VERNON, Calif. - With little success from a low-fat diet, health experts are now revisiting the benefits of fat. Not just any fat, but saturated fat.
"Anyone that studies chronic disease seriously and its connection to health will tell you what's making us sick primarily is our diet," said Dr. Cate Shanahan.
Dr. Shanahan, who is author of Deep Nutrition and is the Lakers' nutritionist, applauds the approach of old-school chefs.
They avoid packaged foods and processed vegetable oils and instead get the most out of a variety of plants and animals, including fat.
"What got us away from that, is this idea that saturated fat is unhealthy. It dismantled our entire relationship with our previous history of cuisine," said Shanahan.
Even recent government guidelines claimed cholesterol is no longer a "nutrient of concern."
"We've forgotten how to cook with these products," said chef Ernest Miller of Coast Packing.
Miller taught nutrition for culinary schools. He now works for Coast Packing, a company that has sold lard and tallow for 95 years.
"When you're frying with beef tallow you're actually having less oil absorption, you're getting a crisper product that's going to last longer and you're enhancing the flavor," said Miller.
The chef says you can make all sorts of savory foods, but think also about using them in your pies, pancakes and chocolate chip cookies.
"It makes the world's best pie crusts. It's a classic ingredient in tortillas. You can basically use it like butter," said Miller.
From an environmental standpoint, using the fat from the beef or pork you cook saves waste.
"They're going to last longer, they don't need to be refrigerated and they're not going to oxidize," said Miller.