Why Is Saturated Fat Good For You

In Part One of this series, Why Is Saturated Fat Good for You?, I shared how fear of saturated fats is rooted in nutrition hype and misinformation that science doesn’t support.

To help you ditch bandwagon-diet-BS, lose weight, and achieve optimal health, I dished about solid science that demonstrates:

1)  Saturated fat lowers disease risk

2) Saturated fat is a health-promoting antioxidant (that’s right!)  

3) Saturated fat is a powerhouse source of energy.

Now, I’m going to get down ‘n dirty about the final three of my six reasons to the question, Why Is Saturated Fat Good For You?:

4) Saturated fat helps your body use other nutrients

5) Saturated fat promotes weight loss, and a slim waistline 

6) Saturated fat comes in foods that taste AMAZING.

Your brain, body, tummy, waistline, and tastebuds are going to love these.

Read on!

4) Saturated fat helps your body use other nutrients

In order to lose weight and ensure optimal health, you have to eat nutrient-dense food–and you have to be able to absorb those nutrients. A lowfat diet will not help your body do this, nor will a higher-fat diet that lacks sufficient SATURATED fat.  

We need saturated fat to absorb calcium and deposit it in our bones. In Connie Leas’s book Fat: It’s Not What You Think, the author highlights nutritional research that emphasizes at least 50 percent of dietary fat should be saturated in order for our bones to adequately metabolize calcium.  

Plus, like I said before, saturated fat comes with other key nutrients in animal foods (particularly pastured animal foods), like the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, which aid absorption of minerals that our bones, brain, and nervous system rely on to function.

We also need saturated fat to fully convert the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid into EPA and DHA. Read why you MUST eat animal foods to obtain adequate levels–and adequately balanced levels–of EPA and DHA in my post You’re Being Fed BS About Omega-3 from Chia, Flax & Plant Foods (and What You Can Do about It)

5) Saturated fat promotes weight loss, and a slim waistline 

First things first: saturated fat is just plain satiating. Eat lots of saturated fat, and you’re doing the smartest, most powerful thing you can do to balance blood sugar and insulin in a way that makes you

  • feel satisfied and free from cravings
  • able to go extended periods of time between meals (many in my TOTAL CLEANSE BOOTCAMP training program report being able to go for 6+ hours without feeling hungry, shaky, irritable or lightheaded!)
  • comfortable to eat less overall (and spend less money on food overall) because you are so satiated.

So now let’s talk belly-fat.

A compelling study published in The Lancet found adipose tissue (stored fat, often located around the waistline, that is linked to heightened disease risk) is largely associated with unsaturated fats, not saturated fats.

Positive associations were found between serum and plaque omega 6 (r = 0.75) and omega 3 (r = 0.93) polyunsaturated fatty acids, and monounsaturates (r = 0.70), and also between adipose tissue and plaque omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (r = 0.89). No associations were found with saturated fatty acids.

You read right: belly-fat ain’t comin’ from saturated fat.

What’s more, research indicates medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCTs), which are largely found in coconut oil, are broken down quickly and used mainly for energy, rarely winding up as body fat.

A 2013 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Healthcare found: “higher dairy fat consumption was associated with a lower risk of central obesity” (read: belly-fat). On the other hand,  the study found “low dairy fat intake was associated with a higher risk of central obesity.” Simply put: foods high in saturated fat, like dairy, did not promote weight gain, particularly around the midsection.

Another 2013 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found high-fat dairy fat consumption was associated with lowered risk of obesity:

“In 11 of 16 studies, high-fat dairy intake was inversely associated with measures of adiposity [obesity]. Studies examining the relationship between high-fat dairy consumption and metabolic health reported either an inverse or no association.”

The same study noted the possibility that any variability in data could be the result of “differences in…bovine feeding practices (pasture- vs. grain-based) known to influence the composition of dairy fat.”

An optimal diet emphasizes grass-fed/pastured animal foods as sources saturated fat. (Discover more about the importance of grass-fed/pastured animal foods in #6 below, and in my popular post here.)

6) Saturated fat comes in foods that taste AMAZING

What kind of foods am I talking about? These:

  • Whole eggs (ideally from pastured hens)
  • Meat and poultry, and organ meat (ideally organic and grass-fed meat)
  • Dairy if tolerated (ideally from grass-fed/pastured animals, organic and whole-fat varieties of butter, milk, cheese, plain unsweetened yogurt and kefir, sour cream, cottage cheese, etc.)
  • Lard and tallow (ideally from pastured animals)
  • Tropical oils (i.e. sustainably-sourced coconut oil and palm oil)
  • Coconuts/coconut meat/coconut “manna” (I love this coconut manna by Nutiva)

In my real food cleanse program, grass-fed/pastured animal foods are ideal sources of nourishment for many reasons. One reason is that grass-fed/pastured animal foods contain an ideal balance of stable saturated fats to unstable unsaturated fats.

In comparison to foods from grain-fed animals (regardless of whether or not those grains are organic), grass-fed/pastured animal foods contain less of the unstable unsaturated fat known as omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid. Good stuff!

That’s Why You Should Eat Lots of Saturated Fat

The tendency for unsaturated fats to oxidize (as I explained in Part One of this series) is the reason why vibrant, savvy, discerning health hackers prefer to eat lots of saturated fat (from meat, eggs, dairy, coconut or palm oils) over lots of unsaturated fat from plant oils (i.e. canola, and even flax), and processed vegetable oils (like an order of commercial French fries).

Health hackers would rather use real full-fat sour cream, or full-fat coconut milk, or homemade mayonnaise (made with whole eggs and extra virgin olive oil) in a recipe for coleslaw, instead of store-bought mayonnaise made with soybean or canola oil—no matter if those plant oils are refined, unprocessed, non-GMO, and/or organic.

Eating fat–especially saturated fat–doesn’t make you fat. It helps you lose weight. I talk about this extensively in my bestselling book Eat Like a Fatass, Look Like a Goddess: The Untold Story of Healthy Foods, and my popular post 6 Reasons Counting Calories to Lose Weight Doesn’t Work.

Now, when you think of the word “saturated,” remember it sounds a lot more like the words “stable” and “satisfying” than it does “unhealthy.”

If Saturated Fat Isn’t Bad, What Is?

It’s what we’re replacing saturated fat with that’s hurting us.

What are these things? They are things that trigger inflammation and oxidation in our bodies: excess carbohydrates (sugars and starches), synthetic trans fats, plant/vegetable oils.

My real food cleanse is the ultimate delicious, satisfying, science-supported anti-inflammatory antioxidant diet that promotes vitality, weight-loss, and so much more.

What Saturated Fat Isn’t: Case In Point 

Saturated fat isn’t unhealthy, doesn’t promote weight gain, nor is it something to be avoided or feared.

After everything I just explained, need I say more? 

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“Bacon and Eggs” background image: copyright Elena Photo