Saturated Fat Isn’t Bad for You Claims “The Big Fat Surprise”

Saturated fat isn't bad for you according to the Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz
The types of food you eat can have a huge impact on the amount you end up spending on your grocery budget. One of the long-held beliefs is that consumers should avoid meat, dairy and cheese as much as possible due to the high amount of saturated fat they contain. The common belief is saturated fat is bad for your heart, and consumption of it is a leading cause of heart disease.

In her new book “The Big Fat Surprise,” Nina Teicholz says this assumption about saturated fat is incorrect, and it isn’t nearly as bad as the claims have made it to be. She argues that the belief came from a study in the early 1960’s, but that study was flawed because it looked at overall cholesterol and cherry-picked the countries which were part of the study. She notes that our understanding of cholesterol had greatly improved over the years, and we know heart disease is linked to the type of cholesterol (HDL or LDL) in the blood, not necessarily the amount. Her conclusion is that we shouldn’t demonize foods which contain saturated fat the way we do.

If true, this is good news for those who like red meat, but it may not be so good for those who are looking for ways to save money. For anyone who is on a grocery budget, the high price of beef can make sticking to that budget quite difficult. Below are a number of steps that you can take to help reduce the cost of beef in your grocery budget.

A Slow Cooker is Your Friend

One of the easiest ways to reduce the amount that you spend on beef is to buy less expensive cuts. The problem is that these are often tougher and less tasty than more expensive cuts. The solution to this problem is to take out your slow cooker. Placing inexpensive cuts of beef into a slow cooker with vegetables, and letting it simmer for the entire day, will make the meat tender and juicy. If you have never tried it before, you’ll be amazed.

Discounted Beef

Beef that has not been sold which is nearing its sell date will almost always be heavily discounted by the grocery store. They would rather sell it at a discounted price than have to throw it away and get nothing for it. The meat is still perfectly fine, and can be 50% off or more from its regular price. Many people shy away from this because they don’t think they’ll be able to consume it in time. This is where your freezer is your friend. Get the beef at a great discount, take it home and immediately freeze it into perfect portions for your family. It will be in great shape when you’re ready to eat it, and in the perfect sized portion.

Do It Yourself

The more that you’re willing to do yourself with the beef, the less expensive it will be. Think of it the same way as you would a block of cheese and shredded cheese. A block of cheese is much less expensive than shredded cheese, but you have to do a little bit more work if you want shredded cheese. The same applies to beef.

Ground beef will be less expensive than premade beef patties. Purchasing chuck roast when it’s on sale and grinding it yourself will be less expensive than ground beef. Steaks which haven’t been marinated will be less expensive than those that have. The more preparation of the meat you do yourself, the less expensive the beef will be.

Change the Meal Focus

It’s common in the US for meat to be the main focus on the plate for meals. That’s not the case in many countries. In many places around the world, meat is used more as a side to bring extra flavor to the main portion of the meal. Making other foods the focus of your meals, with beef being a tasty side, will allow you to spend less while not completely eliminating it from your diet.

Switch to Less Expensive Meats

Another option is to switch to less expensive meats than beef. Pork and chicken are less expensive than beef, and switching to these in place of beef can help you stay within your grocery budget.

Family Sizes

Even if you don’t have a large family, consider buying the family-size packages. The family-size packages will usually be less expensive per pound then the same beef cuts in smaller packages. Once again, the freezer is your friend, and you can freeze all the extra meat in proper portions to use at a later date.

Explore Other Options

Purchasing beef from your local grocery store is not the only way that you can buy it. Purchasing it from another source may save you a significant amount of money. Check to see if there are any butcher shops in your area, farmers who raise beef cattle, or meat lockers. One of these alternatives may be able to supply your family with beef at a better price than you can buy at your local grocery store.

Buy Leaner

When you go to buy hamburger, look at how lean the ground beef is as well as the price. Ground beef that is 70% lean will be less expensive than ground beef that is 95% lean, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a better value. When you cook up the hamburger, leaner ground beef will leave you with more meat for your money because less lean ground beef has a lot of fat in it, which cooks away.

Look for Coupons

Most people don’t even realize that beef coupons exists, but they do. They can be a little difficult to find because you won’t find them in your Sunday paper. Beef coupons usually come on products which are related to cooking or eating beef. Some common places you might find beef coupons are on alcoholic drinks such as beer and wine. You might find it on barbecue sauce or on barbecue charcoal. The coupons will usually give you a few dollars off the purchase of the beef of your choice when you buy it in conjunction with the product that is offering the coupon.

(Photo courtesy of Marshall Astor)

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17 Responses to Saturated Fat Isn’t Bad for You Claims “The Big Fat Surprise”

  1. ben says:

    Get a clue before parroting authors and making broad claims about advising people to continue eating animal foods. Those foods kill people. The science is clear on that. And, it’s more than the saturated fat causing the problems.

