• 7 Reasons to Eat More Saturated Fat

    Email Print
    Share

    Tim Ferriss
    of The
    Four Hour Work Week
    has posted an exclusive excerpt from
    Drs. Michael and Mary Eades’ newest book, The
    6-Week Cure for the Middle-Aged Middle
    .

    The two doctors
    note that no matter how the story spins from the denizens of the
    anti-fat camp, one piece of their advice remains staunchly constant:
    “You should sharply limit your intake of saturated fats.”
    But will saturated fats really increase your risk of heart disease
    and raise your cholesterol? In a word, no. In fact, humans need
    them, and here are just a few reasons why:

    1) Improved
    cardiovascular risk factors

    Saturated
    fat plays a key role in cardiovascular health. The addition of saturated
    fat to the diet reduces the levels of a substance called lipoprotein(a)
    that correlates strongly with risk for heart disease. Research has
    shown that when women diet, those eating the greatest percentage
    of the total fat in their diets as saturated fat, lose the most
    weight.

    2) Stronger
    bones

    Saturated
    fat is required for calcium to be effectively incorporated into
    bone. According to one of the foremost research experts in dietary
    fats and human health, Dr. Mary Enig, Ph.D., there’s a case
    to be made for having as much as 50 percent of the fats in your
    diet as saturated fats for this reason.

    3) Improved
    liver health

    Saturated
    fat has been shown to protect the liver from alcohol and medications,
    including acetaminophen and other drugs commonly used for pain and
    arthritis.

    4) Healthy
    lungs

    For proper
    function, the airspaces of the lungs have to be coated with a thin
    layer of lung surfactant. The fat content of lung surfactant is
    100 percent saturated fatty acids. Replacement of these critical
    fats by other types of fat makes faulty surfactant and potentially
    causes breathing difficulties.

    5) Healthy
    brain

    Your brain
    is mainly made of fat and cholesterol. The lion’s share of
    the fatty acids in the brain are actually saturated. A diet that
    skimps on healthy saturated fats robs your brain of the raw materials
    it needs to function optimally.

    6) Proper
    nerve signaling

    Certain saturated
    fats, particularly those found in butter, lard, coconut oil, and
    palm oil, function directly as signaling messengers that influence
    metabolism, including such critical jobs as the appropriate release
    of insulin.

    7) Strong
    immune system

    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.

    Sources: Four
    Hour Work Week

    September 6, 2009

    Dr. Mercola’s
    Comments:

    A misguided
    fallacy that persists to this day is the belief that saturated fat
    will increase your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. This
    is simply another myth that has been harming your health for the
    last 30 or 40 years.

    The truth
    is, saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources provide a concentrated
    source of energy in your diet, and they provide the building blocks
    for cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances.

    When you eat
    saturated fats as part of your meal, they slow down absorption so
    that you can go longer without feeling hungry. In addition, they
    act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
    Dietary fats are also needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin
    A, for mineral absorption, and for a host of other biological processes.

    Saturated fats
    are also:

    • The preferred
      fuel for your heart, and also used as a source of fuel during
      energy expenditure
    • Useful
      antiviral agents (caprylic acid)
    • Effective
      as an anticaries, antiplaque and anti-fungal agent (lauric acid)
    • Useful
      to actually lower cholesterol levels (palmitic and stearic acids)
    • Modulators
      of genetic regulation and prevent cancer (butyric acid)

    If the fact
    that saturated fats are actually good for you sounds conflicting,
    at least in terms of what is repeated by public health agencies,
    I urge you to read Mary Enig and Sally Fallon’s classic article
    The
    Truth About Saturated Fats
    .

    It is one
    of the best and most thorough introductions to this topic, and you
    can read through it in just a few minutes.

    Have You
    Heard of the Lipid Hypothesis?

    If not by
    name, you’ve certainly heard of the concept behind the “lipid
    hypothesis
    ,” and that is that dietary fat causes heart
    disease.

    This flawed
    theory was largely spread by Ancel Keys, a diet researcher for whom
    military K-rations are named, and it was because of the lipid hypothesis
    that Americans were soon encouraged to substitute vegetable-based
    fats for animal fats, and to avoid red meat completely.

