We’ve been told for decades now that saturated fat is bad for you and is a leading cause of heart disease. Bacon, butter, steak … you know, all the things that people actually like to eat.
But just because those foods contain saturated fat doesn’t mean that eating them leads to accumulating saturated fat in your body.
And here is the latest evidence supporting that view: Saturated fat is making a comeback (original study is here – it contains a bunch of numbers and long words and stuff, so I skipped all that to deal with the conclusion and takeaways).
From the first link, here’s the dumbed down, non-jargon-laden version of the conclusion: “We conclude that avoidance of [saturated fatty acids] accumulation by reducing the intake of [carbohydrates] with high glycaemic index is more effective in the prevention of [cardiovascular disease] than reducing [saturated fatty acids] intake per se”
Translated into terms you and I can understand, and after unburying the lede, this means that to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, you should cut back on starches and sugars, and quit worrying so damn much about bacon and steak.
Because, apparently, eating saturated fat doesn’t necessarily lead to accumulating it. Our bodies process food and turn it into energy, and rebuild tissues, and depending on various metabolic and hormonal factors, store some of it as saturated fat. Where is the evidence that eating any substance at all leads directly to accumulating that same substance in your body?
Let’s think about this for a minute. Cows are vegetarian. They eat grasses and plants. Yet the steak and hamburger and other red meat that we get from cows contains saturated fat. Somehow, they produced it, even though they don’t eat any meat at all. Obviously, their bodies create this substance as a byproduct of digestion or some other physical process. What else could it be?
Same with human vegetarians, at least the type that eat zero meat, cheese, or eggs. Their bodies still have saturated fat in them. And apparently, according to the study above, the more carbs they eat, especially high-glycemic index carbs like potatoes and bread, the more saturated fat accumulates in their bodies. Which increases risk of cardiovascular disease.
Which seems pretty sensible to me, actually. I’m not clear on how dietary science ever decided to pursue the idea that consuming a substance as food would be the primary way that we accumulate that substance in our bodies. That sounds like sloppy thinking and junk science to me.