Now with the exception of cholesterol, there has never been a more misunderstood facet of nutrition than saturated fat.
You’ve heard all too many times; “Eat a low fat diet”, “Saturated fats will give you heart disease”, and my favorite, “You’ll become obese and end up on The Biggest Loser”…lol really?!
Well from my research and personal experience you’ve been misled, misinformed, and downright manipulated by the media, medical organizations, and “health authorities” alike.
There’s a ton of scientific evidence to support why the general public should consume a reasonable amount of saturated fats. And, as a diet coach I’ll share some reasons that standout the most for me.
Caution to reader: I’m not suggesting you run off and eat a tub of lard or 6 pounds of ground beef every day. All I’m saying is saturated fats are healthy and helpful in a balanced, sensible diet.
First let’s define two terms:
Saturated Fat – “Saturated fat” means that all available carbon atoms are occupied by a hydrogen atom. The important thing to take away from this is that unlike unsaturated fats, saturated fats are highly stable, and not likely to turn into free radicals or go rancid when exposed to heat, oxygen, or light.
It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to know what you should be cooking with — yes, saturated fats, like grass-fed butter and virgin coconut oil.
Hydrogenated – The term “hydrogenated” literally means they’re blasting the chemical structure of the fat with extra hydrogen to bond to the carbon atom. This makes the fat solid at room temperature, and is essentially a man-made way to “create” a saturated fat.
This chemical process wreaks physiological havoc, as trans fats are essentially poisonous to the body. At the cellular level, trans fats replace saturated fat in the cell membrane, and sometimes the essential fatty acids as well. When this occurs, HDL goes down, and Lp(a) goes up, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease. So, the next time you pick up that tasty JIF peanut butter and the ingredients state “Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” its trans-fats FYI.
6 benefits of Sat-Fats
1. Saturated fats positively affect hormonal function. To be more specific, free Testosterone levels tend to be higher in those who include saturated fats in their diet. So to all my fellas, eat up so you can be a beast in the gym and a beast in the sheets!
2. Saturated fats help your tissues retain omega-3 fatty acids better and help convert omega-3 to its final usable form (DHA). We’ve all heard about the wonderful benefits of omega-3 fatty acids on our cardiovascular system. Salmon anyone?
3. Saturated fats strengthen our immune system. Although we’re not tiny infants all our lives, we can still learn a lot from breastfeeding mothers out there. What’s special about breast milk is that it has a lot of lauric acid in it. Lauric acid is a saturated fat and is noteworthy for its ability to strengthen the immune system, which is why babies fed breast milk often have stronger immune systems. Lauric acid is also found in large amount is coconut oil. 1 tablespoon a day should do the trick for anyone that’s curious.
4. Saturated fats strengthen the liver. The liver takes a beating every day thanks to all the toxins we eat, drink, and breathe in. There have been many animal studies demonstrating that beef tallow (beef fat) protects against alcohol induced liver injury. Coconut oil also protects the liver, as does palm oil and cocoa butter.
5. Animal fats contain fat-soluble vitamins and allow for their uptake. I’ve always read the benefits of fat soluble vitamins and honestly most of us are deficient in one or more but check this out:
If you eat a few carrots thinking you’re going to get enough Vitamin A, you’re wrong. With the exception that this type of Vitamin A is really a carotene that needs to be converted to active Vitamin A, there’s no fat to help with its absorption. Now let’s say you eat some beef liver: tons of vitamin A, and there’s saturated and monounsaturated fat in it to help make it more bio-available.
How about egg yolks? When you throw away the egg yolk, you’re throwing away 245 IUs of Vitamin A, 18 IUs of Vitamin D, and the healthy fat to help it absorb properly. So what you’re really throwing away is the nutrient density of the food?
6. Saturated fats help your cholesterol profile and can help you live longer. If you replace carbs in your diet with saturated fat, you can expect the following:
Lower triglyerides, increased HDL levels and increased size of LDL particles. And if you think I’m lying google it or introduce some sat-fats into your diet and get some blood work done.
Here’s a saturated fat friendly meal plan
The following example could work for a 200-pound hard training male athlete:
Meal 1 — 6 whole eggs scrambled in virgin coconut oil, served with 1 cup spinach
Meal 2 (Pre-workout) — Protein Shake with Almond Butter, 1 cup oats, 2 pieces of Ezekiel toast with 2 teaspoons of grass-fed butter
Meal 3A (Post-workout) — Protein shake with 1-cup strawberries and 1 medium-sized sweet potato
Meal 3B (Post-workout for extreme fat loss) — Protein shake with 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter and 3 tablespoons raw organic coconut, 4 oz. grass-fed beef liver
Meal 4 — 8 oz. of Grass-fed ground beef with 1/2-cup raw fresh pineapple
Meal 5 — 2 cups of raw whole milk, whey and casein blend, and 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter
Meal 6 — 3 whole eggs covered with 2 teaspoons of red palm oil, 4 oz. ground turkey thigh, and a large salad with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
I think a diet that will get you leaner, healthier, and provide you with a much more energy to tear down the gym all thanks to adding healthy amounts of saturated fats is worth it.