    However, when
    Keys published his analysis that claimed to prove the link between
    dietary fats and coronary heart disease, he selectively analyzed
    information from only six countries to prove his correlation, rather
    than comparing all the data available at the time – from 22 countries.

    As a result
    of this "cherry-picked" data, government health organizations
    began bombarding the public with advice that has contributed to
    the diabetes and obesity epidemics going on today: eat a low-fat
    diet.

    Of course,
    as Americans cut out nutritious animal fats from their diets, they
    were left hungry. So they began eating more processed grains, more
    vegetable oils, and more high-fructose corn syrup, all of which
    are nutritional disasters.

    What about
    the Studies That DO Show a Link between Fat and Heart Disease?

    Keys believed
    that dietary fat was causing heart disease in Americans back in
    the 1950s, and he soon got others to jump on the bandwagon.

    Even the American
    Heart Association, which concluded in 1957 that “the evidence
    that dietary fat correlates with heart disease does not stand
    up to critical examination,” changed its position in 1960.

    Why? Because
    Keys was on the committee issuing a new report that a low-fat diet
    was advised for people at risk of heart disease. Sadly, the theory
    continued to be accepted as nutritional wisdom, even though clinical
    trials found no connection.

    There are,
    however, some studies that have found a link between fat and heart
    disease, and they are often used by saturated fat opponents to “prove”
    their case.

    The problem
    lies in the fact that most of these studies make no effort to differentiate
    between saturated fat and trans fat
    . I believe this is the missing
    link.

    If researchers
    were to more carefully evaluate the risks of heart disease by measuring
    the levels of trans and saturated fat, I believe they would find
    a completely different story.

    Trans fat
    is known to increase your LDL levels, or "bad" cholesterol,
    while lowering your levels of HDL, known as "good" cholesterol,
    which is the complete opposite of what you need in order to maintain
    good heart health. It can also cause major clogging of arteries,
    type-2 diabetes and other serious health problems.

    On the other
    hand, your body needs some amount of saturated fat to stay healthy.
    It is virtually impossible to achieve a nutritionally adequate diet
    that has no saturated fat. What you don’t need, however, are
    trans fats.

    Further, there
    are some people who do well with a low-saturated-fat diet – the
    one-third who are carb
    nutritional types
    . Even then, however, some animal fats are
    necessary and healthy, and two-thirds of people actually require
    moderate- to high-saturated-fat diets to thrive.

    Healthy
    Sources of Saturated Fats to Add to Your Diet

    Saturated
    fat is not the root of all evil … and it is NOT to blame for
    the modern disease epidemics facing Americans. Saturated fat is
    actually an incredibly healthy, nourishing and all-natural fat that
    humans have been thriving on for generations. Again, as Fallon and
    Enig point out:

    • Saturated
      fatty acids constitute at least 50 percent of your cell membranes.
      They are what gives your cells necessary stiffness and integrity.
    • They play
      a vital role in the health of your bones. For calcium to be effectively
      incorporated into your skeletal structure, at least 50 percent
      of your dietary fats should be saturated.
    • They lower
      Lp(a), a substance in your blood that indicates proneness to heart
      disease.
    • They protect
      your liver from alcohol and other toxins, such as Tylenol and
      other drugs.
    • They enhance
      your immune system.
    • They are
      needed for the proper utilization of essential fatty acids. Elongated
      omega-3 fats are better retained in your tissues when your diet
      is rich in saturated fats.
    • Saturated
      18-carbon stearic acid and 16-carbon palmitic acid are the preferred
      foods for your heart, which is why the fat around your heart muscle
      is highly saturated. Your heart draws on this reserve of fat in
      times of stress.
    • Short-
      and medium-chain saturated fatty acids have important antimicrobial
      properties. They protect you against harmful microorganisms in
      your digestive tract.

    So please
    do not shun saturated fats from your diet. If you’d like to
    get the most tailored information about which fats, and how much
    of them, to include in your optimal diet, first find
    out your nutritional type
    . Then, make sure your meals include
    some of these delicious and healthy sources of saturated fat:

    • Grass-fed
      organic beef and beef fat
    • Naturally
      raised lamb
    • Organic
      raw dairy products (butter, cheese, milk, cream)
    • Coconut
      oil

    September
    23, 2009

    Email Print
    Share