Nourishing Fats: Why We Need Animal Fats For Health And Happiness

I’m happy to report that my new book, Nourishing Fats, will be out this coming January (2017). The book began as a few notes and a hasty table of contents jotted down over a dozen years ago, after many conversations with my mentor, Mary G. Enig, PhD. We agreed on the need for a popular book addressing the subject of saturated fats, one that would do more than acknowledge the notion that they “might not be so bad,” but explain why they are essential to life. Needless to say, the inspiration for this book, and the basic knowledge on fats and oils, came from her. Nourishing Fats is dedicated to the memory of this courageous biochemist, who sacrificed research grants and a prestigious career in order to warn the public about the dangers of trans fats.

Nourishing Fats by Sally Fallon MorellI think the timing for this book is just right.  Many fine researchers and writers have paved the way for the collapse of the anti-saturated fat dogma, most notably Nina Teicholz, whose excellent book The Big Fat Surprise brought this whole issue to public notice, especially readers for the New York Times, a publication that has featured Nina’s work. Nina exposed the background and fraud that led to the low-fat dietary guidelines, and the dangers of a diet that avoids animal fats, even the so-called Mediterranean diet, which was promoted by Ancel Keys. In the course of writing her book, Nina discovered that the reason you never hear about the French diet (high in saturated fat from butter, cream and meat) and the French paradox (rates of heart disease in France are low) in Keys’ papers is because “Keys didn’t like to travel in France.”  No, he preferred the sunny Mediterranean, especially Italy, where he eventually purchased a villa. (Fred Kummerow reports seeing Keys enjoying a breakfast of bacon and eggs at a conference many years ago; when he asked Keys why he wasn’t eating a lowfat breakfast, Keys replied that such diets were only for the masses!)

Nourishing Fats has provided a platform to bring together all that we have learned over the past fifteen years, and its key message is that far from posing a threat to human health, animal fats are essential to physical health and mental well being. Here’s a summary of the chapters in my upcoming book:

Chapter 1: The Greatest Villains: An outline of the campaign to demonize butter and lard while promoting industrial fats and oils as free of cholesterol and saturated fat. This pernicious marketing effort, ongoing since 1913, has relied on flimsy evidence to turn Americans away from nutrient-dense animal fats, in the teeth of mounting evidence that the science supporting these claims is shaky to nonexistent.

Chapter 2:  A Short Lesson in the Biochemistry of Fat: Saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated?  Omega-3, omega-6, omega-9.  Fatty acid, triglycerides, cholesterol? What do all these terms mean? The chemistry of fats is actually not that difficult, and this chapter gives you all the information you need.

Chapter 3: Not Guilty as Charged: Animal fats get the blame for everything from cancer to ingrown toe nails—and none of these accusations is true! The science shows that saturated animal fats actually protect us from chronic disease, including heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s and even weight gain.

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Chapter 4:  The Many Roles of Saturated Fat: We need saturated fat for the brain, the heart, the kidneys and the lungs, for hormone production and for protection against inflammation—in fact for every cell to work properly.  Our bodies can’t function without saturated fat!

Chapter 5:  AA and DHA: We get these important fatty acids, which support everything from brain function to gut integrity to healthy skin, exclusively from animal fats.

Chapter 6: Remember the Activators! Critical vitamins A, D and K2 occur uniquely in animal fats—and westerners are woefully deficient in these nutrients.  A, D and K2 support everything from proper vision to growth to fertility.  Vitamin K2 is essential for wide, attractive facial development and naturally straight teeth in children—we owe a great debt to Chris Masterjohn for figuring out that Dr. Price’s X Factor is actually vitamin K2, and for finding all the research on this important vitamin.

Chapter 7: The Rancid and the Trans: With the revelation that trans fats are bad—bad at any level in the diet—food manufacturers and consumers are using more liquid vegetable oils—but these carry the problem of rancidity.  Rancid liquid oils cause uncontrolled reactions on the cellular level; trans fats inhibit reactions.  The result of the Standard American Diet containing industrially processed fats and oils is biochemical chaos.

Chapter 8: Remember the Little Ones: Children need animal fats for normal growth and the development of their brains.  But at the two-year checkup, doctors warn moms not to give saturated fats to their toddlers, and whole milk is forbidden in school lunches—despite consistent science showing that children on low-fat diets are more likely to suffer from allergies, asthma, learning disorders and obesity.  We are literally starving our children in the name of phony science.

Chapter 9: Animal Fats for the Mind: The key components of animal fats—stearic acid, arachidonic acid, cholesterol, and vitamins A, D and K2–are critical for neurological function and for supporting our emotional biochemistry as well.  The receptors for serotonin, the body’s feel-good chemical, can’t work without cholesterol, and vitamin A helps us focus on completing tasks.  It’s hard to be happy without plenty of animal fats in the diets.

Chapter 10: Why Butter is Better: The queen of fats, butter is loaded with nutrients the body needs to be healthy and happy. Starve yourself of butter during the day and you’ll crave ice cream when nighttime rolls around. Modern processing technologies cannot come close to providing in spreads and margarines the range of vitamins and lipid components present in butter, Nature’s fat for optimal growth and development.

The book is beautifully illustrated by Mary Wooden, and begins with a Foreword by Nina Teicholz.  My main hope is that this book will convince American parents to feed their kids butter!

Since its founding in 1999, the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) has served as a lone voice in warning the public about the dangers of the low-fat agenda. WAPF receives no moneys from the food industry or government, and depends on membership fees to carry out its important work.  Consider becoming a member to support our efforts to return nutrient-dense foods, including important fats like butter and lard, to American tables.


