So sorry to ask...might seem a bit trivial but I am confused. My question is: Is the fat that is rendered from the actual fat of pork/beef/chicken the 'good' fat and eating the solid 'hard' fat is 'bad'? I love crisp chicken skin but am confused as to whether this is 'good' or 'bad'? Can anyone explain the 'good' saturated fat to me please? Thanks and sorry if this is a stupid question!
I think you may also be confused about what rendered means. That's ok. It's not a "stupid" question. Here's the scoop:
First of all, any natural source of fat is going to contain a mixture of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. The first two are the most healthy to eat, and should be the majority of your dietary fat. Polyunsaturated fats are very important, and "essential" in the sense that the body can't make them, but you don't need very much. Additionally there are 2 types [that are important to consider]: omega6 and omega3. It's important not to get too much omega6, especially relative to omega3.
In general, the more solid a fat is at room temperature, the more saturated it is. When you render the fat, you melt it and then collect it. You'll notice that with chicken, the result is much more liquid, than with say, tallow from beef, after it cools. That's because chicken fat is relatively high in polyunsaturated fat -- unfortunately, the omega6 kind. So it's not considered ideal, but not because it's saturated: quite the opposite. However, it's hands down better than a processed seed oil, and I wouldn't worry about it that much.
My take is that if you are getting plenty of fat and it is all, or almost all from animals, then you're in a very good position health-wise, even if you eat a lot of chicken. Moving to more ruminants and fewer birds is an optimization.
If it comes from a real animal, it's good saturated fat. Some people don't like the taste or texture of uncooked fat (like that you would find on a steak or cut of pork), but it's not bad for you.
That being said, a lot of people are down on chicken skin, and chicken fat in general; not because of its saturated fat, but because it is very high in omega-6 fats, a type of polyunsaturated fat. I personally wouldn't let a little n-6 keep me from enjoying the crispy skin on top of a roasted chicken breast, though. :)
I was confused about saturated fats too, so I looked through a bunch of blogs, research studies, and books and wrote a blog that summarized what I found....
I'm also trying to grasp this, and was also thinking if it comes from the chicken or pork its the good fat.
So recently I boiled a whole chicken for broth, it turned out fantastic, completely jelled when stored, but the top part had a very thick layer of pure fat.
I tried to included the fat when I reheated the broth, but it was obviously a very fatty chicken and was too much to stomach, so the next time I scraped back most of it and left just a thin layer when I scooped it out (also strong taste). So should I keep most of the fat or discard it? Good question Laura!
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