Different disciplines of study can combine to spin a story that is elegant in terms of confronting convention wisdom — in this case, regarding saturated fat. Certainly, journalists like Gary Taubes are tirelessly writing about this, advocacy organizations (like the Westin A Price Foundation,), too. And just what kind of voice is palatable enough to offer alternative stories? The consequences of privileging certain common-wisdom foods over others in this country are staggering for U.S. agriculture and consumers. We demonize cholesterol and saturated fat, and elevate convenience foods (high in PUFAs, sugar, and refined salt). We become obese (due to deficits of fat) and lose our memory, our ability to think. Whither that cultivated life?
Personally, and it probably is no secret, I like the saturated-fats-are-good argument. In my world of critical consumers, I’d emphasize traceable saturated fats and deemphasize sugar of all sorts. So less soft drinks and Twinkies, more sun, be open to taste and smell, and slow down. But finding affordable, healthy saturated fat is not necessarily easy. We are talking livestock products folks, and land for pasture and feed is not cheap.
Saturated fats are unpopular in our highly processed foodshed. We are inundated by polyunsaturated fats, and can easily find some of our favorite monosaturated (like olive oil), but saturated fat is illusive – for its cost, if nothing else. For dairy, consumers lust after non- or low-fat products. For meat, they tend towards lean. Butter has been margarinized (pun intended) for decades. Certainly, American agricultural production is dominated by the production of cereal and legumes (unsaturated fats). Further, few these days have experience cooking with good, saturated fats – artisan, and otherwise.