Saturated fats have had a bad reputation for years now. Most of us have deemed it as super unhealthy and blamed it for the rising number of heart diseases among people.
Saturated fats is a type of fat that remains solid at room temperature. Coconut oil, butter, red meat, and whole milk are rich in saturated fats. Several people eliminate this type of fat in order to lose weight and stay healthy. But, recent studies claim the truth is far from that.
1. How Saturated Fats Got Its Bad Reputation
“Butter is bad. Eat margarine instead.” This was a switch caused by a study done in the 1950’s. It revealed that saturated fats was responsible for clogged arteries and increased risk of heart diseases. Experts had believed people who ate less saturated fats were more healthy. As a result, the fear of saturated fats catapulted into a fear of any type of fat.
In the 80’s, the American Dietary Guidelines suggested people to eat lesser amounts of fat in their diet. This led to “low fat” alternatives and several manufacturers began replacing fats with a dangerous substitute – sugar, and turned to artificial trans fat (extremely harmful for health). But, recent studies claim saturated fats aren’t actually very harmful.
2. The Truth About Saturated Fats And Heart Issues
A recent study revealed saturated fats is not the culprit behind increasing risks of heart diseases and diabetes. It’s been carbohydrates, all along.1In a span of 6 weeks, the study had participants increase their carb intake slowly, and gradually decrease saturated fats and total fat as well. The high intake of carbs caused a spike in palmitoleic acid, a type of fatty acid that increases the risk of diabetes and heart diseases. When your body has a lot of palmitoleic acid, it means excess carbs are getting converted to fat and not being used as fuel for the body.
3. Do You Need To Consume Less Saturated Fats?
Technically, no. Your diet doesn’t need to focus on reducing saturated fats if you are following a low-carb diet. The dietary guidelines set in the 80’s suggested people to not exceed 30% of fat consumption and to restrict saturated fat to below 10% of your total calories. This was recommended to keep Americans healthy and safe from heart diseases (a main cause of death in the U.S). So, people moved to carbs, sugar, and trans fat, in the name of “low fat” and “fat free” – a reason why obesity has taken over the past few years.
Experts suggest to concentrate on eating plenty of real food now. To prevent a risk of heart problems, eat plenty of whole foods and walk for 22 minutes every day.
4. Fats You Need To Eat And The Ones To Avoid
Your body needs fat for energy. It also keeps your tummy full for longer and not to mention, it keeps your taste buds happy. Here are the types of fats your food contains.
Monounsatured Fats: Very healthy. It’s liquid at room temperate and solid when chilled. It’s found in olive oil, avocados, walnuts and other nuts.
Polyunsaturated Fats: Another healthy fat. It’s liquid at both room and cold temperatures. It’s found in corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, sardines, and salmon.
Essential Fatty Acids: These are fats that our body can’t synthesize and we need it from the food we eat. They are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 is found in cold-water fish and omega-6 is found in grains, seeds, and chickens.
Saturated Fatty Acids: This can be consumed if you are following a low-carb diet.
Trans Fats: This should be avoided completely. It is considered as the worst type of fat. It is responsible for increasing the risk of heart diseases, stroke, and inflammation in your body. It’s found in fried foods, baked goods, and stick margarines. Avoid foods that have trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils listed in their ingredients.
Now that you are equipped with the right info, make sure to eat the right fat. Stay healthy!
|↑1||Volk, Brittanie M., Laura J. Kunces, Daniel J. Freidenreich, Brian R. Kupchak, Catherine Saenz, Juan C. Artistizabal, Maria Luz Fernandez et al. “Effects of step-wise increases in dietary carbohydrate on circulating saturated fatty acids and palmitoleic acid in adults with metabolic syndrome.” PloS one 9, no. 11 (2014): e113605.|