Last Updated on 6 September 2020 by Ray Plumlee
Fats (all kinds of fats) have been generalized unfairly as bad for the health but not all fats necessarily cause diseases. In fact, some fats can even contribute to preventing certain illnesses. Simply put, there are fats that are bad for the health and there are other fats that are actually good for the body.
Recent years have already proved that diets restricting all fats actually fail when it comes to weight loss. And true enough, since after World War II, experts have begun telling Americans that only saturated fats, such as butters, need to be restricted from their diets. But low-fat diets for losing weight caused nearly two-thirds of adult Americans to be classified as overweight. And today, more and more children are becoming overweight in the USA. Obviously, there’s something wrong.
A common cause of our health problems is eating too much fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, but we actually need certain kinds of good fats in our regular diets in order to prevent obesity.
You, like me, probably grew up being advised that saturated fats are bad fats while vegetable oils are good fats; however, studies now reveal that the truth is the opposite. Diets with moderate to high amounts of “good” saturated fats or oils such as olive oil and coconut oil are actually good for the body. In fact, dieters who added at least 4 tablespoons of pure coconut oil to their meals every day, realized that it’s easier to lose weight this way than being on a total fat-restricted diet.
At times, too, adding these healthy oils can help with certain health problems. For instance, they help in raising good cholesterol levels while lowering bad cholesterol and also blood pressure as well as blood glucose.
The bad guys really are the polyunsaturated oil types of fats that contain long-chain toxic fatty acids (aka LCTs). Polyunsaturated oils such as grocery-bought vegetable oils including corn, soy, rapeseed, cottonseed, and safflower—all store fats in the body. These oils do not help lower cholesterol as you avoid healthy saturated oils, but instead they store the oils in your liver. More so, free radicals easily damage and oxidize these oils (i.e. they become rancid after being cooked, even if you store them in the refrigerator.) They damage our body at its cellular level, leading to health issues like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and hypothyroidism. These oils also lower our bodies’ metabolic rate, suppress proper thyroid functioning, and cause quicker skin aging aside from leading us to pack even more fat weight.
And now let’s talk about trans-fats. Trans-fats are among the worst kinds of fats. They often appear as hydrogenated vegetable oils and/or partially hydrogenated oils on food ingredient labels. These are vegetable oils that are made into hard fats such as vegetable shortening and margarines. They are often used in processed/prepared baked goods such crackers, cookies, grocery pastries, and most kinds of supermarket peanut butter in order to prolong shelf-life.
Also, these bad fats are almost exclusively used in fast food chain meals that are deep-fried. On the other hand when cooked and eaten, they disable the body from processing these chemically-created fats, therefore increasing bad cholesterols in the bloodstream, while decreasing the good ones. Trans-fatty acids are especially linked to diabetes, heart disease, and cancers so as much as possible, avoid foods with margarine and shortening, as well as any foods containing them.
By January 2006, the United States FDA has finally required food products to indicate the amount of trans-fats, in their food labels. What is disturbing though is that today, over 40 percent of the products in supermarkets have trans-fats in them! What’s even worse is that even most grocery meats are also filled with pesticides, drugs, and hormones which all get transported to our bodies when we eat them!
The fatty acid chains found in olive oil and coconut oil are classified as MCTs or medium-chain fatty acids and they help promote weight loss via increasing our body’s metabolism for releasing energy. Lately, coconut oil has become a popular type of saturated healthy fat, because it has been found to be the richest natural source of MTC.
In case you want to add pure coconut oil to your diet, then purchasing virgin coconut oil (VCO) is most highly recommended because VCO comes from only the best parts of a coconut, and it has not been heat-processed nor chemically bleached. You can usually find VCO in most grocery and health food stores.
VCO is even better for cooking compared to olive oil, because the heat of cooking can damage olive oil, thus making it akin to the other types of unhealthy vegetable oils for the body.
Finally, saturated fats from animal meat or eggs are not really as bad as they were once conceived to be, more specifically if they come from free-range/grass-fed organically raised animals. (Still, flesh and fats from non-organic animal meats remain somewhat dangerous for the body.) The same goes for healthy organic butter which is high in CLA or conjugated linoleic acid. CLAs help the body lose weight, at the same time gain more muscles.
Organically produced dairy products, meats, poultry, eggs, etc. always give us a much better, healthier alternative to getting our body’s daily needs for protein and saturated fats. Our bodies need these healthy foods for proper functioning, and they should be eaten daily though in correct proportion with the other healthy, nutritious foods.
You can now forget the guilt and fry up that free-range chicken in virgin coconut oil and still be healthy and able to lose weight!