Author: Sally Fallon Morell

Sally Fallon Morell is best known as the author of Nourishing Traditions®: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. This well-researched, thought-provoking guide to traditional foods contains a startling message: animal fats and cholesterol are not villains but vital factors in the diet, necessary for normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels.

13 thoughts on “Nourishing Fats: Why We Need Animal Fats For Health And Happiness”

  1. Excellent information. I agree 100% although I am very careful selecting my lamb, my bison, grass fed liver etc. also, grass fed butter is easier to find now. 😊

  2. Curious, does your book address why the diets of people who live in the blue zones (most people living beyond 100) do not contain much animal fat? And do you address the Ornish diet? How that is consistently ranked best to fight and possibly reverse heart disease and that is very low fat?

    1. Yes, I do discuss this, how the Blue Zone book leaves out important details about these diets.

      Not in my book but a good example is the long-lived people of Puerto Rico–we had a letter about this in the Wise Traditions journal last issue. The diet is described as containing corn, beans and vegetables. Well, yes, they do eat these things sometimes, but the diet is based on pork, pork organs and especially lard. They eat tons of lard. This fact is conveniently left out.

      Here is a discussion of the Ornish diet:

      I also discuss the “outliers” of Roseto, PA, a very healthy, long-lived people. The researchers were perplexed because these people ate lots of lard and other animal fats. When they stopped eating these traditional fats, chronic disease, including heart disease, went up.

  3. Outstanding book. Question: On page 93 you note that DHA may be obtained from”…animal fats like butter” but on page 173 you state that with regard to the profile of butter “The only thing missing is DHA….” Were you perhaps referring to the small amount of DHA in butter?

  4. Can drinking bone broth help a person who has kidney disease? The reason I am asking is because I’ve been told that my daughter ( who has CKF) cannot process the proteins in foods so she must severely limit them. If bone broth helps the body to better absorb proteins, wouldn’t that help her?

  5. Wow this is ignorance level 20003965983.
    How come you think the longest living and least diseased people in the world eat a vegan diet? If animal fat was essential for health, it would probably not be the case.
    Alone the fact that we as humans are able to get clogged arteries is prove enough that we are not meant to comsume animal products. Everything points to humans being at least 99% herbivores. All of our major diseases in society are pretty much eliminated with plantbased diets.
    I cannot believe that some people still believe that animal fat is good for you. Wake up. This is like people still believing the earth is flat. This is not alone incorrect information to share but also very irresponsible. This is harming people who choose to believe this and it is harming the environment and causing unnescessary violence and torture in quantities you cannot even fathom.
    Please see Forks over Knives, What The Health, Cowspiracy, Fat, sick and nearly dead and read The China Study and go to to read up on these topic.

    1. Wait—what?

      Hold on…

      Let’s back up a quick second.

      There has never been a long lineage of vegan societies recorded in human history, and for good reason—the diet simply doesn’t contain the essential nutrients for a robust and healthy lifestyle. If it did, why on Earth would you need to supplement your diet with vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids? The diet itself isn’t complete.

      Humans are 100% omnivores, meaning we need a combination of both plant and animal sources of macro and micronutrients for the largest spectrum of nutrient density. Otherwise we get sick from malnourishment.

      Couple this malnourishment with…

      …a stressful sedentary lifestyle,
      …cheap, addictive, industrialized food stuffs,
      …environmental toxins, pollutants, and hormonal disruptors,
      …a lack of immediate support, community, and any real sense of meaning and purpose,
      …disconnected and uneducated about the natural world,
      …all while being distracted and overstimulated by a culture that concerns itself with wealth accumulation and military expansion.

      If it weren’t for the success of your hunter-gatherer forebears, you literally wouldn’t be here. It’s almost an insult to say otherwise.

      As far as the documentaries mentioned, they’ve all been thoroughly debunked—including said China Study. If the reader is interested, do a quick Google search to find out for yourself.

      I do think we can both agree on one thing, though: Please! Do your own quantitative and qualitative research to come to your own logical, empirical, and anecdotal evidence.

      I think the person who wrote the above comment is both passionate and in the beginning stages of recovery. I applaud them for deciding to make their health a top priority, however, I’m not a fan of their dogmatic approach. Like Nature, life is fluid and adaptable. We should take note of that.

  6. Well, 99;99% of the times, meat is eaten cooked over 80 Celsius degrees, meaning a lot of its nutrientg weak, disappear or transform in a worse source of nutrition, when not into an unhealthy one.

    Does your studies consider that?

    The good thing of vegetables is they don’t need to be heated to be eaten.

    Just to not being one-sided, Japanese long living culture eat fish raw, not cooked. Problem seems to be anukaki.

    1. Hi Eduardo

      > Well, 99;99% of the times, meat is eaten cooked over 80 Celsius degrees, meaning a lot of its nutrientg weak, disappear or transform in a worse source of nutrition, when not into an unhealthy one.

      Actually, that is not the case. The saturated animal fats do not break down with normal cooking. That is why we need to use fats like butter, lard and tallow for high-temperature cooking

      > Does your studies consider that?

      Yes. this has been studied extensively. The vegetable oils are the dangerous ones.

      > The good thing of vegetables is they don’t need to be heated to be eaten.

      Most vegetables DO need to be cooked to be eaten, they contain a lot of antinutrients that are neutralized by cooking. Then it’s best to eat the cooked vegetables with butter or other animal fat.

      > Just to not being one-sided, Japanese long living culture eat fish raw, not cooked. Problem seems to be anukaki.

      The Japanese eat fish raw and cooked. They also eat poultry, pork and beef, and traditionally used pork fat, duck fat or beef tallow for cooking.

      Best, Sally

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