Are ALL saturated fats good for you?
I had been under the impression for while that all saturated fats are good for you. But a lot of people seem to think that some saturated fats are beneficial and some have negative health effects. For example, I read that Palmitic acid is "extremely damaging" and is second only to trans fats in the amount of negative health effects it has. The problem is, I can't seem to find a list of these on the internet? and given that the majority of people still think saturated fats cause heart disease it's hard to find somebody who knows the truth about saturated fats and heart disease, but can give an unbiased opinion.
Palmitic acid, for example, is the major fatty acid in normal lung surfactant. Palmitic acid is also called the stem fatty because it is the de novo fatty acid made in the body from acetyl-CoA. Palmitic acid is the most common saturated fatty acid, with Butter, chicken (including the skin), cocoa butter, lard, and beef tallow all containing approximately 25 to 26 percent palmitic acid. Human breast milk is approximately 20-25% palmitic acid.
18 carbon monounsaturated fat is oleic acid, the dominant fat in olive oil - and the dominant fat in butter. The palmitic acid that man eats can end up as oleic because the liver and other tissues can convert palmitic acid into oleic acid - as needed - to maintain "desirable physiological balances."
All cell membranes contain fatty bi-layers. Overload on olive oil and your body will simply convert any excess monounsaturated fat into saturated palmitic or stearic acid.
So it seems illogical to think that it is "extremely damaging" considering human breast milk is 20-25% palmitic acid, it the stem fatty acid made by the body, and we convert excess carbohydrate, protein and monounsaturated fats into palmitic and stearic acid.
Now, given that we know now that high total cholesterol, and high LDL cholesterol are not strong indicators for heart disease, the fact that palmitic acid may or may not (depending on which fats it is consumed with) raise cholesterol is irrelevant. The only other negative health effect I can think of is it may slightly increase insulin resistance (again depending on many variables.) But to a healthy, active individual this isn't a problem, because a healthy active individual will already have high insulin sensitivity.
So, does anybody with any knowledge on the subject have an opinion on if any other saturated fats have negative health effects, or is it all out-of-date pseudoscience from the 70's and 80's?
Last edited by Lukey; 04-23-2013 at 03:34 AM.