We’ve heard the story a thousand times before. Our doctors tell us to avoid saturated fat, citing the “fact” that it causes high cholesterol and, subsequently, heart disease. With heart disease being the leading cause of death in America (as of 2007), the supposed cause of it is obviously an important issue. Unfortunately, the world — and I’m not exaggerating here — has been led astray.
What is Saturated Fat?
Essentially, saturated fat is the fatty acid that occurs naturally in animals and animal products, such as beef, chicken, bacon (tasty, tasty bacon), eggs, and milk. A good indicator that what you’re eating is fat of the saturated variety is its state at room temperature; saturated fat is solid, whereas other fats (like mono- and polyunsaturated) are liquid.
So what’s the purpose of fat? Well, besides making food DELICIOUS, it has served as humanity’s main source of energy for the vast majority of our existence.
In the 1950s, a researcher by the name of Ancel Keys conducted a study called the “Seven Countries Study”. Basically, it looked at the saturated fat intake across seven countries and found that those same countries experienced high death rates due to heart disease. So, he took this “correlation” and ran with it.
What about the other countries? Well, despite having access to another 15 countries’ data, he chose to leave them out because they contradicted the conclusion he had made BEFORE conducting the study. That’s a classic case of bad science.
In any case, despite heaps of research going against his hypothesis, including whole societies that thrived (nearly disease-free) on high fat, low carb diets, his hypothesis still won out. Even to this day, there is still no established link between saturated fat and heart disease. From 1988 to 1999, the U.S. Surgeon General’s office undertook a project to finally prove this myth, but it collapsed after 11 years of sheer and utter failure.
What can we take from this? Well, for one, be a skeptic to what the medical establishment tells you. Unfortunately, the people who are in a position to give you “professional” medical advice can be just as misinformed as anyone else.
More importantly, eat meat! Eat eggs! Eat milk, heavy cream — it’s all good. What you should be avoiding is pro-inflammatory food, mainly grains, processed food (including margarine), and vegetable oils rich in Omega-6.
In A Nutshell
We’ve been duped — saturated fat is good for us. Eat it.