Are all saturated fats bad and all unsaturated fats good? Absolutely not, because we know trans fats are bad but so are highly refined vegetable oils and animal meats from feedlots full of hormones and antibiotics. We also know that raw organic coconut oil is a healthy anti-microbial saturated fat with zero cholesterol. This idea that saturated fats are bad and all vegetable oils are good has been a disaster for America’s health. Take control of your health and know the “FAT FACTS”.
There is no argument that fats and oils are a complicated story, but a little basic knowledge goes a long way in protecting your health. Last week we discussed the difference between short and long chain fatty acids. The week before we explored why women need more omegas than men. Next week we will further discuss omega fatty acids. But today, we are talking saturated and unsaturated fats.
There are 2 main classes of fats: SATURATED and UNSATURATED. Before we discuss either one, lets get “bad” TRANS FATS out of the way. Trans fats are artificial unsaturated fats formed when hydrogen gas reacts with vegetable oil to create a solid. Trans fats not only raise cholesterol levels and interfere with metabolic processes, but they also deplete good HDL cholesterol, which helps protect against heart disease. According to the comprehensive Nurses' Health Study -- the largest investigation of women and chronic disease -- trans fats double the risk of heart disease in women. But the most dangerous thing about trans fats is that while it adds stability and shelf life to refined baked goods, it makes your cell membrane rigid and stiff destroying cellular fluidity.
Fats are formed from the elements carbon (C), hydrogen (H), and oxygen (O). Saturated fats have no double bonds in the carbon chain. Unsaturated fatty acids have at least one bond in the carbon chain. Fats with only one bond in the carbon chains is a monounsaturated fatty acid. A fatty acid having several double –C=C-C-C-=C- bonds is a polyunsaturated fatty acid.
Lauric acid is a saturated fat found in breast milk and coconut oil. Oleic acid is unsaturated and found in olive oil and lard. Both of these fats are healthy and provide the body with energy, cellular fluidity, help maintain hormone levels and increase vitamin absorption.
Numerous studies have shown unrefined monounsaturated and omega polyunsaturated fats to be heart healthy and help control blood sugar and insulin levels.
As clearly stated in an article by Dr. Mecola, the idea that saturated fat is bad for your heart has become so in grained in the medical and health community that it’s very difficult to break through that misinformation barrier. The fact of the matter is that the saturated fat-heart disease link was a hypothesis that did not stand up to further scrutiny. For example, one 2010 meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reviewed 21 studies relating to the risk of heart disease, stroke, and saturated fats, concluding that:“… there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD [coronary heart disease] or CVD [stroke and cardiovascular disease].”
Function of Saturated fats:
- Provide building blocks for cell membranes, hormones, and hormone-like substances
- Act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K
- Are required for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, and for mineral absorption
- Act as antiviral agents (caprylic acid)
- Help lower cholesterol levels (palmitic and stearic acids)
- Modulate genetic regulation and help prevent cancer (butyric acid)
Saturated fats from grass fed organic animals are healthier than highly refined unsaturated vegetable oils for the following 3 reasons:
- Most of the vegetable oils are GMO. This would include over 90 percent of the soy, corn and canola oils.
- Vegetable oils contribute to the overabundance of damaged omega-6 fats in your diet, which creates an imbalance in the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. Too many omega-6 fats can produce inflammatory substances called prostaglandins resulting in chronic inflammation.
- Highly refined vegetable oils such soy, safflower, sunflower and cottonseed, are highly unstable and become oxidized or rancid when subjected to heat, oxygen and moisture in cooking and processing. Rancid oils contain free radicals, which are extremely reactive chemical compounds. Free radicals have been characterized as ‘marauders’ in the body because they attack cell membranes, red blood cells, protein, lipids and the DNA. The inflammatory damage caused by free radicals accelerates aging and the development of chronic illnesses. Inflammation is the root cause of most chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and cancer.
What are the healthy SATURATED & UNSATURATED fats?
- Olives and cold pressed olive oil
- Coconuts and raw coconut oil
- Raw nuts, such as walnuts, almonds or pecans
- Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
- Organic pastured egg yolks
- Grass fed organic meats
- Palm oil
- Unheated organic nut oils
Hail Merry believes in the health benefits of raw oils. Each serving of Miracle Tart delivers ½ tablespoon raw saturated coconut oil but zero cholesterol. Hail Merry’s Grawnola is chock full of healthy omegas from almonds, walnuts, hemp and flax. Our nuts and seeds are soaked, then dehydrated to preserve the raw natural unsaturated oils.
You+ Raw Oils= Healthy Mind & Body.