Friday, November 25, 2011

Good Lard, Bad Lard: What Do You Get When You Cross a Pig and a Coconut?

by Chris Masterjohn

New post over on Mother Nature Obeyed:

Good Lard, Bad Lard: What Do You Get When You Cross a Pig and a Coconut?

The post follows up on the revised fatty acid profile for Research Diets D12492, and discusses the effects of grass-guzzling and coconut-gobbling on the fatty acid profile of lard.

Read more about the author, Chris Masterjohn, PhD, here.


    "What Do You Get When You Cross a Pig and a Coconut?"

    A baconut!

    Do I win a prize?

  2. Soybean oil does not have an unreasonable ratio of O3 to O6, and even grains like corn and wheat that may have high O6/O3 ratios, still are very low in total fat, and much higher in carbs.

    If the pigs are getting soybean oil, why are the omega 3 levels so low (comparatively to omega 6)?

    I assume the pigs are getting mostly corn oil or safflower oil in their feed?

    I would say any PUFA level of 10% or less is perfectly fine, however it would be good to know what the O3/O6 ratios are being achieved in free-range farming of pigs and chickens. Surely the original USDA analysis of lard was not from a F.R. pig, but one raised on low-fat grain pellets in a stall.

    I cannot see how grain-feeding in itself could raise O6 levels in animal fats much, but if animal feeds now include heaps of vegetable oils then that is a different matter. While I believe in pasture-feeding animals, the practise of using grain to help fatten animals is nothing new and certainly can be part of good ethical free-range farming still (and perhaps necessary in temperate climates).

    It is perhaps worrying that we have all this time focussed on the evils of 'grain-feeding' when the real problem has been 'vegetable-oil' feeding?

  3. Good one Jim! See Ray Peats web site re pigs full of Omega six fats
    Deb ps I heard him discuss with Josh Rubin on the Holistic health podcast

  4. From Ray Peat: Linoleic and linolenic acids, the "essential fatty acids," and other polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are now fed to pigs to fatten them, in the form of corn and soy beans, cause the animals' fat to be chemically equivalent to vegetable oil. In the late 1940s, chemical toxins were used to suppress the thyroid function of pigs, to make them get fatter while consuming less food. When that was found to be carcinogenic, it was then found that corn and soy beans had the same antithyroid effect, causing the animals to be fattened at low cost. The animals' fat becomes chemically similar to the fats in their food, causing it to be equally toxic, and equally fattening.

  5. Great article. Thanks for posting this.

  6. Barry Groves says something similar about pigs being fed vegetable oils and corn or soy beans, and the like, and making the resultant fat in the pig more like vegetable oil than animal fat. Personally, I'd like to see some independent lab tests on the fat when it's in the pig, and also of commercial lard. The only brand of lard I can find (I'm in England) claims "only" about 10% PUFA. However, (a) this is still far too much (b) How much can I believe this label?

    Groves and Peat say very similar things in certain fields. I wonder if Groves has read Peat, or if they have both read the same research? The big differnce is of course that Groves is a low-carber and Peat isn't. As far as I can determine, they are probably of a similar age, but Peat has had his PhD longer than Groves, who only started working on his when he retired from a career in the RAF (as an electrical engineer I believe). Not that that is necessarily bad - engineers are extremely logical and practical. Peat also started out in a different field (languages and literature) - he explains why in some of his writing and in interviews. They are both independent researchers and both well outside of mainstream thinking, although in somewhat different ways.

    Anyway, traditional "pig swill" used to contain a lot of things, but I think it was high in carbs, so it would have been excellent for conversion into saturated fat by the pig. They also used to be fed fruit, and of course, left to themselves, they will graze, and nose around for all sorts of things. Because I can't be sure how the pigs have been fed, I now tend to avoid pork as much as possible.

    An interesting point Peat makes is that even when ruminants (i.e. cows, sheep and goats) are fed on a less-than-ideal diet of grains, to some extent they can detoxify the PUFAs that would normally result, and the resulting fat, while maybe not as good as from grass-fed animals, should be safer to eat than pig fat that has been corn and soy fed.

  7. This is a fascinating article. I had no idea there were so many comprehensive ways to analyze the quality of lard in various foods. I noticed that you posted this back in 2011. Has there been any follow up research since then? Or perhaps better methods of reducing the presence of PUFA? I'm quite intrigued.


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