26 August 2013

The importance of saturated fats...

In the Western world, it’s pretty much accepted that saturated fat is the cause of heart disease. We are told to limit our consumption of salty, fatty and sugary foods but what they fail to mention is that most of the food they are talking about that contains these substances are highly refined.

In a recent TV program, well known British nutritionist Amanda Hamilton accepted the challenge to eat the 'typical' British diet, which is refined and high in saturated fats, salt and sugar, for one week. The results after 7 days were shocking. She gained 2kg (4lb) and her cholesterol reading shot up by 0.7 points. That's not all, her blood pressure increased as did her hear rate.

The underlying message of course was to eat a low fat diet because saturated fats will make you fat and ill.

On this note, let's take a quick look at the role of saturated fats.

Saturated fats are required for the production of energy and hormones, cellular membranes plus the protection of vital organs. The fats also play a major role in the signals sent between hormones.

Our body’s repair and rebuilding processes happens daily and without the right fuel (of which saturated fat is one) these processes won’t function properly.

So ok, we are told to eat a low fat diet, but if saturated fats are important, how do we maintain a balance without giving ourselves heart disease or high cholesterol?

The answer to this is simple; stick to real food. Real food contains everything human beings need to function optimally. The truth is; saturated fat is mainly found in animal products such as meat, cheese and butter but there are a few plant sources such as coconut oil. There has been a lot of research into coconut oil and how beneficial it is for health. It’s a saturated fat though right? Yes, it is as already mentioned, but when was the last time you heard anyone having a heart attack from consuming too much coconut oil?

Whilst it may not be a good idea to eat read meat every day, there is nothing wrong with eating it once a week couple with plenty of raw vegetables and a nice dressing made with lots of oil. There, I said it! Eat fat and enjoy!

All in all, it’s always best to be balanced when it comes to eating well. The importance here is to ensure we get enough saturated fat for our body to function because without it, you will be come ill.

Why should you believe me? One because the research is out there and second, when I stopped listening to the authorities on what I should be eating and began eating what felt good to me and yes, that includes eating lots of fat…my health flourished.

Why not challenge yourself. Eat a low fat diet for one month. After a month add coconut oil in. Cook with it, spread it on a cracker or toast and blend into smoothies and tune in to how you feel.

Let me know the outcome.