Saturated Fat Can Provide Protective Health Benefits


Eat this, not that. When it comes to food high in saturated fat, health experts have long recommended avoiding foods that contain a lot of fat, especially saturated fat. But  that may not be entirely true, according to research that's been around for decades, but overlooked by many health experts.

National Institutes of Health researcher Christopher Ramsden recently uncovered a 40-year old study that may eventually change public health perceptions about saturated fats. The study tracked about 10,000 people for about five years. And because it was done in a clinical setting, researchers had exact data for the meals, snacks, and foods the people ate. Researchers also looked at saturated fat consumption and its impact on overall health.

People who ate more saturated fats from milk, cheese, beef, and shortening, experienced fewer heart-related problems, than people who ate less saturated fat, but more vegetable oil. Additional research found that the group that consumed more vegetable oil and less saturated fat were twice as likely to have a heart attack.

This single study prompted Ramsden to look for additional research about saturated fats and its impact on cholesterol, heart health, and longevity. And you know what, he was able to uncover a handful of other peer-reviewed studies that replicate the findings. Pretty interesting.

Saturated fat isn't all bad. In fact, it's found in healthy foods like eggs, dairy products, red meats, nuts, seeds, butter, olives, and avocado. Healthy fats are even found in coconut oil and raw cacao. Health experts like Cleveland Clinic Dr. Mark Hyman believe saturated fat isn't the primary culprit for heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Excess sugar is likely more harmful and linked to a long list of chronic diseases than saturated fats.

All the different dietary advice out there can be confusing. But it doesn't have to be. Our team of professional chefs and President Michelle Tayler, RDN, have created hundreds of meals made from fresh ingredients to make cooking easier and help people eat healthier. You hungry? Check out the menu.