Here’s the gist: saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease OR make you fat.
That’s right. What’s even more mind-blowing? — The fat in your bacon might actually be making you healthier. Holy cow!
Before you close your computer in disbelief, think. Our bodies need fat, nay, crave it. It is essential for proper vitamin absorption, immune system and nerve activity, and provides a strong, healthy membrane for your body’s essential cells. Unfortunately, the low-fat, no-fat craze of the 90’s replaced the fat in our diets with gluten, artificial flavors, sugar, and salt. According to many professionals, these things are what cause us to grow sicker and thicker, not fat itself. Yes, many of us can now concede that unsaturated fats are extremely healthy and help with essential boy functions and weight loss — foods like nuts, seeds, olive oil, salmon, et cetera (although be sure not to use delicate polyunsaturated fats over high heat, as it can nix the benefits). But did you know that saturated fat can be just as beneficial? It’s true — it is not quite the harbinger of demise that we have been lead to believe.
Here’s the deal. According to a poorly designed study from the 50’s, saturated fat was associated with higher cholesterol levels, higher rates of heart disease, and higher incidence of obesity. So, people began to avoid this perfectly natural fat like the plague, replacing it with horrible things like trans fats and highly refined, sugary carbs. Due to the evidence of this single study, many people still strive to machete saturated fats from their diets completely. But, these conclusions were inaccurate, and it is affecting America’s health. Luckily for butter-lovers, there have been many newer, more reputable studies since then, and those prove that saturated fat intake is actually inversely associated with cholesterol levels. Yes, that’s right — eating saturated fat can actually lower harmful cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.
It may be hard to chew. After years of “bad fat” brainwashing, it can be difficult to accept such a radical shift in thought. But consider this: Before 1920, heart disease was a rarity in America. “Today heart disease causes at least 40 percent of all US deaths. If, as we have been told, heart disease results from the consumption of saturated fats, one would expect to find a corresponding increase in animal fat in the American diet. Actually, the reverse is true. During the sixty-year period from 1910 to 1970, the proportion of traditional animal fat in the American diet declined from 83 to 62 percent and butter consumption plummeted from eighteen pounds per person per year to four.” (source).
How could something like this go so grossly unaddressed? Well, there is certainly a stigma around the word “fat” that can be hard to for even the most health-conscious to shake. But let’s be honest: moderate consumption of fat, especially high quality saturated, doesn’t make you fat. Healthy saturated fats, like pastured butter, pastured eggs, virgin coconut oil, and organic, pastured beef and pork, are some of the most excellent sources of nutrition and energy for the human body — and extremely delicious to boot.
The takeaway? Instead of avoiding certain types foods, like fats, try eating everything natural and wholesome in moderation. If you are trying to lose weight or become healthier, don’t eat only carbs and protein, but include some meat and olive oil, some egg yolks and butter. They do have a place in your diet. If anything, avoid processed monstrosities and any foods to which you have sensitivities. Listen to your body! Then, you’ll be a lot healthier and happier than anyone miserably trudging along on a no-fat diet.