Reference: Primal Body Primal Mind Nora Gedguadas
The big fat surprise: Nina Teicholz
Even though the focus of dietary recommendations is usually a reduction of saturated fat intake, no relation between saturated fat intake and risk of coronary heart disease was observed in the most informative study to date. Walter Willet, Nutritional Epidemiology.
So this is where we start. With the science that has debunked the saturated fat hysteria and shown that saturated fats are in fact essential for humans. But still, how many of us are cautious about the fat that we consume?? Too much butter?? Lean meats??
These are still very much part of our conversations around food.
We need fat as fuel for the brain and other cellular activity, and our bodies are so clever that when we don't eat enough fat we can convert carbohydrate (glycogen)into fat.
The difference with the two types of energy sources in the body is that the body can store fat for energy but it does not store glycogen efficiently at all.
With carbohydrate fueling we use it quickly and we are then looking for more food! Carbs don't fill us up for long periods of time, whereas with a high fat consumption we are sated much quickly and for longer.
Today in the west we are so inundated with food we very rarely go hungry ( unless we have chosen to fast) so our bodies are always processing food. Mostly carbs. This is why many people are metabolically unwell, obesity is at record rates and we are the fattest and the sickest our species has ever been.
Saturated fats have stable carbon bonds and are hard at room temperature, this means they stay ‘good’ for long periods of time and therefore good for us to consume. These fats are all fats that nature has produced for us, Butter, animal fats, avocado and cold pressed coconut oil.
The body does need some polyunsaturated fats for the brain and the retina, but in very small amounts, the natural fats above all have polyunsaturated fats in the perfect ratio for us to use.
There is no need to add man made oils, like oils made from corn, seeds and other nuts and beans. These are processed and very unstable and are toxic to humans.
All saturated fats are not the same. Short and medium chain saturated fats have potent antimicrobial properties. Their structure makes them unlikely to be stored as fat as all. ( butter, cream)
Long chain dietary saturated fats: ( meat, fish, avocado, dairy)
1) fuel the muscles, including the heart.
2)They give structural integrity to our cellular membranes,
3) Assist in protein metabolism,
4) Assist the brain structure and function
5) become lung surfactant, protecting from air pollutants
6) They also protect the polyunsaturated essential fats from damage, therefore improving their usage.
7) Assist in proper immune function
When the body makes fat from carbohydrate it is generally converted to palmitate and is generally the one we want to get rid of most!
In conclusion, we need dietary fats, all of the good and none of the bad. Our bodies are finely tuned machines that use fuel adequately and store if there is too much. Humans historically have evolved to the ‘feast and famine’ experience, giving the body an opportunity to fuel and rest and convert.
How amazing is this body of ours. Lets give us the best possible chance to live long, unencumbered with disease, and with freedom to move, grow and celebrate health, way into our old age by eating what nature intended us to eat. Healthy good naturally occurring fats, protein and a very very small amount of carbohydrate occasionally.