Saturated fats: what’s the go?
Given that quite a few of our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge recipes contain saturated fats – such as coconut oil, butter and cheese – we thought it would be FANTASTIC for Healthy Mummy nutritionist Elisha Danine to shed light on saturated fats… and how they can impact our body, especially when it comes to sustainable, healthy weight loss and weight maintenance.
Here’s what Elisha has to say…
What you need to know about saturated fats and weight loss
Fats are macronutrients. This means they are nutrients that we consume in large amounts and they give us energy.
Of the 3 macronutrients – proteins, carbohydrates and fats – fats have the least impact on blood glucose levels and therefore, on insulin production. Insulin is a fat storage hormone, so it’s best to keep it in check.
No link between saturated fat and heart disease
Many recent studies have found that saturated fat is not the evil nutrient it has been portrayed to be. These studies revealed that there really is no link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease.
This includes a review of 21 studies with a total of 347,747 participants, published in 2010. The conclusion: there is absolutely no association between saturated fat and heart disease.
Another review published in 2014 looked at data from 76 studies (both observational studies and controlled trials) with a total of 643,226 participants.
They found no link between saturated fat and heart disease. This means that saturated fats can still be consumed in a healthy diet, in equal if not higher quantities than other macronutrients.
Crazy for coconuts
Coconut is a food that we consume fairly regularly at The Healthy Mummy – coconut oil, coconut flakes, etc. Around 50 per cent of the saturated fat in coconut comes from Medium Chain Triglycerides (also known as MCTs).
The benefits of MCTs as opposed to other types of saturated fats include the following:
- MCTs are more rapidly absorbed by the body and more quickly metabolised (burned) as fuel.
- MCTs are very efficiently converted into fuel for immediate use by organs and muscles.
- MCTs have anti-aging properties such as promoting the development of ketones, which is good for the ageing brain.
An interesting study
In a study involving a group of obese women on a restricted diet, researchers noted that insulin profiles improved when MCTs comprised 24 per cent of total consumed calories i.e. almost a quarter of their daily calories were comprised of MCTs.
MCTs have also been shown to suppress appetite. Which is great for anyone attempting to lower their intake of total calories.
In one 14 day study, six healthy male volunteers were allowed unlimited access to one of three diets: a low MCT diet, a medium MCT diet, and a high MCT diet. Caloric consumption was significantly lower on the high MCT diet. The researchers noted that substituting MCTs for other fats in a high-fat diet “can limit the excess energy intakes and weight gain produced by high-fat, energy-dense diets”.
The moral of the story is that you don’t need to be afraid of saturated fats (especially when consumed from natural, wholesome sources).
You should be more wary of manufactured and highly processed fats such as margarine, canola oil and vegetable oil…and avoid processed foods (think takeaway burgers, deep fried chips and potato scallops).
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***BLOG NUTRITIONIST CREDENTIALS: The information in this blog was supplied by Elisha Danine – Nutritionist – BHlthSci(ComplMed), AdvDipNutMed.***