Have you ever wondered why many doctors and nutritionists point out on the elimination of saturated fats from our diet? Are they truly so bad for us that they can harm our health in the long term?
Well, these types of fats have always been an arguable matter when it comes to medicine, health, nutrition and weight gain. Therefore, for years they have had a bad picture among the people. That is probably so because of their structure.
From the chemical aspect, saturated fats are fat molecules which are entirely hydrogenated. And these molecules are very hard to break up. With this structure, it is easy for them to get stored in our bodies. And then, they stay there for a long time until our bodies use them when necessary. For this reason, people connect them to several different health problems.
Keep reading and find out about their negative effects, benefits, recommended daily intake and substitution.
Negative Effects Of Consuming Saturated Fats
Although saturated fats provide a significant amount of energy, the bad thing about these types of fats is that they are considered as unhealthy. When stored in the body, they give us even more energy than proteins and carbs. Because of this, they can hold to the body as cholesterol, and this is why we connect them to different diseases such as:
- Heart diseases – consuming saturated fats in large amounts may increase (low-density lipoprotein) blood cholesterol levels. When this happens, the risk of heart diseases appears.
- Cancer – some research shows that a high intake of these fats may be the reason for developing a prostate, breast, and colon cancer.
Moreover, excessive intake of saturated fats also makes you gain weight and may lead to obesity.
Recent Research Lacks Evidence That Saturated Fats Are Harmful
It is true that saturated fats have had a bad picture among doctors, patients, and people who struggle with obesity or weight gain for years. So, people started avoiding them. However, the most recent research shows that saturated fats are not as harmful as initially believed. On the contrary, according to latest research consuming them carries many benefits:
- Strengthening the immune system – they play an important role when it comes to our immune system. They protect it from bacteria and viruses. Lack of saturated fats may result in deteriorating of our health.
- Improving the brain function – the brain is mainly made of cholesterol and saturated fats. Thus, if we have a low intake of them, our brain will not function properly.
- Making our bones stronger – these fats also have the function to take in the Calcium into our bones. It helps our bones to be stronger.
- Preventing heart problems – when it comes to cardiovascular health, they play an important role. Their consumption helps to regulate the level of cholesterol which makes them beneficial for our heart.
- Keeping our lungs healthy – the content of the surfactant of the lungs is 100 % made of saturated fats. Therefore it keeps them healthy and makes our breathing easier.
- Protecting the liver – these type of fats also keep our liver safe from all the medications we take in as well as from the alcohol we drink.
From what you`ve read so far you are probably confused and hesitate to believe it. Now you may wonder if you should consume saturated fats or not. I would say that saturated fats should not be excluded from our diet. However, you should not consume them in high amounts. It is up to you!
Recommended Daily Intake And Substitution
The recommended daily intake of saturated fats will certainly depend on the amount of calorie intake. Every person is different, and they consume a different amount of calories every day. For example, if a woman takes in 2000 calories on a daily basis, then about 120 calories should come from these fats.
There are saturated fats in:
- dairy products (milk, cheese, butter)
- tropical plants (coconut)
- oils (coconut oil)
- meat (red meat)
Moreover, if you want to limit the intake of saturated fats I am suggesting some other alternatives you can choose to eat:
- Whole grains products
- Low-fat dairy products
- Fruits and vegetables
- Lean Meat
If you choose to continue consuming these fats, make sure they are not processed and come from whole foods sources.
Saturated fats are an essential type of fats which provide our body with energy to function properly. For a very long time, they were considered to have harmful effects on our health, but that was a misconception. According to recent studies, saturated fats have numerous health benefits. They are essential for proper function of our immune system, our brain, and heart, as well as our lungs and liver.
However, I would recommend that you don’t consume them excessively and stick to the recommended daily intake. If you prefer to limit eating the foods that contain saturated fats, simply take in the above-mentioned alternatives.