Why Saturated Fat Is Your Friend Not Your Foe


Foods such as butter, cheese and cream are high in saturated fat.

Saturated Fat has received unnecessary bad press over the last few decades. This bad press is associated with the levels of LDL (Bad Cholesterol) in the blood and the high calorie content of fatty foods. Too much LDL cholesterol may lead to an accumulation of fat deposits in the arteries and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

There are 2 types of cholesterol:

1. LDL (Bad Cholesterol) - Transports fat from the liver to the other organs throughout the body

2. HDL (Good Cholesterol) - Transports fat in the opposite direction towards the liver for disposal

So where does Saturated fat tie in…? High levels of saturated fat in the blood is associated with an increase in risk of coronary heart disease. If a blood sample registers a high level of cholesterol, most doctors will rush to their pads and prescribe you with cholesterol lowering drugs such as statins.

If only there was a way to solve the cholesterol problem without turning to a drug with the following common side effects:

- Nosebleeds

- Sore throat

- Headaches

- Nausea

- Digestive Issues (diarrhoea) - Muscle and Joint pain

High cholesterol levels can be avoided through a well formulated diet, so what would you do? The obvious answer would be to restrict fat in the diet. Right? Science says otherwise…

A Research study that assessed people over an 8 year period shows that when dietary fat is restricted, there is no change in the risk of cardiovascular disease. So cutting out cheese, cream and butter doesn't seem to have the beneficial effect you think it does.

Not How much... How big?

Research suggests that it is not the amount of LDL cholesterol that is harmful but the size of the LDL particle.

LDL particles range in size. The smaller the LDL particle, the more dangerous it is, as it is more likely to penetrate the arterial wall than a large particle.

A diet low in carbohydrate and high in fat consistently and significantly increases the size of your LDL particles. Having more small LDL particles is associated with increased risk for heart disease.

Therefore the size of the LDL particle, not the amount of LDL, is the most important factor to take into account when assessing risk of heart disease.

How does fat end up in the blood?

The average person has 10g of glucose circulating in their blood. A single meal from a “balanced diet” (such as a bowl of pasta) can easily contain over 100g of carbohydrate. Which is 10x higher than resting blood glucose levels. Therefore, your body needs to dispose of this excess incoming carbohydrate to maintain normal blood glucose levels. The body has 3 options:

1. The carbohydrate can be used as fuel for exercise

2. The carbohydrate can be stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver

3. The carbohydrate can be converted and stored as body fat

High level of carbohydrate

If exercise isn't an immediate option some of this carbohydrate is stored as glycogen. However glycogen stores have a maximum storage limit.

Therefore, when glycogen stores are full or carbohydrate intake greatly exceeds the blood glucose level, the body has to turn to option number 3.

This excess carbohydrate is converted into fat. Mainly Saturated Fat.

This fat is then transported by the cholesterol particle (LDL) and released into the blood, resulting in an increase in the amount of fat in the blood.

What happens when you restrict carbs and not fat?

In multiple controlled research studies, when carbohydrate is restricted and fat intake is increased, levels of saturated fat in the blood actually decrease. This happens even though the low carbohydrate diets used in these studies contained 2-3 times more saturated fat than a typical Low fat diet.

This is because a diet low in carbohydrate and high in fat results in an increase in the body's ability to burn fat.

When an individual is adapted to a high fat diet, the body can burn up to twice as much fat per minute than an individual following a low fat diet.

Research shows that a low fat diet can reduce levels of saturated fat in the blood by 19%.

However, this 19% figure is dwarfed when compared to a low carbohydrate diet, levels of saturated fat in the blood decline by 51%.

Research clearly shows that there is no correlation with saturated fat intake in the diet and saturated fat in the blood.

When we eat high levels of carbohydrate, insulin levels increase. Insulin is a storage hormone and a high level of insulin stops the fat burning process and stimulates fat storage. However, when we reduce our carbohydrate intake, fat can then comes out of storage, and become the body’s primary fuel.

Are You Fed Up of Feeling Hungry And Restricted On A Diet?

If you are looking for someone who specialises in weight loss in solihull, leave a message on the CW Nutrition contact page and see how you can change your lifestyle in a sustainable and scientific way.