Healthy Foods Weight Loss Plans

Seeking Saturated Fat

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Saturated fat has more beneficial functions than just its role in supporting the heart, brain and lungs,  Saturated fat may be more important for the absorption of certain fat soluble vitamins.
It is relatively well known that fat soluble vitamins, (vitamins A,D,E,K) and minerals are not well absorbed without fat. Thus the health benefits of these nutrients are not being attained, if adequate fat in the diet is not present. Saturated fat seems to be a better vehicle to help nutrient absorption than unsaturated fat.
A perfect example of this is a study showing that saturated fat from beef tallow as compared with polyunsaturated fat from sunflower oil increases beta-carotene absorption from a salad 11 to 17 percent,  In this linked article, Chris Masterjohn specifically mentions that the “absorption of beta-carotene from a salad with no added fat was close to zero”. The saturated fat dressing was a superior vehicle in delivering nutrients to the body.
While you may not want to substitute monounsaturated, olive oil dressing on your salads just yet, (you might feel better knowing olive oil was better in aiding absorption than  polyunsaturated oil), eating salad topped with steak seems to be healthier than a vegetarian option like chick peas or beans.
“The reason saturated fat improved beta carotene absoption is unknown, but it may be that oils rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids promote the oxidative destruction of fat-soluble vitamins in the intestines before we are able to absorb them. Thus, the more fat we eat, and the lower those fats are in polyunsaturated fatty acids, the more fat-soluble vitamins we absorb.”
Primal tribes around the world (from New Zealand to the Arctic Alaska) use 60-75% of their calories as saturated fat,
Specific saturated fats that benefit different facets of health include:

  • caprylic acid found in coconut and palm oil (antifungal, antiviral)
  • lauric acid is attained from palm, coconut and butter (cavity and plaque fighter, antifungal)
  • stearic acids are derived from animal sources: cocoa butter, pork beef, lard, dairy (lowers cholesterol)
  • butyric acid mostly in dairy products has been shown to help prevent colon cancer, reduce gut inflammation and constipation

James Carlson board certified MD who has an undergraduate degree in biochemistry and microcellular biology says that biochemical pathways in the body work better when carbohydrates are lower and animal fats are higher.
He uses saturated fat, not drugs, to help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and weight on “thousands and thousands of patients”.
He points out that while we have been led to believe that lard is one of the unhealthiest types of fat, more than half of its fat (60%) is unsaturated fat. Yes, and while you are gasping for air at the thought of this, I know I was. Fifty-five percent of beef fat is unsaturated. So, if you like the skin on the chicken but discard it because you were told it is healthier, you may want think twice before peeling off the fat because 80% of that fat is unsaturated, Where did all the hype come from in regards to an all or nothing saturated fat content from animal meats?
Listen for yourself, to Dr. Carlson  speak at this “Dietary Guidelines Press Conference” it is important to keep this stuff upfront in our minds, and
If your doctor is not at least giving you a low carb high fat diet as an option to lose weight and improve your health, before putting you on drugs, get a second opinion…FAST!

About the author

Valerie Goldstein

Valerie raises the bar for health and nutrition know how with unconventional expertise and unconditional support for wellness.

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  • Another fine article. Thanks for putting the facts about saturated out there.
    It’s interesting that in the 1930s scientists experimented on calves with butter fat replacements such as beef tallow, lard, and plant oils of various sorts. Calves fed skim milk and plant oils did not fare well.
    Apparently, scientists studying human health issues such as cardiovascular diseases didn’t bother to find out how excessive polyunsaturated fatty acid intake affects animals for in 1973 they were thinking along these lines. Excerpt:
    “The possibility exists that food products containing high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids may be useful in dietary prevention and alleviation of atherosclerosis. If clinicians prove an associative effect of dietary fatty acid saturation with incidence of cardiovascular disease, it will become desirable for dairy and beef producers to develop methods of increasing the degree of polyunsaturation in milk and meat fat.”

      • You’re quite welcome, Valerie. The 1973 Journal of Animal Science article is worth studying because it demonstrates how important it is to protect linoleic acid molecules from oxidative damage. Excerpt: “This result contrasts with the reports of others (Adams et al., 1959a,b; Gullickson, Fountaine and Fitch, 1942) who experienced poor weight gains, bad health, and considerable mortality of calves on rations high in unsaturated vegetable fat. All the calves in our study, whether fed milk containing high or normal amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, received supplemental vitamin E. The presence of this vitamin E during these early growth stages may be the explanation for the very satisfactory growth and weight gains during the milk feeding period, which contrasts with the growth deficiencies and health problems encountered by Adams et al. (1959a,b). Under the conditions of our experiment and feeding trials, the presence of high levels (14.1% linoleic acid) of polyunsaturated fats has not adversely affected the health of young calves.
        Interestingly, about 20 years a go I developed a skin ulcer on my left shin that required high vitamin E intake to heal the wound. In retrospect, I believe I trashed my immune system by consuming too much peanut butter, mayonnaise, and soybean oil-based salad dressing. Supplemental vitamin E can provide some protection from the effects of high linoleic acid intake but the better approach is to minimize linoleic acid intake and consume more saturated fat.

    • It’s also interesting to note that scientists experimented on humans eating tons of lawn grass and hay. Humans did not fare well.
      While I agree with most everthing mentioned in the article, it still behooves us to not make assumptions based on correlations, since correlations does not imply causation.