The Importance of Saturated Fat in Your Diet (and all fats).

Here’s a very apt article for you guys and girls for the current ‘Nutrition News’ climate – the villification of Saturated Fat.

I’m going deep on this one but here’s why it’s so important in your diet, and why you should NEVER just omit it, or fat in general.

For years fat has been on the receiving end of a bad rep, unfairly so in my opinion, and it’s becoming more and more escalated by mainstream media outlets sensationalising the negative effects of certain areas of nutrition. It’s my own opinion that if these media outlets weren’t so pressured for views or clicks that you would get a more varied opinion amongst the outlets, with at least SOME of them promoting the benefits as opposed to a negative.

In the world of getting people to click or view something there’s sadly no better way than to dramatise an event or title in order to get eyes on. I’m not the most expertised in the world by a lnog shot, but I know enough of the benefits of Fat in a diet to stick up for them and highlight them to readers. In a world of quick fixes and extremes in dieting it’s absolutely no surprise that people will omit anything that’s demmed to be ‘unhealthy’ or ‘bad for you’, that’s just the current climate. Much more of a good thing is often considerred good and much less of a bad thing is generally considered the way to go. I’m here to say it’s not, and the current news is, to the most part unjustified in my eyes….

What’s being hyped up then?

I’ll tell you what… 🙂

Media outlets have decided to jump onto the bandwagon of denouncing Coconut Oil as devoid of benefits, even categorically in some outlets. They’re also comparing the oil as ‘just as unhealthy as beef fat and butter’. Now there’s many issues with a statement as that. I firmly believe that in the current climate you’re just alienating a population of people, especially those less in the know, to making a nutritinal choice that isn’t wholly right.

The accusations are that beef fat, butter and now coconut oil is SO full of saturated fats that we need to stop eating them or suffer the effects of high blood cholesterol and possible heart disease.

Here’s a quote from the BBC: ‘According to the AHA, 82% of the fat in coconut oil is saturated. That’s more than in butter (63%), beef fat (50%) and pork lard (39%). And, like other saturated fats, studies show it can increase “bad” cholesterol.’

Awesome, thanks for the insight, BBC 🙂

This comes after a study by the AHA, American Heart Association, have compared coconut oil as worse than the two in Saturated Fat. Yep, it’s probably true, there’s more Sat Fat. But does that mean it’s unhealthy? Fuck no.

Sadly, a quote from the AHA reccomending swapping Saturated Fat out for other types of fat has now started gaining traction. The sad truth is you should NOT omit saturated fat from a diet completely. I don’t believe that’s what the AHA are trying to put across, but sadly the media outlets seem to lvoe a good scaremongering and denounce coconut fat and saturated fat’s to a high degree.

 

So what’s your pont?

My point is Saturated Fat is ESSENTIAL to a humans diet. These fat’s are actually essential for the production and regulation of certain hormones such as Testosterone, as well as a host of other bodily processes. Go one step further, if you risk turning people off fat more than they are, it will affect your ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins into your blood, such as calcium for bone growth, and fat is essential for this process.

They also play an important antiviral role by providing Caprylic Acid and so assist antibacterial immune responses. Here’s another quote. ‘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 white blood cells hampers their ability to recognize and destroy foreign invaders, such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi.’ 

Let’s go one step further, here’s a bombshell: ‘Saturated fatty acids constitute at least 50 percent of your cell membranes. They are what gives your cells necessary stiffness and integrity.’

Here’s just a few examples of Saturated Fat assisting our body’s vital processes and foundations. My point mainly revolves around the scaremongering of Saturated Fat in the media and, more so Fat as a whole.

I don’t need to bang on anymore that in a world of extremes and where media outlets have a big responsibililty in educating people, that when your portray one side of an argument you’re asking for trouble, especailly when it comes to educating people not in the know.

I agree with one thing across the board however, that when consumed in large amounts over an extended period of time, then saturated fat, and actually the whole plethora of other types of fat, will be detrimental to your health. Fat is a high-density caloric Macronutrient, contributing 9 calories per gram of it. Compare that to carbohydrates and protein both contributing 4 calories per gram. IT’s easy to see how a high fat diet can all of a sudden crank those calories up, potentially driving you into surplus calories with ease.

The issue with surprplus calories, especially in large amounts, is that if you’re not utilising these calories there’s a whole array of health issues that can arise as a result of storing fat because you’re not utilising the calories you’ve eaten. There is also cholesterol in Saturated Fat, agreed, but that doesn’t 100% correspond to the bad-for-health type of blood cholesterol, not all of it reaches our bloodstream.

You can see there’s many avenues to go down, but I’m trying hard to not go off on a tangent but I think I’ve proven my point that there’s MANY benefits, but with overconsumption there’s definitely some potnetial for detrimental health issues. The main thing is to not overconsume one type of fat, which we’ll go over below.

So what can I do?

Balance. Incorporate balance into your diet.

The four major types of fat are Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated Fatty Acids, our kid Saturated Fat and Trans-fatty acids.

The healthy effects of some of these are SO necessary to our body it becomes scary to consider removing it. From anti-inflammatory affects and some potentially fat-burning effects too, there’s a tonne of pros.

I STAUNCHLY refuse to participate in scaremongering of one food. Hell, didn’t the media say they were healthy just two years ago?

It’s cause they are, they ALL are. In MODERATION. And I think that’s the answer.

I will only ever advise that you or a client be aware of what you’re eating, rather than omitting a food type or group entirely. I track my food daily, and have a brilliant idea of the levels of each fat I’m consuming, but generally your body will tend to tell you if you’re overconsuming something. It’s a very fine-tuned system that if a process becomes out of whack, there’ll be some signal telling you to change or stop.

Gastrointestinal health is a great one. If you’re farting profusely like I was after consuming bacon and eggs nearly every morning for 50 days then that’s a good indicator to switch up your diet, and I did. I apologise about the image but I want to prove a point in a funny manner 🙂

So that’s where I’m stopping. I firmly believe everybody should maker an informed decision on a subject rather than taking the media or current affairs as be-all-end-all.

I got pretty opinionated up there but I backed it up with real fact, and you can check the references below. But I think it’s acceptable to be. My job as a Nutriion Coach is to educate people to go off on their own and smash their goals with sound nutrition knowledge. When an article goes viral it is SO frustrating because sadly then hundreds and thousands of minds can easily be made up in a flash that way.

I just want to highlight the benefits so you, the consumer can make an educated decision.

Hell, if Coconut oil is ‘just as bad for you as beef fat and butter’ then damn well enjoy it. Incorporate some willpower, enjoy in moderation and don’t make it your number one calorie source. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and in this case there is some proof too much can be bad. Just make an informed decision.

At the end of the day MY idea of true health is the balance and happiness from eating what I want, incorporating moderation with junk or bad food and smashing my goals because I know what volume I need to be eating. If I can incorporate foods I enjoy and reach my goals, then I’m winning, and msot likely enjoying it better than the block on a no-fat diet eating broccoli and chicken every night. Just my two cents… 🙂

Stay informed, and stay Charged, team.

Dan


References:

http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h3978

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/09/22/7-reasons-to-eat-more-saturated-fat.aspx

http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2009/09/06/saturated-fat/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40300145

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caprylic_acid

 

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