The nation’s top nutrition panel–the one that influences everything from what the government endorses (think food pyramid) to what most physicians recommend to their patients–has had a recent change of heart. Beyond lifting the restriction on cholesterol intake, there are also suggestions, from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly ADA), to “deemphasize” saturated fat as a “nutrient of concern” stating that “carbohydrate contributes a greater amount to the risk for cardiovascular disease than saturated fat, so the replacement of carbohydrate will necessarily result in a greater improvement in risk.”*
What it Means To Be Saturated
Molecules of saturated fat have all their binding sites bound. Unsaturated fatty acids have one (mono) or more (poly) of their sites receptive to binding. This makes unsaturated fats, especially the polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), more reactive since these receptive sites attract molecules to bind with them. Exposure to light, heat, and air can cause PUFAs to go rogue. With the binding of oxygen (oxidation) to PUFAs, free radicals are let loose in the body and can cause DNA damage, inflammation, atherosclerosis (plaque in arteries), and possibly even cancer.
Natural saturated fat (from coconut and animal sources including eggs and dairy) is, by its very nature, stable and it has served humans well for thousands of years. Being an important part of our cell membranes, saturated fat integrates into our tissues and is especially prominent in the brain and nervous system. By providing building material for hormones and supplying beneficial fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2; natural saturated fat is supportive of optimal functioning.
For quite some time, a heart healthy diet meant replacing natural saturated fat with processed, altered, and unstable fats and oils. Thankfully, more and more studies are exonerating the most stablest of fats from guilt related to heart disease. In fact, many health care practitioners now see it as a scapegoat rather than a menace. The true culprit is the high intake of hydrogenated oils, trans fats, omega 6 polyunsaturated oils, margarines, sugar, and saturated fat from animals raised in factory farm settings. To me, it is just common sense that saturated fat, as it’s found in nature, is going be better than any unnatural processed fat.
The monounsaturated fats (avocado, macadamia, olive oil) fall between saturated fat and PUFAs on the stability scale. Unlikely as it seems, there is a consensus among rival “what is healthy” camps that monounsaturated fats are beneficial. Healthy for the heart, anti-inflammatory, and nutrient dense, this is the best “fat” bet for anyone with existing cardiovascular disease or a strong genetic predisposition, as with familial hypercholesterolemia. To protect stability, proper storage is essential (dark bottle with a secure lid).
Because the fat we eat gets incorporated into our cell membranes, it’s important to be selective. Cellular integrity is compromised when we consume highly processed, altered, unnatural, and unstable fats. What our cells need and what they know how to use is fat as it occurs in nature.
Want stable cell membranes and optimal health? Eat stable fat!
Low carb muffin/biscuit made with almond butter, eggs…
… and little else, provides a simple foundation for making Better-Fat-Burner muffins–add fruit, cocoa nibs, spices, stevia, or a bit of honey. I prefer to eat mine plain, like I would a biscuit, slathered with butter (from grass-fed cows) and straight from the oven.
Prep: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Use a fork to mix 1 cup of almond butter with 4 free-ranged eggs, a TSP of baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Place liners in muffin tin, spoon in batter (it will rise). Bake for 15 minutes or until an inserted knife/toothpick comes out clean.
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