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How BAD is saturated fat?

Updated: Oct 26, 2021

Does anyone remember the 'low fat' craze? It was everywhere especially in the 1980s and 1990s. Maybe you even still feel you should buy the lower fat option now?


It must be better for us right?


WELL.


No. In fact.


Fat is NOT bad. Let's just recap on what we need fat for in our bodies:

  • provides us with energy

  • helps make and balance hormones

  • forms our cell membranes

  • forms our brain and nervous system

  • helps us absorb and transport fat soluble vitamins (K, A, D and E - now, now, I know they're not listed alphabetically, but this is the way I remember them alright?!)

  • provides us with the essential fatty acids (omega 3 and omega 6) - we can't make them ourselves and have to get them from our food


So, unless you are a FREAK OF NATURE NOT MADE UP OF HUMAN - then you need fat.


What we see with the 1980s and 1990s 'low fat' craze was naaaaaaat good (and this craze hit mainly countries with the standard Western diet). People did not get healthier, or slimmer. Weight and metabolic diseases continued to increase.


Looking at the rest of the world still enjoying their typical diets: avocaodos and coconuts and full-fat dairy and blubber and fatty meats and oily fishes and olive oils. And their health - and weight - stayed pretty darn good. Lean. Less cardiovascular disease.


This is why. When we went LO FAT, this is what happened to our diets:

  • substituting with more 'low-fat' foods increased the amount of processed food in our diet

  • solely BAD foods were focused on, rather than overall nutritional quality

  • less satisfaction and satiety in meals

  • more added sugar and salt in food to make up for the lack of fat

  • focusing unduly on just one macronutrient instead of the complex biosocialpyschological nature of food

Really, when we consider our diets - and this would help many of us, not just in our fat intake - we should be considering not just WHAT we eat.


We should be considering how we eat, why we eat, where we eat and with whom. Our food fits into our whole life pattern, which has complex social, cultural and environmental influences.


Does the type of fat we eat matter?


Well yes, but if we look at it in the context of favouring more whole, nutritionally dense food eaten slowly and enjoyed, and being mindful of reducing processed food, probably not so much.


Some special considerations for fat intake:

  • how active are you?

  • how much do you prefer to eat?

  • certain health conditions affecting your gall bladder and pancreas

Because - when we tend to the bigger picture, the smaller details tend to take care of themselves.


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