Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are renowned for being unhealthy, but more and more research is coming out saying that saturated fats are not the enemy, but important for your body.  Our ancestors have eaten saturated fats for centuries and never had issues like the ones we do today.  Animal fats, butter, and coconut oil are the most common fats used throughout history without the consequences of heart disease.   A research study performed by Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute and the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed all previous data studies for dietary saturated fat intake and risk for cardiovascular disease studies.  After analyzing over 350,000 subjects, they concluded that there was no link in the amount of saturated fat intake and cardiovascular disease.  This study showed that no matter how much saturated fat was eaten, it did not affect the incidence of heart disease.

Saturated fats are necessary to absorb vital nutrients including fat soluble vitamins.  Fats slow down the movement of food through the stomach and digestive system allowing the food to bathe in the digestive acids and consequently allowing better digestion and better nutrient extraction.  Studies have shown that adding fat to meals aid in the absorption of beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein.

There is more evidence and research showing that processed oils are worse for your body that natural saturated fats.  Oils such as soybean oil, canola oil, walnut oil, flaxseed oil, fish oil, soybean oil, and corn oil did not come about until the 1900’s with the invention of the hydraulic oil press.  These polyunsaturated vegetable oils can be easily damaged while cooking.  Once these oils are heated above a certain degree (varies based on the oil), they transform into harmful compounds such as 4-hydroxy-trans-2-nonenal (4-HNE).  4HNE has been linked to chronic inflammation, neurodegenerative diseases, adult respiratory distress syndrome, atherogenesis, diabetes and different types of cancer.  These compounds are common in oxidative stress and can be absorbed through food and cause the same damage as if there was oxidative stress in the body.  That is why it is crucial that when consuming these oils, they are not cooked.  Consuming these fats in natural sources such as eggs, fish, seeds, dark leafy vegetables will provide one with the adequate amount of Omega 3’s and they are not processed.

References:

Fife, Bruce, N.D. “Stop Alzheimer’s Now!” 2011. Colorado. Piccadilly Books. Ltd.

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