  2. md1187 says:

    “The common belief is saturated fat is bad for your heart, and consumption of it is a leading cause of heart disease. This is good news for those who like meat,”

    What? There was no attempt to prove or disprove anything in that sentence. How is a commonly held belief good or bad for anything?
    What is the purpose of this article is it lazy writing, terrible science or thinly veiled pro beef advertising?

  3. Rick says:

    Moderation is the KEY!

    All you “vegan” dorks – yes, you are also going to die, given enough time – no matter how many organic leaves you eat!

    Get a life and get clue – go eat a BURGER – and leave the rest of us BEEF lovers alone!


  4. Ethan X says:

    All these people running around with dietary agendas about don’t eat this, and don’t eat that are the ones causing the problems. We just don’t know enough about the interaction with foods and our body’s metabolism to maximize health.

    Eat what you want *in moderation*, eat as *varied* a diet as you can, and avoid overly processed foods with excessive salt, sugar, and fat.

    Americans are fortunate to have a cornucopia of foods available at most markets, yet stick to a very limited grocery list. Expand your dietary horizons! There are foods out there with amazing nutrients that benefit health. You might even find a new favorite!

  5. Lawrence Haley says:

    Saturated fats ate essential to good health and animals foods are an essential source of these healthy fats.

  6. Howard Ensler says:

    Oh my. Based on what she presumes is a faulty study (not identified)the author of this article gives credence to her conclusions that a 60 year old study is faulty. Lets go out an buy move beef, but the author says buy leaner beef.
    Please note that the fat in the ground been for a hamburger gives it the flavor. Very lean ground meat is bad for burgers. Besides the book cited says that the saturated fat is not realy bad for health. Where does the advice to eat lean come from.
    The best advice is to buy the correct meat for the style of cooking that you want to do. Cheaper cuts are tougher and require different cooking than higher fat meats.

  7. angela says:

    Well geez Ben, it’s a wonder how since the beginning of human time, we have managed to survive by being meat eaters. I mean, if you were correct, the human race would have started dying out the second it started eating animal protein, which if you didn’t know, has been since the existence of human beings.

    Or maybe you are a disgruntled vegan who hates meat eaters and needs to shove your FALSE “science” down our throats to try and fool us into following your fool’s vision.

  8. James B says:

    I don’t know when you found the time to comment on this given all the research papers your busy publishing, I know I can speak for many of us that we are f@#%in^ grateful for your valuable contribution.

  9. Vic says:

    Go get education before typing anything. There is few nutrients found in animal food only. If you think that you can get by on “grass” diet only it is fine, but the fact is that humans didn’t even start evolving to who we are now until food rich in animal proteins was introduced.

  10. JR says:

    …Brought to you by The Cattlemans Association.

  11. Dr David says:

    Thank You Ethan. Well stated and absolutely correct.

  12. Vic says:

    Well we actually do know a lot about nutrition by now. I was taking medical nutrition class few semesters ago, and the book basically says “Eat what ever you want. You have to eat everything in reasonable amounts. Amounts of nutrients that needs to be consumed for healthy life depends on genetics and life style of individual.” Bottom line. There is no universal formula of how much and what you have to eat.

  13. RubberyCelery says:

    I have a high total cholesterol level (> 200 mg/dL) and a high LDL cholesterol level (>100 mg/dL), so I guess this means I can eat all the greasy foods laden with saturated fat that I want to with no harm later on, right?

  14. RubberyCelery says:

    Hey, burger king – your logic is moronic. Middle school children can reason better than that.

  15. Mike says:

    Good article, but I wouldn’t change my diet to include lots of foods high in saturated fats. Foods high in saturated fats are missing FIBER. If your diet includes huge amounts of foods with saturated fats, your digestive track (and your body) will ultimately suffer.

    The author of this story is entitled to her opinion, but I doubt health professionals will stand behind her and clap their hands.

  16. Mike says:

    Yes, those foods do cause problems for many people. Good point.

  17. Aaron says:

    Thank you for this nice article. I am poor and trying to do what I can to avoid diabetes and loose weight. Having little storage and cooking space, it is hard, but I think I can do it. I am not a very good cook yet, but I think I can get better.

    Much of what was written I can confirm from experience, like the slow cooker and necessity of a bigger freezer, and de-emphasizing meat and appreciating pork and chicken. As he notes, moderation.

    I guess in a world where a double cheeseburger is as quick and cheaper than the soda, we’re bound to get sick from culture, habit and nature if we aren’t paying attention.

    Many thanks again for this nice article. Bookmarking it as a good reference.

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