We’ve done a few notes about meat recently (meat and dairy, meat and life expectancy) and I’ve received a number of replies/queries about the saturated fat content of meat. The general impression seems to be that meat is ‘full of saturated fat.’ This is not the case and so I thought a general note with some facts on this might be helpful for people who are interested in health, nutrition and meat.
Facts about fat
We need to start with the facts about fat generally, before homing in on saturated fat specifically.
1) Human beings must consume fat; we die without doing so. The word “essential” in nutrition means something that we must consume. There are two essential fats (omega-3 and omega-6) and four fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), which must be consumed. There are things that are essential for human health in the normal use of the word – cholesterol being a good example – but the body makes cholesterol, so we don’t need to consume it. Hence cholesterol is essential, but not an essential nutrient if that makes sense.