Fats: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, Part 2

High Quality Natural Fats
Laura Knoff, B.Sc., NC

Are you confused about fats?

Are you seeing conflicting and contradictory information about dietary fats on social media and on television? Have you noticed that foods like eggs that were considered unhealthy before are considered healthy now? Should we avoid fat? Is butter better? What is trans-fat? Is red meat bad for us?

Laura Knoff, B.Sc., Nutrition Consultant, and instructor in our Nutrition Consultant Program addresses the important role fats play in our mental and physical health and the various levels of quality of fats in the diet.

Discover which foods have the good fats we need and how to avoid fats that can harm our health. There are even “ugly” industrialized fats that can interfere with our digestion, brain function, blood sugar regulation, and contribute to chronic health conditions.

High Quality Natural Fats are:

  • Found in whole foods such as olive oil, avocado, eggs, full fat dairy, fish, meat, nuts, and seeds.
  • Needed to satisfy hunger by acting as a signal that nourishment has been attained.
  •  Necessary to distribute flavors in food.
  • A concentrated source of energy; 9 calories/gram.
  • A source of water when used for energy.
  • Part of all our cell membranes.
  • Needed to protect skin, lungs, mucous membranes, and glands.
  • Used to insulate nerves.
  • 60% of your brain.
  • Used to regulate body temperature.
  • Used to protect and insulate your internal organs.
  • Needed to make hormones.
  • Needed to digest, absorb, and store the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
  • Needed to control inflammation and reduce pain.
  • Essential to health.

Learn more about Laura and our other amazing instructors by visiting our faculty page. To read part 1 of this article, click here.

Fat is important for brain function, mood stability, and blood sugar regulation, (Teicholz, 2014) (Gedgaudas, 2011). Dietary fat helps to signal the brain that we can stop eating because our needs have been met. Fat conveys flavor and provides moisture in foods. It is necessary for many cooking methods. We have a natural attraction to foods containing fat because fat contains essential vitamins and essential fatty acids.

However, the type and quality of fat we consume makes a big difference in how fat functions in the body. High quality fats are unrefined and unprocessed and are present in most natural whole foods along with the nutrients needed to utilize the fat properly. When fats are refined, they are subject to oxidation due to exposure to heat and air, and because refining removes the naturally occurring antioxidants in the whole food. Seed oils are particularly susceptible to oxidation and therefore contribute to chronic disease and aging generally. (Siddiq, et al, 2019) (Ademowo, et al, 2017)

Here is a nourishing savory snack that contains satisfying essential fats as well as many vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Amazingly Delicious Liver Pâté

Makes approximately 24 fluid ounces

Amazingly Delicious Liver Pâté

From The Whole-Food Guide to Overcoming Irritable Bowel Syndrome by Laura Knoff, 2010.


  • 1 lb. organic chicken liver
  • 1 medium to large organic onion, diced.
  • 2 Tbs. organic duck fat, chicken fat, lard, or ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 Tbs. powdered sage
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. dulse flakes (optional, this seaweed is a great source of trace minerals)
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper (optional)
  • 3/4 to 1 tsp. salt (enough to make the mixture taste like sausage)


  1. Melt fat in large skillet. 
  2. With medium heat sauté diced onion until just translucent. 
  3. Make sure the onions do not brown as they will become bitter. 
  4. Add liver and sauté until browned on the exterior of the livers, approx. 10-15 minutes. 
  5. While the liver is cooking add the sage, oregano, thyme, dulse, and pepper, if desired. 
  6. When the liver is cooked set the pan aside to cool. 
  7. Put this all into a high-speed blender or food processor along with the salt and blend until smooth, adding more melted fat if needed to blend thoroughly.
  8. Pour into a bowl, mold, or wide mouth jar and chill to allow it to set before serving on celery, carrot sticks, endive leaves or flax seed crackers. 

Nutrition Information

Each 1 ounce serving contains 44 calories, 5 g protein, 2 g fat, 1 g carbohydrate and 753 µg vitamin A, 2 IU vitamin D, 0.2 mg vitamin E, 3 µg vitamin K, all the B vitamins including 3 µg B12, 35 µg biotin, 110 µg folate, all the minerals including 8 mg calcium, 7 mg magnesium, 66 mg potassium, 107 mg sodium, 2.4 mg iron, and 0.8 mg zinc. (Cronometer, 2024)

Chicken liver is rich in minerals, including highly absorbable iron, copper, and zinc. (Kabata-Pendias and Szteke 2012). It also is rich in vitamins A, B2, B12, and C, folic acid, niacin, and pantothenic acid, in much greater amounts than found in any plants. Liver is such a rich source of vitamin A, that only 2.25 to 2.6 oz liver per month is needed to meet the vitamin A requirement of preschool children. (Bertuccio et al, 2022) (van Stuijvenberg et al, 2020) The amount of chicken liver one should eat varies depending on age and sex. Amounts of 3.5 oz. chicken liver per week is considered safe and nutritious. (Burger 2007) (Szkoda and Żmudzki, 2002)

Onion is valued for the flavor it adds to recipes and its medicinal properties known to improve kidney and lung function. Onion is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial and contains numerous antioxidant phytonutrients. (Wood, 1999) Sautéing tames onion’s more pungent qualities and adds sweetness.

Sage is a perennial herb that is used as a universal flavoring agent. It is decongestant and antimicrobial and helps to digest fat. (Wood, 1999) It combines well with oregano and thyme.


  • Cronometer 2024, Analysis of recipe retrieved from https://cronometer.com/#custom-recipes.
  • Ademowo, O. S., Dias, H. K. I., Burton, D. G. A., & Griffiths, H. R. (2017). Lipid (per) oxidation in mitochondria: an emerging target in the ageing process? Biogerontology18(6), 859–879. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10522-017-9710-z
  • Bertuccio, M. P., Currò, M., Caccamo, D., & Ientile, R. (2022). Dietary Intake and Genetic Background Influence Vitamin Needs during Pregnancy. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland)10(5), 768. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10050768
  • Burger J. (2007). A framework and methods for incorporating gender-related issues in wildlife risk assessment: gender-related differences in metal levels and other contaminants as a case study. Environmental research104(1), 153–162. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2006.08.001
  • Gedgaudas, N. (2011) Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
  • Knoff, L. (2010) The Whole-Food Guide to Overcoming Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Strategies & Recipes for Eating Well With IBS, Indigestion & Other Digestive Disorders. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.
  • Kabata-Pendias, A., & Szteke, B. (2012). Trace elements in geo-and biosphere. The Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation, Puławy, Poland.
  • Siddiq, A., Ambreen, G., Hussain, K., & Baig, S. G. (2019). Oxidative stress and lipid per-oxidation with repeatedly heated mix vegetable oils in different doses in comparison with single time heated vegetable oils. Pakistan journal of pharmaceutical sciences32(5), 2099–2105.
  • Teicholz, N. (2014) The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet​, New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
  • van Stuijvenberg, M. E., Schoeman, S. E., Nel, J., le Roux, M., & Dhansay, M. A. (2020). Liver is widely eaten by preschool children in the Northern Cape province of South Africa: Implications for routine vitamin A supplementation. Maternal & child nutrition16(3), e12931. https://doi.org/10.1111/mcn.12931
  • Wood, R. (1999) The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, New York, NY, Penguin Putnam Inc.

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