Is Saturated Fat Healthy?

It’s probably the one thing that prevents people from fully buying into the Primal Blueprint. Almost anyone can agree with the basic tenets – eating more vegetables, choosing only clean, organic meats, and getting plenty of sleep and exercise is fairly acceptable to the mainstream notion of good nutrition. The concept of Grok and a lifestyle based on evolutionary biology can be a harder sell, but anyone who’s familiar with (and accepts) the basics of human evolution tends to agree (whether they follow through and adopt the lifestyle is another question), at least intellectually. But saturated fat? People have this weird conditioned response to the very phrase. “But what about all that saturated fat? Aren’t you worried about clogging up your arteries?” In fact, “saturated fat” isn’t just that; it’s often “artery-clogging saturated fat.” Hell, a Google search for that exact phrase in quotations produces tens of thousands of entries. Most doctors toe the company line and roundly condemn it, while the media generally follows suit. The public, unsurprisingly, laps it up from birth. The result is a deeply ingrained systemic assumption that saturated fat is evil, bad, dangerous, and sinful, a preconceived notion that precludes any meaningful dialogue from taking place. Everyone “knows” that saturated fat clogs your arteries—that’s treated as a given—and attempting to even question that assumption gets you lumped in the crazy category. After all, if you start from such a “fundamentally incorrect position,” how can the rest of your argument be trusted? What is Saturated Fat, Exactly? A fatty acid molecule is typically an arrangement of carbon and hydrogen atoms. Saturated fats have two main characteristics: All or most of the carbon-hydrogen bonds are single bonds All available carbon bonds are paired with hydrogen atoms This makes saturated fats highly stable and resistant to oxidation and rancidity, even when heated. That’s why our bodies tend to build cellular membranes with a significant portion of saturated fats. They provide stability and a strong foundation. Saturated fat is also a fantastic source of energy, at least if you trust your body to make the right decision—otherwise, why else would we store excess carbohydrates as saturated body fat? In fact, when we burn body fat for energy, either through exercise or through dieting, we are quite literally consuming huge amounts of saturated (and monounsaturated) fat. Body fat is energy to be used for later; dietary fat is energy to be used immediately or stored for later. Losing weight is like eating pure lard, which has nearly the same fatty acid composition as human adipose tissue. To vilify saturated fat is to assume that, over the span of our evolution, our bodies have somehow developed a predilection for a deleterious energy source that contributes to cardiovascular disease. Does Saturated Fat Cause Heart Disease? It should be a simple thing to show, right? Populations that eat the most saturated fat should have the most heart attacks. But this isn’t the case. Let’s look at a few. The Tokelau Islanders The … Continue reading Is Saturated Fat Healthy?