Saturated fat is often referred to as "Bad Fat", sited as the culprit for raising total and LDL cholesterol levels and contributing to the development of heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) and many other health organizations recommend restricting saturated fat to less than 10% of total calories in order to avoid high cholesterol and heart disease. These guidelines call for limiting intake of and/or avoiding animal products (meats, eggs, high fat dairy) and highly saturated plant fats (palm, palm kernal and coconut oils, coconut products). But are all of these recommendations really necessary? Is saturated fat really as bad as it's been made out to be?
A meta-analysis study published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that there is no significant evidence linking saturated fat with increased risk for heart disease. So why has saturated fat gotten such a bad reputation? Credit several flawed and misinterpretted studies, dating back to Ancel Key's work in the 1950's, and multi-billion dollar vegetable oil and drug industries.
Saturated fat is - a neutral, sometimes beneificial body substance.
Saturated fat is NOT - the cause of, or a risk factor for heart disease.
Here's a list of real culprits:
- Trans-fats - artificially hydrogenated oils
- Refined vegetable oils - high in omega-6 fatty acids (soybean, corn, cottonseed, etc., oils)
- Refined sugars - high fructose corn syrup, etc.
- Refined carbohydrates (flour, pasta, rice, cereals, etc.)
- Lack of physical activity/exercise
- Excessive stress