Saturated Fat and cholesterol is bad for you and clogs you arteries right?
Believe it or not saturated fat from quality sources is actually good for you and very much needed by your body.
The Lipid hypothesis which is the theory that saturated fat increases cholesterol and increased cholesterol causes heart disease is possibly one of the biggest medical and health wrong doings of the 20th century.
The western world keeps lowering the amount of saturated fats in their diet and keeps lowering cholesterol through more and more prescriptions of cholesterol lowering drugs BUT the rate of heart disease and obesity is still increasing. Pretty obvious that it's not working.
Baby’s breast milk has over 50% calories coming from saturated fat. No one will argue that the healthiest food for a baby is not its mother’s breast milk. But as soon as baby stops breast feeding the diet best to support his growing body, according to mainstream nutrition is a low fat, relatively low protein, high grain diet that is the complete opposite of his or her breast milk diet. Doesn't make much sense.
The current recommended amount of saturated fat is mere 7-10% of total calories.
Now let’s compare this ridiculously low 7-10% to the amount of saturated fat indigenous tribes eat who experience next to no cardiovascular disease, diabetes or obesity when following their traditional diet.
% Saturated Fat
|Maasai tribe in Kenya/Tanzania||Meat, milk, cattle blood||66 percent|
|Inuit Eskimos in the Arctic||Whale meat and blubber||75 percent|
|Rendille tribe in NE Kenya||Camel milk, meat, blood||63 percent|
|Tokealu, atoll islands in New Zealand territory||Fish and coconuts||60 percent|
These guys eat up to 6-10 times as much saturated fat as us, get much less heart disease, diabetes and obesity but apparently the reason we are so unhealthy is because we eat too much saturated fat.
Doesn't make sense either.
Why do our eating guidelines recommend such low saturated fat and such high amounts of grains? The tribes in the table above basically ate no grains at all and they were healthier for it.
Here are 7 health benefits of saturated fats explained taken from an excerpt from Dr Michael Eades Book. (I also recommend checking out his blog protein power.). As well as my own fat burning tip at number 8 where you can use saturated fat to actually help you Burn fat.
1) Improved cardiovascular risk factors
Though you may not have heard of it on the front pages of your local newspaper, online news source, or local television or radio news program, saturated fat plays a couple of key roles in cardiovascular health. The addition of saturated fat to the diet reduces the levels of a substance called lipoprotein (a)—pronounced “lipoprotein little a” and abbreviated Lp(a)—that correlates strongly with risk for heart disease. Currently there are no medications to lower this substance and the only dietary means of lowering Lp(a) is eating saturated fat. Bet you didn’t hear that on the nightly news. Moreover, eating saturated (and other) fats also raises the level of HDL, the so-called good cholesterol. Lastly, research has shown that when women diet, those eating the greatest percentage of the total fat in their diets as saturated fat lose the most weight.
2) Stronger bones
In middle age, as bone mass begins to decline, an important goal (particularly for women) is to build strong bones. You can’t turn on the television without being told you need calcium for your bones, but do you recall ever hearing that saturated fat is required for calcium to be effectively incorporated into bone? According to one of the foremost research experts in dietary fats and human health, Mary Enig, Ph.D., there’s a case to be made for having as much as 50 percent of the fats in your diet as saturated fats for this reason. That’s a far cry from the 7 to 10 percent suggested by mainstream institutions. If her reasoning is sound—and we believe it is— is it any wonder that the vast majority of women told to avoid saturated fat and to selectively use vegetable oils instead would begin to lose bone mass, develop osteoporosis, and get put on expensive prescription medications plus calcium to try to recover the loss in middle age?
3) Improved liver health
Adding saturated fat to the diet has been shown in medical research to encourage the liver cells to dump their fat content. Clearing fat from the liver is the critical first step to calling a halt to middle-body fat storage. Additionally, saturated fat has been shown to protect the liver from the toxic insults of alcohol and medications, including acetaminophen and other drugs commonly used for pain and arthritis, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, and even to reverse the damage once it has occurred. Since the liver is the lynchpin of a healthy metabolism, anything that is good for the liver is good for getting rid of fat in the middle. Polyunsaturated vegetable fats do not offer this protection.
