Today we’re going to talk about this dude. This dude who everyone hates. They call him names, they’ve kicked him out of most places and they’ve even forcefully removed him from most things. But I have to confess – I hated him too. I thought he meant nothing but harm and I tried staying as far away from him as I possibly could!
Then I remembered I have this rule about hating or loving anyone.
You hate/love someone only if you know the person too well or too little.
So I stuck this dude into this rule and realized that I didn’t know jack about him! All I knew about him was what people told me about him and obviously I judged him based on what I heard. So I decided to get to know him completely and then make a decision on whether to hate him, love him and just remain indifferent towards him.
Say hello to Saturated Fat
So who is this guy?
Saturated fat is fat that consists of triglycerides containing only saturated fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids have no double bonds between the individual carbonatoms of the fatty acid chain. That is, the chain of carbon atoms is fully “saturated” with hydrogen atoms. There are many kinds of naturally occurring saturated fatty acids, which mainly differ in number of carbon atoms, from 3 carbons (propionic acid) to 36 (hexatriacontanoic acid).
At first glance, he sounds pretty benign to me. So I read more and every single article I read on mainstream media said…
- Saturated fat consumption causes atherosclerosis.
- Artery clogging saturated fats.
- Saturated fat is a precursor for cholesterol and hence increases lipid cholesterol.
- Saturated fat needs to be replaced with healthy whole grains.
- Saturated fat needs to be replaced with heart healthy vegetable oils.
Ummm… fair enough. Assuming all the studies done were legit, this is a no brainer. This guy is evil indeed! So dump the saturated fat and live long and healthy! Boom! Thankfully we have the government and health departments to look up to and the benevolent selfless people that they are, they have figured all this out and have come up with dietary recommendations that will save us from the dreaded heart disease! They recommend that we…
- get most of our calories from whole grains,
- use heart healthy vegetable oils instead of the deadly and gross saturated fat filled butter and coconut oil,
- eat 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day,
- avoid full fat dairy and enjoy low fat or, even better, non fat dairy
While I breathed out in relief, I realized that all foods recommended are foods that can only be produced in a factory setting. Vegetable oils can be produced only by extensive processing and dairy, in it’s natural form, contains saturated fat which needs to be artificially removed to produce skim milk. So, if suddenly all these factories were shut down, we will be left with the most unhealthy foods ever! So the government is telling me that I need to eat what these companies provide me with, else I’m going to have a heart attack. Wow! Thank God for Monsanto!
But… there is always a but…
But when I removed my I’m-an-idiot glasses and started applying some common sense, something didn’t quite fit right. Let me explain.
- Saturated fat is found abundantly in real foods like meat, dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, cream, butter, ghee), coconuts and macadamia nuts.
- Our paleolithic ancestors and all traditional cultures (who exhibited excellent health by the way) thrived on meat, dairy and coconuts (based on location).
- My own vegetarian south Indian ancestors consumed copious amounts of whole milk and ghee and lived long healthy lives, even though their activity levels weren’t abnormally high and healthcare was non-existant.
So putting two and two together…
- Saturated fats are found pretty much only in real foods and the so-called heart healthy vegetable oils, that the government recommends, is not to be found in any natural sources and can only be produced by artificial processes.
- Humans who lived before industrialization lived super healthy lives eating naturally occurring (saturated) fats.
- Our great grand parents who chowed down saturated fat in pretty much every single meal lived longer than our grand parents did and were much healthier than our parents are now.
- In the last 100 years, the consumption of saturated fat has reduced drastically and the consumption of vegetable oils increased by 400%, but the incidence of heart diseases has increased multifold.
Unless I’m retarded, it seems pretty obvious that people who ate real food that is rich in saturated fat lived healthy lives and people who adhered to the government’s recommendations and substituted carbs and/or vegetable oils for saturated fats are living disease ridden sad lives filled with diabetes, obesity, arthritis, celiac, hypertension etc etc etc!
What do you think? Saturated fat… good? bad? ugly? OK in small amounts? OK in large amounts? Share your comments and in the next post I’ll talk about saturated fats in detail – what they really are, what functions they have in the human body, can they be safely consumed, how much is too much… and more!Peace out!