Saturated fat is not the enemy you once thought it was

Are Saturated Fats Good for You? Debunking Common Myths

Updated: Mar 26, 2024Veronika Larisova

A research study from the Netherlands found that replacing saturated fats in your diet (like those from healthy grass-fed beef, raw organic butter, and other high-quality animal foods) with carbohydrates (like bread, bagels, pasta, rice and doughnuts) will increase your risk of heart disease.

Consider this: most would agree that human breast milk is likely the ideal human food for infants and their developing bodies. Breast milk contains 54% saturated fat. This is not a mistake. It’s there in such high quantities because it plays a crucial role in your body’s development and day-to-day functioning, even as an adult. In fact, your body cannot function without saturated fats!

In other words, saturated fats are good for you! This might surprise you.

Unfortunately, this is the result of misguided information that has been widely circulated from public health agencies and further “cemented” in people’s minds with the introduction of saturated fat replacements like trans fats and vegetable oil, which are far worse for your health.


The Truth About Saturated Fats and Heart Disease

The demonisation of saturated fat began back in 1953, when Dr. Ancel Keys published a paper comparing saturated fat intake and heart disease mortality. His theory turned out to be flimsy, to say the least, but the misguided ousting of saturated fat has continued unabated ever since.

Keys based his theory on a study of seven countries, in which higher saturated fat intake equated to higher rates of heart disease. However, he conveniently ignored data from 16 other countries that did not fit his theory. When you include all 22 countries for which data was available at the time of his study, you find that those who consume the highest percentage of saturated fat have the lowest risk of heart disease.

The nutrition community of that time completely accepted Keys’ hypothesis and encouraged the public to cut out butter, red meat, animal fats, eggs, dairy and other “artery clogging” fats from their diets — a radical change at that time that is still very much in force today.


The Latest Research Proves Saturated Fats are Not Your Enemy

Fortunately, the truth is finally starting to come out, as medical scientists have begun to seriously question Keys’ findings. Research is now pouring in that the conventional dogma demonising saturated fats is simply wrong.

Most studies that have linked the so-called “Western diet” to an increased heart disease risk simply confirm that sugar and refined carbohydrates are harmful to your heart health. Although the Western diet is high in red and processed meats and saturated fats, it’s also alarmingly high in sugar and refined carbs, like bread and pasta. And, as concluded in the latest study, when you reduce saturated fat and increase refined carbohydrates, you end up promoting heart disease, not to mention obesity and diabetes.

I recommend reducing carbohydrates with a high glycemic index (sugars, fructose, grains and starchy veggies like white potato) and focusing on including plenty of plant foods and high quality protein in your diet but ALSO making sure healthy fats play a significant role in your nutrition plan (saturated fats, omega-3 fats, monounsaturated fats).

Our Beef Bars and Biltong and our Collagen Protein Bars (made from nuts) are all good sources of high quality protein and healthy fats.


The Quality Of Carbs Matters

It’s important to note here that I’m not recommending cutting carbs, which come in many forms – e.g. vegetables, fruit – and are really good for you. I’m recommending reducing processed and starchy carbs, such as bread, pasta, sweets and cereals.

You absolutely can’t get enough of the veggies that grow above the ground (particularly greens) and even fruit, which contains fructose, is fine when eaten whole (the fibre reduces the insulin response). Just make sure you don’t overdo it and avoid too much fruit juice, as it’s really just a big sugar hit. 

Shop our range of natural healthy protein snacks.

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