Don’t Be Afraid Of Saturated Fats!
This is a follow -up on my post: Side Effects From Eating a Low-Fat Diet
I discussed some side effects you may experience when you cut good fats out of your diet. However, I want to be more specific about the types of fats that are needed for your body, and the types you should avoid. Not all fats support your body’s ability to function, and some of these highly processed and manufactured fats can damage your body. There has been so much wrong information out there over the past generation, spread through the media and health-care professionals. It can be difficult to understand and navigate.
There are different types of fats depending on the number of hydrogen bonds in the fat molecule. The more hydrogen bonds, the more saturated and stable the fat is. Stable means that the fat does not oxidize easily releasing free radicals. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and do not go rancid-or break down when exposed to elements of light, oxygen and heat as polyunsaturated fats do.
My goal here is to help you navigate the world of fats, and gain a better understanding of which fats to consume, and which to avoid. Here are the different words you might hear associated with fats, and what these words mean:
- Saturated fats are solid at room temperature.
- Contrary to what you’ve probably heard, these are the most beneficial fats for our body. These fats are fully saturated with hydrogen bonds (NOT to be confused with hydrogenated oils).
- These fats are stable, and do not easily oxidize (break down) or go rancid.
- Saturated fats include fats such as lard, tallow, butter, suet, ghee, coconut oil, palm oil.
- Saturated fats are beneficial to the body-these fats insulate myelin in the brain (memory, mood stability, alertness), strengthen the immune system and help regulate hormones.
Monounsaturated Fats (aka MUFA’s):
- Monounsaturated fats have one double bond in the fatty acid chain.
- Monounsaturated fats have a lower melting point than saturated fats, but a higher melting point than polyunsaturated fats.
- Monounsaturated fats can go rancid/breakdown/oxidize easier than saturated fats.
- If consumed in an oxidative state, these oils can cause inflammation in the body. Therefore you would only want to use these oils for low to no heat and cold uses, and make sure you purchase cold-pressed oils.
- You would want to store them in a dark place.
- Monounsaturated fats include olive oil and avocado oil.
- Monounsaturated fats also make up part of the fats in meats (another reason not to overcook or burn meats), and are found in some nuts like macadamia nuts.
Polyunsaturated Fats (aka PUFA’s):
- Poly (many) of the bonds are unsaturated with hydrogen.
- Polyunsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature and in the refrigerator.
- Polyunsaturated oils include: vegetable oils and industrial seed oils, such canola, corn, soy, sunflower, cottonseed, and safflower.
- Polyunsaturated oils are highly processed.
- These polyunsaturated seed oils are very high in omega 6 fatty acids and low in omega 3’s.
- Heat, light, and oxygen break these oils down and render them chemically unstable. The volatile chemical structure (from the process of being heat extracted releasing free-radicals) can wreak havoc on the body at a cellular level, and cause chronic inflammation…the root of modern diseases.
- These oils are not stable.
- Contrary to what you might have heard, these oils should be avoided! It is not easy to avoid them when you go out to eat, but don’t buy them! These oils are also found in packaged processed foods like potato chips-including those you buy at the “health food” store.
For more info on polyunsaturated fats (PUFA’s):
- Hydrogenated oils are chemically altered fats-these oils are high heat treated and processed to change them from a liquid state to a solid state.
- Hydrogen is added to these oils to make them solid.
- Examples include margarine, benecol, earth balance, “better than butter” and Crisco.
- These chemically altered oils should be avoided.
THIS explains how hydrogenated oils are created and how they affect the body.
“Let’s take hydrogenated oils and see what this substance really is and why it’s so incredibly bad for you. Hydrogenated oils are oils that are often healthy in their natural state, but are quickly turned into poisons through the manufacturing and processing they undergo. They take these naturally healthy oils such as palm, kernel, soybean, corn oil or coconut oil and they heat it anywhere from five hundred to one thousand degrees under several atmospheres of pressure.
They then inject a catalyst into the oil for several hours. The catalyst is typically a metal such a nickel, platinum or even aluminum. As this bubbles up into the oil the molecular structure changes and increases in density and rearranges it’s molecules so that instead of a liquid at room temperature we now have either semi-solid or solid oil. This creates either partially hydrogenated or fullyhydrogenated oils.
The molecules in this new product are now closer to cellulose or plastic than to oil. In fact hydrogenated oil is only one molecule away from being plastic. When you eat anything containing this material, just as the oil is now thicker and more viscous (dense), so too does your blood become thicker and more viscous right along with it. The heart now has to work so much harder to pump blood throughout the system. This is one of the major ways that consuming hydrogenated oils contributes to high blood pressure.”
- All of the cells in your body need cholesterol.
- Cholesterol metabolizes all hormones and fat soluable vitamins.
- Your body manufactures most of it’s own cholesterol and a little bit comes from food.
- Cholesterol forms and maintains cell wall structures.
- Cholesterol is used by the nerve cells for insulation.
- The liver uses cholesterol to produce bile.
- Cholesterol is also needed for your body to make Vitamin D.
- Much of what you may think about cholesterol is wrong.
- Cholesterol is found in the arteries, but it is mistaken as the culprit in heart disease. Cholesterol travels to arteries in order to heal the body–as a “patch” to the lesions caused by underlying inflammation. This underlying inflammation is from a diet high in inflammatory foods likes sugars, processed grains, and oxidized oils.
For more information on the truth about cholesterol:
Over the past generation we have heard plenty about “good” fats and “bad” fats. Saturated fats were (and often still are based on faulty information) placed in the “bad” fat category because it was thought to be associated with atherosclerosis (thickening of the arteries due to heart disease). This saturated fat theory is all based on an epidemiology study (a “study” that basically asks people to fill out a survey), and many factors were not taken into consideration, including the inflammatory foods present in the diet.
According to Mary Enig, PhD and Sally Fallon (The Truth About Saturated Fats Parts 1-3)
“These “experts” assure us that the lipid hypothesis is backed by incontrovertible scientific proof. Most people would be surprised to learn that there is, in fact, very little evidence to support the contention that a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fat actually reduces death from heart disease or in any way increases one’s life span. Consider the following:
Before 1920 coronary heart disease was rare in America; so rare that when a young internist named Paul Dudley White introduced the German electrocardiograph to his colleagues at Harvard University, they advised him to concentrate on a more profitable branch of medicine.
The new machine revealed the presence of arterial blockages, thus permitting early diagnosis of coronary heart disease. But in those days clogged arteries were a medical rarity, and White had to search for patients who could benefit from his new technology. During the next forty years, however, the incidence of coronary heart disease rose dramatically, so much so that by the mid fifties heart disease was the leading cause of death among Americans.
Today heart disease causes at least 40% 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%, and butter consumption plummeted from eighteen pounds per person per year to four.
During the past eighty years, dietary cholesterol intake has increased only 1%. During the same period the percentage of dietary vegetable oils in the form of margarine, shortening and refined oils increased about 400% while the consumption of sugar and processed foods increased about 60%.”
More on the truth about saturated fats: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/saturated-fat-healthy/#axzz2OMW3AqGx
In a nutshell:
- Avoid vegetable oils such as corn, soy, and canola oil-these oils are also found in packaged pretzels and chips.
Avoid hydrogenated oils like margarine and Crisco-these oils are also found in many processed snacks.
Use olive oil cold or for low heat cooking.
- Cook with stable saturated fats such as butter (from grass-fed cows is best), coconut oil, tallow, and lard-don’t be afraid of saturated fats!
* Please note: This is a personal blog. I am not a Doctor or a Dietician. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.