Saturated vs trans fat… is one good and one bad? Should we avoid one and eat the other? Or are they both bad?
Over the years we’ve been led on a merry dance with the information coming out concerning our diet. There is so much controversy between those addressing the health industry that it’s really very confusing. Why is this?
For years we have been advised by the “health authorities” that if we want to be healthy and lose weight, we must steer clear of fats found in foods such as butter, meat, coconuts and even chocolate! If we do a search online right now we find an enormous amount of “evidence” that these foods are doing us harm. Instead we should eat margarine and lean meats… and avoid coconuts and chocolate altogether.
I’d like to take a closer look at this “evidence” and let’s see.
For a scientific explanation on saturated fat go to Wikipedia as I’m not covering that in my article. An easy way to understand is that it’s solid at room temperature. Think butter. Think fat on meat. Think hardened coconut oil.
Many health authorities believe that when you eat foods containing saturated fat, it raises the cholesterol levels in your blood, and this in turn increases your risk of having a stroke or getting heart disease. But is this really so?
While in the more recent past we’ve had it drummed into us that eating saturated fat is bad for us, our ancestors lived their entire lives consuming it. Did they all put on weight or die of heart attacks, strokes and cancer? The reality is that all this is an epidemic of our modern day. How could this be?
You only have to go back about 100 years to find that heart attacks were virtually unknown, and very few were obese. All these conditions have come about in recent times, which means that there is something being done to cause this.
There are tribes living on this earth who consume up to 75% of their diet out of saturated fat, and are living long healthy lives. Even human breast milk contains 54% saturated fat. So is this telling us something?
For a scientific explanation on trans fat go to Wikipedia. Trans fats is the same as partially hydrogenated oils.
The kind of trans fats we are concerned with are those created during a process when hydrogen is added to a liquid vegetable oil to make it into a solid form. Think margarine. Margarine is made from a plant oil (liquid) and processed to a solid form.
Partially hydrogenated oils are greatly used within the food industry because:
- It’s cheap
- Easy to use
- Lasts a long time
- Good tasting
- Can be reused over and over
So with foods tasting better and lasting longer, you can see why it’s so popular.
Typically where these oils are used are:
- Fast Food outlets
- Makers of packaged and processed foods
- In home cooking
Type of foods that generally use these oils:
- Virtually everything!
- Deep fried foods such as fish and chips, chicken etc
- Cookies, Cakes, Pizza bases… the list goes on and on
Problems with Trans Fats:
- Your body can’t get rid of it
- Your body has a really hard time moving it through
Health Professionals have known for years now how trans fats clog the arteries and potentially result in heart attacks and strokes. A lot of us are quite familiar now with the term trans fats and would by choice opt for another way. But can we?
There is a strong move abroad to stop the use of trans fats in commercial fryers, and many have changed the type of oil they use now. This sounds good doesn’t it? But is it? The reason they made partially hydrogenated oils in the first place was because the oils, without being modified, give off an abundance of toxic by-products. But now, as they are gradually moving away from using trans fats, they have to replace it with something… and that something is to go back to using vegetable oils. This is a very scary thought!
All these oils, including canola, have multiple problems. To start with, some have been genetically modified ( GMO Foods to Avoid at all Costs ), then there’s the extraction processes using chemicals and solvents. Finally, because they are unstable, they are not suitable to be heated as they give off dangerous oxidation products. More reading: (Is Vegetable oil Bad For You?)
Did you know:
that the oils being promoted as the most healthy for us,
are some of the most chemically altered foods contained within our diets?
Vegetable oils, including canola,
are some of the most harmful foods you can eat.
So Don’t Be Confused Between Saturated Fats and Trans Fats
The main problem appears to be that most people are confused and put both saturated fat and trans fat into the same basket. In their mind, they both need to be avoided. Is this true?
As you can see from the above descriptions, they are both a totally different food source. Trans fats are man-made, while saturated fats are a food sourced from nature… fat on meats; in dairy; coconuts etc.
It’s quite obvious that we need to avoid the trans fats wherever possible. ( Best Healthy Choices for Fast Food ) Opt for healthier food choices by choosing not to eat anything that potentially would be cooked using partially hydrogenated oils.
But eating saturated fat and protein do not make you unhealthy or fat, in fact, we need to increase the amount we eat. We need a variety of fats which can be found in foods such as:
- Grass-fed meats
- Raw dairy (when you can get it)
- Organic pastured egg yolks (eat whole eggs)
- Raw grass-fed organic butter
- Coconuts and Coconut Oils
- Raw nuts and seeds (such as macadamia, almonds, pecans, brazil etc)
- Organic nut oils ( must never be heated)
All these foods contain a variety of good fats and we should try to incorporate as many as possible into our diet. In Australia, it’s against the law for dairy farmers to provide raw milk to the public. This is a very sad state of affairs. You need to be in the position of owning your own cow or goat to enjoy the many benefits provided from such milk.
When using oils:
When cooking, you are best to use only coconut oil. Most all other oils spoil under heat and become toxic.
Use Olive Oil for salads, veges, fish etc, but never heat.
The truth is that all foods that contain fat, contain a little of them all (except trans fat of-course!). It’s not a matter of eating one food to get saturated fat, and another food to receive polyunsaturated fat! They all contain a percentage of each fat. Even red meat which contains about 7% fat, 5% of it is unsaturated fat! That means, only 2% is saturated. In fact, the only food group that contains more saturated than unsaturated is dairy.
Don’t be frightened off by saturated or unsaturated, as both are good. Remember… it’s only the trans fat we need to avoid. Like GMO, avoid it at all costs, wherever possible. If you ask at a food outlet if they use trans fats, they may reply “Oh no! We only use canola!” Or something else similar. This is “out of the frying pan and into the fire! ”
Try to remember that no vegetable oil is good for you, especially once it’s been heated.
Nina Teicholz, an investigative journalist and writer of The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet said that in a test it was discovered that within a single piece of chicken, fried in vegetable oils, the chicken contained more than 100 dangerous oxidation products! That’s a little like saying “You want fries with that?” You get the chicken and 100 dangerous oxidation products to boot!
The Fats/Oils I Use
I never hesitate to use grass-fed, organic butter. I love the taste. If I use it for cooking I use it as is, but for table use I beat in some olive oil, or a good nut oil to make it spreadable.
My main oil used for cooking is coconut. I’m the coconut kid. Love it! Once again, I only buy the best. Must be organic and not refined; must be cold-pressed. Coconut oil is the only oil that it’s safe to re-use when frying.
You must purchase a high quality Olive Oil. Check your Olive Oil I love a light tasting Olive Oil but it has to be cold pressed etc and contain all those healthy benefits it’s renowned for. Never buy it in a clear bottle, and I never buy any oil that’s packaged in plastic. The oil draws into itself certain ingredients that the plastic is made of. That’s the last thing we need! In fact, that goes for anything oily… peanut butter for example.
Saturated vs trans fat… have I helped you to understand the difference? Can you now see why it’s trans fats you need to avoid and the importance of making sure you receive saturated fat in your diet? Let me know how you are managing to avoid those nasty trans fats… what measures do you take?
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