We often hear that saturated fat is not good for health.
It is considered to be the cause of increased cholesterol and heart attack.
However, many recent studies show that the actual situation is much more complex.
This article gives a detailed view of saturated fat and whether it is good or bad for your health.
What is saturated fat?
" ”Is a micro-nutrient. That is, the nutrients that we consume much and give us energy.
Each fat molecule is made up of one molecule of glycerol and three fatty acids, which can be saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.
What determines the "saturation" of fat is the number of double bonds in the molecule.
Saturated fatty acids do not have double bonds, monounsaturated fatty acids have a double bond and polyunsaturated fatty acids have two or more double bonds.
This image shows the difference:
Another way to talk about this is that saturated fatty acids have all carbon (C) atoms that are "saturated" with hydrogen atoms (H).
In fact, "fat" is a combination of different fatty acids. No fat is fat pure saturated, or pure mono or polyunsaturated.
Even foods like beef contain significant amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats .
Fat is mostly saturated (like butter) tends to be solid at room temperature, while fat is almost unsaturated (like olive oil ) is liquid at room temperature.
Like other fats, saturated fat contains 9 calories / gram.
Conclude: Saturated fat is a fat that contains many saturated fatty acids, does not contain double bonds. Solid saturated fat at room temperature.
Why do people think it is harmful?
In the 20th century, there was a pandemic rampant in America.
Heart disease was a rare disease, but it quickly rose and became the number one cause of death, and still today .
Researchers have found that eating saturated fat raises blood cholesterol levels.
This was an important finding at the time, because they also knew that high cholesterol was associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
This leads to the following assumption: If saturated fat raises cholesterol (A causes B) and cholesterol causes heart disease (B causes C) then that means saturated fat causes heart disease (A cause C).
However, at that time, this not based on any empirical evidence in humans.
This hypothesis (called "heart-shaped diet hypothesis") is based on assumptions, observational data and animal studies .
The heart-dieting hypothesis later became a common way of acting in 1977, before it was proven true .
Although we now have a lot of empirical data on people that show that the initial assumptions are wrong, people are still advised to avoid saturated fat to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Conclude: It is thought that saturated fat causes heart disease by raising blood cholesterol. However, no experimental evidence indicates a direct link between saturated fat and heart disease.
Saturated fats can increase LDL ("bad") cholesterol, but also increase HDL ("good" cholesterol).
It is important that you realize that the word " "Often used incorrectly.
HDL and LDL, "good" and "bad" cholesterol, are not really cholesterol, they are proteins that carry cholesterol called .
Abbreviated LDL of low density Lipoprotein and HDL stands for High density Lipoprotein. All "cholesterol" are the same.
At first, scientists only measured "Total" cholesterol, including cholesterol in both LDL and HDL. They then discovered that while LDL may increase the risk, HDL does reduction risk ( 7, ).
"Total" cholesterol is not a reliable indicator because it also includes HDL. Therefore, having high HDL (protective) actually contributes to high "total" cholesterol levels.
Because saturated fat raises LDL levels, it is reasonable to assume that they increase the risk of heart disease. But scientists almost ignore the fact that saturated fat also raises HDL.
That is, new research has shown that LDL is not necessarily "bad" because there are other classes of LDL :
- Small, dense LDL: These are small lipoproteins that can easily penetrate into the artery walls, leading to heart disease.
- Large LDL: These lipoproteins are large and soft and do not easily penetrate the arteries.
Small, dense particles are also more susceptible to oxidation, which is an important step in the formation of heart disease .
People with a large number of LDL particles have a three-fold higher risk of heart disease than those with large amounts of LDL particles .
So if we want to reduce the risk of heart disease, most LDL particles must be large and have as few small LDL particles as possible.
And this is an interesting piece of information that is often ignored by "mainstream" nutrition experts; that is, eating saturated fat will turn small, dense LDL particles into large LDL particles .
This means that, even if saturated fat can raise LDL levels, at the same time it also converts LDLs into a class that may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Even the effect of saturated fat on LDL is not as clear as you think. Although saturated fat increases LDL levels in the short term, many long-term observations indicate that between the amount of saturated fat consumed and the level of LDL in the blood running out .
The level of LDL in the blood seems to depend on the "length" of the fatty acid chain. For example, palmitic acid (16 carbon) increases LDL, while stearic acid (18 carbon) does not .
Today, scientists realize that the problem is not only in the LDL concentration or the size of the particles but in the number of LDL particles (also called ) floating in the blood.
Low-carb diets, though high in saturated fat, can reduce LDL-p levels, while low-fat diets have the opposite effect and increase LDL-p amount .
Conclude: Saturated fat increases HDL (good cholesterol) and changes LDL from small, dense (bad) to large LDL, mostly benign. In general, saturated fat does not harm the blood lipid composition as we think.
Does saturated fat cause heart disease?
Harmful effects of saturated fat are communication of modern dietary principles. Therefore, this topic has received many grants.
However, despite decades of research and spending billions of dollars, scientists still cannot prove a clear link.
Some recent evaluation studies combine data from many other studies, finding that there really isn't any link between consuming saturated fat and heart disease.
This includes an overview of 21 studies with a total of 347,747 participants, published in 2010. Their conclusion is: there is absolutely no association between saturated fat and heart disease .
Another review published in 2014 examined data from 76 studies (both observational and controlled trials) with a total of 643,226 participants. They found no link between saturated fat and heart disease .
