For the past 30 years, saturated fats have had a bad reputation. Undeserved. There is recent strong evidence that replacing saturated fats with carbohydrates doesn’t protect from heart disease at all. It may actually increase your risk.
Back in the 1970’s, the United States government made its very first recommendation to “eat less fat and cholesterol, and more carbohydrates.” Saturated fats were simply labeled as “bad” and unsaturated fats as “good.” Eating red beef became a hazard to your health and passing the butter caused worried looks across the dinner table. Kids were sent to school with wonder bread with a swipe of reduced-fat peanut butter. A breakfast of eggs and bacon was replaced with a heaping bowl of puffed cereal each morning.
Since then, obesity rates have skyrocketed and heart disease still lingers as the leading cause of death in the United States.
In my honest opinion, it shouldn’t take 30 years of research evidence to prove that saturated fat, mostly sourced from animal meats and some plant products such as coconut oil, isn’t bad for you. We have been eating it for thousands and thousands of years. Some fat is vital for our survival. Maybe it’s not just the fat itself that has been causing so many health problems? We should ask ourselves: What’s new in our modern human lives? Chronic stress? A sedentary lifestyle? Refined grains? I think we should look at what has changed since thousands of years ago. Sure, maybe that’s a simple way to look at it, but I think balance and moderation is the ultimate key to health, and most whole foods found in nature aren’t going to be the cause of your demise.
So, how to achieve balance and moderation?
- Make unsaturated fats a bigger portion of your fat intake (olive oil, fish, nuts, seeds).
- Make saturated fats a smaller portion of your fat intake (red meat, butter, cheese).
- Make trans fats (still deemed as evil) no part of your fat intake by avoiding processed foods.
- Avoid most reduced-fat products, as food manufacturers typically replace fat with carbohydrates (sugar, refined grains, etc.) that spike insulin levels and can increase risk of heart disease.
- Move your feet. Go outside, breathe in some fresh air, and get your blood moving.