How would you like some bacon with your eggs? Why use olive oil when you have Lard? How about some real butter on your fish? Sounds absurd, but so did the personal computer in the 80’s. Saturated fat is making a comeback in the fitness community and the reasons why may shock you.
Ever since the 80’s we have been led to believe that saturated fats are evil. It is often believed that if you eat saturated fat, such as animal fat, your heart will explode and your waist will grow. So, if you want to stay healthy and fit, you should only consume plant-based fats such as vegetable oils and nuts, right? Not so fast.
Cultures from around the world have thrived on diets high in saturated fats for ages with far superior health than our own. Eskimo’s diets consist mainly of whale blubber, and yet they are not plagued by heart disease. The Samburu tribe in Kenya is known to consume up to 400 grams of animal fat daily. They too have very little fat related heart problems and do not suffer from weight problems. Even we Americans once had a diet that consisted of large amounts of animal fat. Guess what? We were more healthy and fit then than we are now! Why the bad rap?
A seven-country study, published in 1970, “supposedly” connected saturated fat to heart disease. The study, which was conducted by Ancel Keys, included the United States, Japan, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Finland, and the Netherlands over a five year period. However, in three of the observed countries, the results did not support this conclusion. Since the study has been published, scientists have questioned the conclusion of the study.
Even though Ancel’s study was not fully supported, the American Government promoted the correlation between saturated fat and heart disease as fact. Once the government made a stand on this issue, the general public bought into this belief without much resistance or thought. Media outlets and medical experts bombarded the public with the idea that saturated fat was to be avoided, further solidifying the potentially falsely bad reputation associated with it. Fortunately for us, modern science is helping to shed a new light on this issue.
Modern science now reveals that stearic acid, palmitic acid, and lauric acid, fatty acids commonly found in saturated fat, are beneficial to our bodies. Stearic acid, which has no effect on cholesterol, converts to the same monounsaturated fat found in olive oil when metabolized. Palmitic and Lauric acid raise your cholesterol, but they raise more good (HDL) cholesterol than bad (LDL). LDL cholesterol has been proven to build plaque in the arteries, while HDL cleans plaque out of arteries. It is for these reasons that science now suggests that HDL/LDL ratios, not saturated fat consumption, is the leading predictor of future heart disease.
For fitness enthusiast this does not mean you should consume large amounts of saturated fats. Fats still contain more calories per gram than carbohydrates or proteins. However, this does not mean that you have to avoid animal fat like the black plague. After all, studies have shown that saturated fat does increase testosterone levels, and higher testosterone levels are essential to build an impressive body.
To get Cut and Jacked eat a diet high in protein, cycle your carbohydrates, and restrict your fat intake. A majority of your meat consumption should be from lean sources such as chicken, turkey, egg whites, and fish. With that being said, do not be afraid to eat some whole free ranged eggs or steak from grass feed cows. Remember, you must create a diet that works for you, so don’t be afraid to experiment with your fat consumption. Saturated fat is simply another tool you can use to get ripped.
Written by: Erick Ruiz Salgaldo