Since the neon spandex days of the Eighties, saturated fat has been touted as the culprit for many health problems such as obesity and heart disease. Reality check: that’s not the complete truth. Fat has made a comeback in recent years, and none deserve this more than saturated fat!
Saturated fat does not contribute to harmful cholesterol
Saturated fat used to be held responsible for increasing LDL (bad) cholesterol, but there should be a distinction between “good” and “bad” when it comes to LDL. Cholesterol particle sizes are divided into Type A LDL and Type B LDL, the latter being the one that is often linked to heart-related diseases and is coincidentally controlled by carbohydrates instead of saturated fats.
Type B LDL is small enough to be deposited in the artery and reduce blood flow, thus increasing the risk of heart diseases. Saturated fat is able to increase the size of Type B LDL into that which is similar to Type A LDL, which is less likely to be absorbed through the artery walls on account of its size, thereby reducing the risk of heart conditions.
Our bodies need saturated fats to function properly
Fat is essential for keeping our bodies in working condition and maintaining normal functions. They help to ensure proper growth and development as well. For example, some vitamins (like A, D, E and K) are fat-soluble, so fat act as a solvent to facilitate bodily absorption. Furthermore, saturated fat can improve our immune systems by powering our white blood cells which are responsible for fighting off harmful bacteria and protecting us against viruses.
Not all saturated fat are created equal
Because different saturated fats have diverse chemical makeup, they affect our bodies in various manners. Naturally-occurring saturated fat such as those found in coconut oil and butter are great not only internally, but also externally.
However, you should avoid corn oil, vegetable oil, and other oils that are highly processed. Many of these oils are hydrogenated and thus, harmful for the body. Furthermore, they tend to contain excessive amounts of polyunsaturated fat, which can exacerbate health issues such as cell inflammation.
Although it has been established that healthy saturated fat has many benefits, it doesn’t mean that we can be careless with our intake. After all, excessiveness can sometimes lead to counterproductive results as well. Calories still matter, and a gram of fat is worth twice the amount of calories as a gram of carbohydrate or protein. So enjoy your bacon and butter; just don’t stuff your face with them!