The effect of saturated fat on health is one of the most controversial issues in nutrition. Some experts warn about the dangers of consuming too much or even too much of these fats. However, others believe that saturated fats are not necessarily harmful and can be part of a healthy diet. In this article, we will get acquainted with saturated fats and the latest findings on their effect on health so that this blind alley may be opened.
Saturated fat at a glance
Fats are compounds that play an essential role in many aspects of human health. Fats are mainly divided into 3 categories: saturated fats, unsaturated fats (saturated fats) and trans fats.
All fats are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules. Saturated fats are saturated with hydrogen molecules and there is only one chain between their carbon molecules. However, in unsaturated fats, there are at least two chains between carbon molecules. Saturation of hydrogen molecules causes saturated fats to be solid at room temperature. In contrast, unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, are liquid at room temperature.
There are different types of saturated fats depending on the length of the carbon chain. There are different types of fatty acids with short, medium, long and very long chain lengths, each of which has different effects on health. Saturated fats are found in animal products such as milk, cheese and meat and some tropical oils such as coconut oil and palm oil.
Why do experts oppose the consumption of saturated fats?
Saturated fats are often referred to as harmful fats. Typically, these fats are placed next to trans fats, which cause many health problems. While the evidence for the harmful effects of saturated fats on health is very inconclusive, for decades health organizations around the world have recommended reducing the consumption of saturated fats and replacing them with highly processed vegetable oils such as canola oil to reduce the risk of heart disease. Find and be healthier.
Despite these recommendations and the reduction in the consumption of saturated fats, the incidence of heart disease, obesity and related diseases such as diabetes is regularly increasing. Some experts attribute this to high-carbohydrate diets and the consumption of processed foods. Many studies reject the recommendation not to consume saturated fats and replace them with vegetable oils and high-carbohydrate foods. All this information may mislead consumers.
Many experts disagree that a macronutrient alone can cause disease to progress. According to these experts, the whole diet is important in determining a person’s health.
Does Saturated Fat Cause Heart Disease?
One of the main reasons to recommend consuming saturated fats in the least amount is the fact that consuming saturated fats increases the likelihood of increasing some of the risk factors for heart disease such as bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Although saturated fat is known to increase some risk factors for heart disease, there is no evidence that saturated fat definitely increases the risk of heart disease.
A review of researchers’ research on the effect of saturated fat on heart health
Numerous studies have shown that consuming saturated fats may increase the risk factors for heart disease such as bad cholesterol (LDL) and apolipoprotein B. LDL carries cholesterol throughout the body. The higher the level of LDL particles, the more prone a person is to heart disease.
Apolipoprotein B is a protein and is a major component of LDL. This protein seems to be one of the strongest factors in the development of heart disease. Excessive consumption of saturated fat may increase these two risk factors for heart disease. Also, consuming these fats may increase the ratio of bad cholesterol to good cholesterol, which is another risk factor for heart disease.
Good cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein (HDL), protects the heart, and low levels may increase the risk of heart disease and cardiovascular problems. Although quality research shows a link between saturated fat intake and an increased risk of heart disease, research does not show a significant link between saturated fat intake and the incidence of heart disease.
In addition, findings from randomized controlled trials showed that the general recommendation to replace saturated fats with omega-6 polyunsaturated fats could not reduce the risk of heart disease and may even lead to the progression of these diseases.
At present, the findings are contradictory and may be misleading. In the future, more research is needed to address this issue. It is also important to keep in mind that there are different types of saturated fats, each with a different effect on health. The use of different saturated fatty acids in research is another problem.
Research on the effect of saturated fat on stroke
In addition, current research does not show a significant association between saturated fat intake and increased mortality or stroke; For example, a 2014 study of 32 studies of 659,298 people found no significant association between saturated fat intake and an increase in heart disease.
A 2018 study of 135,335 people from 18 countries participated for an average of 7.4 years, and found that consuming saturated fats could not be linked to heart attacks, heart disease, stroke or death from heart disease.
Are Saturated Fats Only Good For Heart Health? Investigate other negative effects of saturated fat
Although the effects of saturated fats on heart disease have been widely debated, saturated fats may have other negative health effects. These effects include increased inflammation and mental disorders. In a study of 12 women, a diet rich in saturated fats containing 89% palm oil increased the pro-inflammatory proteins of interleukin-1 beta and interleukin-6 against a diet high in unsaturated fat of hazelnut oil.
According to some evidence, saturated fats may cause inflammation by mimicking the activity of bacterial toxins called lipopolysaccharides, which strongly stimulate immune system behaviors. However, research in this area is still uncertain; For example, a 2017 study of randomized controlled trials found no significant association between saturated fat intake and inflammation.
In addition, some studies have suggested that saturated fat may have detrimental effects on mental function, appetite, and metabolism. However, human studies in this area are limited and the findings are inconclusive; Therefore, More research is needed to determine this potential link before making a definite decision.
Corollary: Is saturated fat unhealthy?
Although research shows that eating certain types of foods high in saturated fat may have a negative effect on health, this information cannot be generalized to all foods high in saturated fat; For example, a diet rich in saturated fats in the form of fast foods, fried foods, cooked foods containing sugar and processed meats is more effective than a diet high in saturated fats in high-fat dairy, beef (fed a variety of natural foods) and cod.
Another problem lies in the study of macronutrients alone and not the study of the diet as a whole. Whether or not saturated fats increase the risk of disease largely depends on what foods these fats have been substituted for or what foods are consumed instead, and the quality of the overall diet.
BIn other words, consuming a macronutrient alone cannot cause disease progression. Usually people do not consume fats or carbohydrates alone. Instead, these macronutrients are combined with other foods in the diet to form a combination of macronutrients. Focusing specifically on some macronutrients instead of the whole diet can ignore the effects of some of the ingredients in added foods, such as added sugar, which have negative health effects.
Lifestyle and genetic characteristics are one of the main risk factors that should be considered. Both of these factors have a proven effect on overall health, nutritional needs and the likelihood of disease. Clearly, the effects of diet on health alone are difficult to assess. BThese are obvious reasons why bigger, better-designed research needs to be done to separate some ideas from reality.
Can saturated fats be part of a healthy diet?
There is no doubt that foods high in saturated fats can be part of a healthy diet. Coconut products such as coconut oil, high-quality whole milk yogurt, and naturally nourished beef are some examples of nutritious foods that are high in saturated fats and may have a positive effect on health.
For example, a review shown Consumption of high-fat dairy products has either no effect on heart health or has a protective role against diseases. Coconut oil also helps increase good cholesterol and weight loss. On the other hand, eating processed foods high in saturated fat, including fast foods and fried foods, increases the risk of obesity, heart disease, and many other health problems.
Also, research has shown that eating patterns rich in natural and unprocessed foods, regardless of the composition of macronutrients consumed, prevents many diseases such as obesity and heart disease and reduces the risk factors for disease.
What decades of research have shown is that a healthy, disease-protective diet should be high in macronutrients, whole foods, especially foods high in fiber. Although it is clear that nutritious foods high in saturated fat can also be part of this healthy diet, Remember, regardless of your diet, the most important thing is to balance and choose natural foods.