We also have a systematic review from the organization which combines data from many randomized controlled trials.
According to their reviews published in 2011, reducing saturated fat no impact What is the death rate or death from heart disease (34).
However, they noticed that work replace Unsaturated fat saturated fats reduce cardiovascular risk (but not death) to 14%.
This does not imply that saturated fat is "bad", just because some types of fat are not saturated (mostly ) is protective, while the nature of saturated fat is neutral.
So the study biggest and the best about saturated fat and heart disease suggests that there is no direct link between the two. In the end it was still a mystery.
Unfortunately, "mainstream" governments and health organizations seem reluctant to change their minds and continue to promote the same idea of low-fat diets.
Conclude: The association between saturated fat and heart disease has been extensively studied for decades, but the largest and best studies show no statistically significant association.
Does a low-saturated diet bring health benefits or help you live longer?
Several large studies have been conducted on low-fat diets.
This is a diet proposed by USDA and orthodox health organizations around the world.
The main purpose of this diet is to reduce saturated fat and cholesterol.
This diet also recommends eating lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and eating less Street .
Program is the largest nutrition research in history. It was a randomized controlled trial of 46,835 women who were instructed to eat a low-fat diet.
After 7.5-8 years they only changed 0.4 kg of weight and there was no difference in heart disease, cancer or death .
Other large studies have confirmed that low-fat diets are not conducive to heart disease or the risk of death .
Some studies that replace saturated fat with unsaturated vegetable oils show that more people die in the vegetable oil group .
It is interesting to see that since the low-fat diet guidelines were born, obesity rates have skyrocketed :
This chart shows that obesity outbreaks start to rise when low-fat diet advice peaks. Type 2 diabetes epidemic occurs shortly thereafter.
Of course, this graph does not prove anything , in addition to indicating that replacing traditional foods like butter and meat with low-fat processed sugar-related foods.
It is also quite interesting to look at the literature, that in most single studies comparing the low-fat diet "approved by experts" with other diets (including paleo, vegetarianism) , Low carb and Mediterranean ), it is inferior .
Conclude: Research on low-fat diets does not reduce the risk of heart disease or death and some studies suggest that replacing saturated fat with vegetable oils increases the risk.
People with certain medical conditions may want to minimize saturated fat
The results of most studies are based on average.
Studies show clearly that, medium , saturated fat does not increase the risk of heart disease.
However, there are still places for special cases.
Perhaps most people are not effective, while the risk of disease in others decreases, and others are at increased risk.
That is, there are certainly some people who want to reduce the amount of saturated fat in their diet. This number includes individuals with genetic disorders called as well as those with gene variants called .
Over time, genetic science will undoubtedly discover many ways that diet affects risk of disease in each person .
Conclude: Some people may want to reduce saturated fat, including those with household hypercholesterolemia or ApoE4.
Saturated fat is a great choice when cooking and foods high in saturated fat are often good for health and nutrition
Saturated fat has several important benefits but is rarely mentioned.
For example, saturated fat is an option great when cooking Because they do not have double bonds, they are very durable and do not decompose at high temperatures .
On the other hand, polyunsaturated fats are more susceptible to oxidation at high temperatures .
For this reason, coconut oil, lard and avocado are great choices when cooking, especially for high heat cooking methods such as frying.
Foods that are naturally high in saturated fat are usually healthy and nutritious, as long as you are eating unprocessed foods. quality .
They include meat of wild / fed animals, dairy products from grass cattle, dark chocolate and coconut.
Conclude: Saturated fats are excellent cooking fats and saturated fat foods tend to be healthy and nutritious.
"Bad" fats you should avoid like avoiding "leprosy"
There are many different types of fat. There are good, neutral types, there are bad types for our health.
Evidence that saturated and monounsaturated fats are completely safe and can even be very good for health.
However, the situation is much more complicated with polyunsaturated fats.
When it comes to these types of fats, we have both Omega-3 and Omega-6.
We need to absorb these two fatty acids in a balanced way, but today, most people are eating too much Omega-6 fatty acids .
It is best to eat a lot of Omega-3 (such as fat fish), but most people will try to reduce their Omega-6 consumption .
The best way to do that is to avoid oil derived from seeds and plants such as soybean oil and corn, as well as processed foods containing them.
Another type of fat, Artificial, also very harmful.
Trans fat is created by introducing unsaturated vegetable oil into a high temperature chemical process, hydrogen gas and metal catalyst.
Studies show that trans fat leads to insulin resistance, inflammation, abdominal fat accumulation and significantly increases the risk of heart disease .
Therefore, saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and Omega-3s should be eaten, but trans fats and processed vegetable oils should be avoided.
Conclude: Really harmful fats are trans fat and processed vegetable oils with high levels of Omega-6 fatty acids.
Blaming new health problems for older foods is meaningless
Health agencies have devoted a lot of resources to studying the relationship between saturated fat and heart disease.
Although there are thousands of scientists, decades of work and billions of dollars spent, this hypothesis is not supported by any evidence.
The mystery of saturated fat has not been proven in the past, not proven in the present and will never be proven, simply because obviously it's wrong .
These myths are not supported by scientific evidence, but can easily be dismissed with some simple common sense ...
People and prehistoric people ate saturated fat for hundreds of thousands of years (if not millions of years), but heart disease only started a hundred years ago.
Blaming new health problems for older foods is not meaningful.