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Healthy Eating- Saturated fats

18 November 2013

Conventional medicine stated that consumption of saturated fats was bad for our health. It was recommended to cut back on saturated fat intake due to the concerns that it raises the risk of heart disease. But is this really the only cause?

In exploring this topic, another question comes to mind specifically: what are saturated fats?
Saturated fat consists of a chain of carbon atoms with every individual carbon atom saturated with hydrogen atoms. Most saturated fats come mainly from animal sources, including meat and dairy products. In addition, some plants contain saturated fats such as palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil. These oils are naturally greasy or waxy solids with a stable shelf life and high resistance to heat exposure.

The main demise of the saturated fat controversy is that it raises the LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol. But LDL is just one of many biomarkers that can lead to arterial damage. In addition, saturated fats also raise the HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol. Thus, the combination is relatively neutral for heart disease risk, according to Dariush Mozaffarian– an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. In his recent research, he discovered that people who consumed the highest levels of saturated fats had about the same risks of heart disease as people who consumed the least.

Looking more in depth, saturated fats are essential for our bodies. In particular:

Saturated fats are an integral part of every single cell membrane in our bodies in proportion of at least 50%;
Saturated fats are required in order to properly digest and assimilate those all-important fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E and K;
Saturated fats are required for the adequate use of protein;
Saturated fats are a tremendous source of energy;
Saturated fats enables us to feel full for longer;
Saturated fats are key players in managing inflammation in your body (Some fats help your body inflame when necessary, other fats help your body to ‘anti-inflame’).

But this is only part of the full story. In order to have a healthy lifestyle it is important to have a balanced dietAs a rule of thumb, a 1:1:1 ratio of saturated fats, monounsaturated fats (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) is desired.

MUFA are found in natural foods such as red meat, dairy products, nuts and high fat fruits such as olives and avocado. In this respect, olive oil has the highest content of monounsaturated fat (75%). MUFA have a neutral effect on blood cholesterol lipids.

PUFA are essential fatty acids consisting mainly of omega-3 and omega-6. MUFA lower the LDL cholesterol and increase the HDL cholesterol. They are extremely important to incorporate in your diet, since the body cannot ‘create’ this type of fatty acids on its own. However, eating PUFA in excess lowers HDL cholesterol.
Thus, saturated fats are an import component of a healthy and balanced diet as they provide us with massive amounts of energy and health benefits to improve our hormone balance and metabolism.

In conclusion, the key to a healthy diet losing weight is not about not eating saturated fat. It is about eating it in balanced proportion, respecting the 1:1:1 ratio with MUFA and PUFA! As a recommendation to include saturated fats in daily diets, try using the right oil for you in cooking! Learn more about this here .


Blog & News

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Today, we are surrounded by numerous certifications on the products we buy at supermarkets. It is getting more and more confusing to figure out what exactly most of them stand for. Some labels are self-explanatory and some are not. Fair for Life Social and FairTrade certification belongs to the second category. Therefore, most of the consumers do not even realize that while they purchase Fair for Life or FairTrade certified products they contribute to the empowerment of poor around the world

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When people hear about palm oil the first thing that usually comes to their mind is heart disease. The logic is pretty simple: fifty per cent of the oil consists of saturated fat that supposed to be bad for the heart, therefore, palm oil causes heart disease. However, numerous studies continue to confirm that palm oil does not promote heart problems and, if anything, it protects against them

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