat.

Mark Sisson also mentioned something similar in MDA - http://www.marksdailyapple.com/does-the-liver-store-toxins/

Medium avatar
10184 · August 28, 2013 at 5:19 PM

The biggest source of fatty meat is farm animals. Our paleo ancestors had very little access to abundant fat except under unusual conditions. Fat bears coming out of hibernation. Baby animals they could steal from the mothers in the spring. Squrrels stuffed with nuts in the fall. Red salmon. But because they had no useful cooking vessels, the fat could not be collected easily in large quantities. And the larger range animals like bison and elk were lean and mostly tough meats, with only a few tender fatty organs.

Medium avatar
10184 · August 28, 2013 at 5:23 PM

What I said above essentially is a defense of Cordain. Lean meat was the rule, not the exception, and modern arguments about O3:O6 ratios are seriously overthinking what out ancestors ate.

Cb893ff469fdc4aa38e031dcf9d5a8a5
55 · August 29, 2013 at 12:46 AM

While they might've added access only to lean meat wild game, it doesn't mean that their fat intake was low. For example, among the native north american people oolichan grease made from oolichan fish was a food staple and was a major commodity that they traded with inland tribes. Most other cultures around the world had their regular day-to-day fat supplies one way or the other. Also 'lean-meat' and fat profile of paleo era game is discussed at http://www.thincs.org/discuss.cordainagain.htm. Bison, elks and even mammoths were not as lean as you make it out to be.

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351 · August 27, 2013 at 11:53 PM

I think some people eat lean meat of they can't afford grass-fed, this way they don't get way too much omega-6... if it's grass-fed, knock yourself out!

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25 · August 27, 2013 at 9:44 PM

IMHO fatty meat is just as good as lean meat for paleo purposes. The quality of the meat is more important, as in grass fed, corn free, etc.

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25 · August 28, 2013 at 1:56 PM

@joanna

probably Loren Cordain's hard line on fatty meats that trips up beginner paleos

Medium avatar
10184 · August 28, 2013 at 3:24 PM

This is the point that paleo fracks on. The diet that ancestors ate is more in line with Cordain, because abundant fatty meat needs pastured and feed lot conditions. Heavy fat eating traces straight to Atkins ketosis dieting, not to ancestral. But many paleos bollox it up and equate paleo diet into Atkins.

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5650 · August 27, 2013 at 10:42 PM

i stick to fatty meats because they taste good and are good for you. i only eat grass fed and organic. why do you think you can only eat lean meats?

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602 · August 27, 2013 at 9:58 PM

If it is grass fed, eat as much of the fat as you can. For industrial meat, go ahead and eat some fat if you feel like it, but I wouldn't go crazy with it. Grass fed butter makes any steak better.

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321 · August 27, 2013 at 9:48 PM

Basically it is just meat that has less than a specific amount of fat and cholesterol in it. In order to be lean it must have less than a certain amount of saturated fat. Not all fats are the same, go ahead and research "saturated fat" and make your own decision from there.

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300 · August 27, 2013 at 9:44 PM

Welcome Paleo - it's a big tent :-)

I think most Paleo practitioners do prefer juicy fat meat; as this both aligns with the known practices of previous and existing hunter-gather communities, and matches the known science of aerobic cell metabolism.

So in short, I think you have been given the wrong advice regarding fat consumption. Advice probably based off 1960/70s flawed science where cholesterol was observed in heart disease victims and assumed to be a causative agent instead of the body's attempt to protect and repair arterial damage due to the real killer - inflammation.

The process of revising science (especially with some people's careers on the line) is a slow one; so review multiple sources before making up your mind.

For my part, I suggest some pro-fat reading: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/high-fat-diet-healthy-safe/

Medium avatar
10184 · August 28, 2013 at 7:55 PM

The flawed science on fat comes from Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution in the early 70's.

Medium avatar
10184 · August 28, 2013 at 7:54 PM

Eating fatty meat daily was not normal. Maybe a month at a time in feasting periods. Maybe. Meat was precious and fat even more precious. Our ancestors probably were in ketosis a lot from starvation, but rarely if ever from eating massive amounts of fat.

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