If you’ve followed the entire Facts on Fat Series, you know that we’ve covered a lot of ground. And much of what we have known about fats is incorrect. I imagine it will take a long time for the general public to assimilate this new information. We’ve been told for so long to avoid fat that it can be difficult to shift your thinking. Yet with knew knowledge comes new powers. Here’s a summary of this series so far:
Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) are considered to be our essential or healing fats. These fats cannot be made by the human body. They only come from fats and so are missing in a fat-free diet.
Why We Need Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFAs)
Continuing the Facts on Fats series, let’s look at monounsaturated fats, or MUFAs. We talked about these earlier when discussing saturated fats. You may recall that long chain saturated fats – which include beef, mutton, pork, dairy, and cocoa butter – are converted into monounsaturated fatty acids in the liver. The monounsaturated fats get their name from the bond between two carbons in the chain that is a double bond.
Cholesterol, though much-maligned in recent years, is actually beneficial and in fact essential to a healthy body! With all the talk about bad cholesterol and about the need to lower our blood cholesterol levels, you might find that sentence surprising. If you think about it, though, it makes sense. Why would our bodies naturally make something that was bad for us?
This is the second in a series of blog posts meant to provide the real facts on fats. Today I want to talk about the much maligned saturated fats. Saturated fats include animal fats and tropical oils. Your first thought about saturated fats, especially animal fats, is that they are bad for you and to be avoided. That’s what we’ve been told, right? Beef, butter, milk, eggs, cheese, bacon, etc are all bad for us. They all clog your articles, hardened your arteries, send your cholesterol levels sky high, and result in weight gain.
For several years I have pondered this one question: “How is it possible that Americans are gaining weight and heart disease is on the rise in spite of the fact that we’ve been cutting down our fat intake?” After all, that’s what we were told, right? The more fat we eat, the more weight we gain and the higher the risk of heart disease. So if we’re all cutting back on fat, why are we, as a nation, getting fatter?