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Saturated fats don’t make you fat

By Jordanna Levin |



Have you heard? Cigarettes are no longer detrimental to our health. Turns out scientists and doctors got it all wrong.

That is a big fat lie! It’s NEVER going to happen. But to some folk, convincing them that saturated fat is actually beneficial to our health is just as unbelievable. But why?

They got it wrong!

The “experts” who half a century or so ago convinced us that saturated fats caused cholesterol levels to rise, and in turn cause heart disease, based their theories on a bunch of evidence that just wasn’t true.

It feels good to lay the blame on someone (doesn’t it?), so lets direct our anger at a scientist called  who published a series of studies that were conducted in the 1950s and 1960s. These studies seemed to prove the Lipids Hypothesis.

Problem was, the Keys’ studies were incredibly faulty. They were misinterpreted back then and even today folk are struggling to comprehend them. There were several studies, that didn’t correlate. The results of only six of the 22 countries studied were published, for reasons no one really understands. For now you need only know this: they proved nothing – least of all that fat was bad. For a good (but very “head-y” overview of this, on the matter is a great read).

Unfortunately due to a rise in polyunsaturated oil production in the US at the time, the government found it in their best interests to support his claim. Before we could drop another knob of butter in the frying pan, margarine was being thrust upon us, and our whole nutritional education system had been turned upside down.

Now for the truth…

Fats don’t make us fat. If anything they make us less likely to overeat (something that ), in turn helping us to maintain a healthy weight. But check your trans fats at the door we’re talking about unprocessed, naturally occurring, saturated fats.

Saturated fats are found mostly in animal fats and tropical oils such as . They are solid at room temperature and highly stable, even when cooked at high temperatures. This means they won’t oxidise and go rancid, like vegetable oils, they support a whole heap of critical bodily functions.

The benefits of saturated fats

Saturated fats help strengthen our immune systems, promote healthy bones, have a rich source of fat soluble vitamins, make up 50 percent of our cell membranes, assist our bodies in metabolising fats and ironically have  properties that help keep the heart strong. Take that Keys!

Ever wondered why after a night on the booze you feel like a high-fat meal the next day? This is the body’s way of protecting itself, because saturated fats are also great at protecting the .
Disclaimer: this does not give you permission to eat a burger and fries. An egg and a side of nitrate-free bacon would suffice.

Last but not least saturated fats make you . Our brain is mostly made up of fat and cholesterol, most of which are saturated. By restricting fat intake we are robbing our brain of essential nutrients, and really who doesn’t want to be a smarty-pants? Perhaps Ancel Keys should have upped his saturated fats before trying to prove the Lipids Hypothesis…

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