Consider the 1960s study of the nomadic Masai people, whose diet consists mostly of fat, about half of which is saturated. These people are generally lean and with healthy cholesterol counts. They are not somehow invincible to obesity and high cholesterol; instances where Masai men began to eat a modern diet quickly resulted in a sharp rise in cholesterol numbers.
Researchers have continued to search for proof that saturated fat is linked to death from heart attack, and they continue to come up short. In 2000 a group of renowned scientists analyzed 27 studies that included more than 18,000 participants. Known as the Cochrane Collaboration, the group discovered that diets low in saturated fat did not seem to lower overall mortality rates or deaths caused by cardiac arrest. Dr. Lee Harper, who led the study, said, "I was disappointed that we didn't find something more definitive."
Saturated fat should not be thought of as a villain but as a natural substance the body uses for many purposes. For instance:
– Your body cannot use calcium without some saturated fat being present.
– Saturated fats also help us utilize the essential omega-3 fatty acids.
– They protect the liver and improve its function.
– Cell membranes require saturated fat to retain their proper form.
Of course, this doesn't mean you should be shoveling the butter in by the pound. The theory of moderation in all things still rings true, saturated fat included. But if you are severely limiting your intake of saturated fat for health reasons, you may want to reconsider your approach. Saturated fat can be a part of a healthy, natural diet.
Frank's comment (2015-02-26): You just have to wonder why the link to the last reference leads to the message "The page you were looking for appears to have been moved, deleted or does not exist." – censorship maybe???
About the author
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer, specializing in articles about health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent common illnesses.