4) Healthy lungs
For proper function, the airspaces of the lungs have to be coated with a thin layer of what’s called lung surfactant. The fat content of lung surfactant is 100 percent saturated fatty acids. Replacement of these critical fats by other types of fat makes faulty surfactant and potentially causes breathing difficulties. Absence of the correct amount and composition of this material leads to collapse of the airspaces and respiratory distress. It’s what’s missing in the lungs of premature infants who develop the breathing disorder called infant respiratory distress syndrome. Some researchers feel that the wholesale substitution of partially hydrogenated (trans) fats for naturally saturated fats in commercially prepared foods may be playing a role in the rise of asthma among children. Fortunately, the heyday of trans fats is ending and their use is on the decline. Unfortunately, however, the unreasoning fear of saturated fat leads many people to replace trans fats with an overabundance of polyunsaturated vegetable oils, which may prove just as unhealthful.
5) Healthy brain
You will likely be astounded to learn that your brain is mainly made of fat and cholesterol. Though many people are now familiar with the importance of the highly unsaturated essential fatty acids found in cold-water fish (EPA and DHA) for normal brain and nerve function, the lion’s share of the fatty acids in the brain are actually saturated. A diet that skimps on healthy saturated fats robs your brain of the raw materials it needs to function optimally.
6) Proper nerve signaling
Certain saturated fats, particularly those found in butter, lard, coconut oil, and palm oil, function directly as signaling messengers that influence the metabolism, including such critical jobs as the appropriate release of insulin. And just any old fat won’t do. Without the correct signals to tell the organs and glands what to do, the job doesn’t get done or gets done improperly.
7) Strong immune system
Saturated fats found in butter and coconut oil (myristic acid and lauric acid) play key roles in immune health. Loss of sufficient saturated fatty acids in the white blood cells hampers their ability to recognize and destroy foreign invaders, such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Human breast milk is quite rich in myristic and lauric acid, which have potent germ-killing ability. But the importance of the fats lives on beyond infancy; we need dietary replenishment of them throughout adulthood, middle age, and into seniority to keep the immune system vigilant against the development of cancerous cells as well as infectious invaders.
8) My Bonus tip how to use saturated fat to lose fat.
Butyric acid improves the bodies ability to burn fat for energy which is exactly what you want when your going to have a killer workout. And have a guess what the best source of butyric acid is?? Good old fashioned butter.
Caffeine also increases the use of fatty acids for energy and has a range of benefits when taken before training. So why not combine these two bad boys together for the ultimate natural pre workout boost.
Here's what you do - Brew yourself a real organic percolated strong coffee and add to it 20-40g of organic unsalted butter.
This combo will give you a nice energy boost as well as preference your body to burn fats for energy. To make this work properly try to consume minimal carbohydrates in the hours leading up to your workout.
Which fats to eat which to Avoid
So now you're probably confused on what the best fats are to eat, and which to avoid. So here's a list of the healthy ones and not so healthy ones.
Sources of Healthy Fats
- Organic Butter
- Tallow and Lard
- Free range eggs
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (don't use for cooking only for dressings)
- Extra Virgin Coconut oil, Palm and palm kernel oil
- Dark Chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
- Grass or pasture raised meats
- Wild caught fish
Sources of Unhealthy Fats
- All hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils (Trans fats)
- Vegetable Oils
- Industrially processed liquid oils - soy, corn safflower, cottonseed and canola oil.
Funny fact Canola oil is actually a made up word. The canola oil you buy from the shop is a highly processed oil that comes from the rapeseed, guess they thought rape oil wouldn't sell too well.
Also all low fat products should be avoided. All most of them do is replace the fats they take out with sugar or artificial flavours which is usually worse than the fats they replace.
So now you know what fats you should be eating make the change, ignore the saturated fat nonsense and and add some of these truely healthy fats to your diet and start removing the bad ones.