Remember the Dark Ages? (No, not the ones from the days of yore.) I mean the ones you probably grew up in…the Low Fat everything craziness. Go ahead, make a face…I totally just did. But good news: They’re over! As it turns out, fat is good for you; necessary even. I’m not just talking about “healthy fats” like olive oil and avocados either. We’re talking butter, full fat dairy, coconut oil, animal fats…the good ol’ fashioned saturated ones we were told to avoid at all costs; the “artery cloggers.” Fat that your grandparents and great grandparents ate on a regular basis. Say what? Yep, they’re good for you. So, a little history on this for you nay sayers:
A pathologist named Ancel Keys decided to do a little research on the cause of rising heart disease rates. He formed the “Lipid Hypothesis” in which he “showed” the positively correlated relationship between saturated fat and cholesterol and heart disease. The problem is he “cherry picked” these countries (picked countries that would prove his hypothesis) and convinced the AHA with his misleading data. So this is how we got the years of torture with low fat diets and had it not been for the rapidly growing number of researchers crying, “Foul,” we may still be in the dark ages. Low fat; high carbohydrate consumption. Isn’t it convenient that the US grows a ton of grain and needs to sell it….what better way than to recommend a high carbohydrate diet? And guess what came with the high carbohydrate consumption? Drumroll…..increased sugar consumption. Well, we had to replace the fat we took out of food with something! Of course sugar is the logical answer! You can’t make this stuff up, folks. Is it any wonder disease and obesity have skyrocketed? We also replaced saturated fats with refined vegetable oils, like canola oil, margarine, etc. which oxidize when heated, creating free radicals and causing inflammation in the body. Yes, even that extra virgin olive oil shouldn’t be used to cook with, but used in its natural, unheated state: think salads, pestos and such. So what do we cook with now, you ask? Lard (yep, seriously), butter, tallow, palm oil shortening, ghee, coconut oil; fats that are solid at room temperature essentially. Although I do highly recommend getting the animal fats from a grass-fed source as the omega 6 and omega 3 ratios are balanced in those animals. There are links at the bottom for the coconut oil, palm shortening, butter and ghee that I recommend.
So back to those reasons fat belongs in your diet….here’s a few great ones:
- Saturated fats are crucial for cell membrane structure and integrity
- They are a valuable source for fat soluble vitamins, such as A, D and K, which are deficient in most North American Diets, and they are necessary for hormone regulation, reproduction, immunity, bone health and much more
- Strong bone development requires saturated fat, which regulate calcium levels
- Saturated fats make cells more resistant to oxidative damage
- As well, saturated fats are far more stable at high temperatures than other fats, so they are unlikely to become oxidized and turn into cell damaging free radicals (as polyunsaturated fats frequently do)
- More than half the brain consists of saturated fats and cholesterol, and these fats also compose a large part of the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve fibers and ensures proper message relaying between the brain and nervous system
- Saturated fats contain fatty acids such as lauric acid, myristic acid and caprylic acid, which are anti-fungal, anti-microbial and anti-viral and all contribute towards a stronger immune system
- Saturated fats are actually GOOD for heart health and lower a substance called Lp(a) while increasing good cholesterol (HDL). –Stephanie Langford, Keeper of the Home
So if you’re a nerd like me and want to read more about this, I’ve linked a few articles I found really interesting with some great information and charts and graphs and all the sciencey stuff. Happy Reading!
- 6 Facts About Saturated Fat That Will Astound You
- The USDA’s Pyramid Scheme
- Good Fats, Bad Fats. Why I Eat Plenty of Butter
- The Importance of Saturated Fats For Biological Functions
The Fats We Use:
- Virgin Coconut Oil
- Grass Fed Organic Ghee
- Spectrum Organic Vegetable Shortening
- Organic Valley Butter or this one: Kerrygold Butter
Written by Amy Pino
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