February 25, 2015 at 3:38 pm #3276
Lately I’ve heard some buzz about possible benefits of saturated fat – specifically butter. Is butter really not so bad after all?March 5, 2015 at 11:21 pm #3484
It is important to remember that there are different sources of saturated fat, such as dairy, beef, nuts and seeds, and oils. Consuming saturated fats from fish, nuts, and oils, the sources of saturated fat typically found in the Mediterranean diet, have shown to improve insulin sensitivity in people who are pre-hypertensive (1). Not only have fat from these sources been found to be beneficial, but dairy fats, such as milk, butter, or cream have also been found to be beneficial as well. In Sweden a prospective cohort study was performed where they followed people who consumed a low intake of diary fat and those who consumed high amounts of dairy fats. It was found that those who had a high intake of diary fats were less likely to have central body obesity as opposed to those who had low dairy fats who ended up being more likely to have central body obesity (2). Even though there are benefits to saturated fat there are also negative effects of consuming saturated fat such as increasing LDL blood cholesterol levels (3). The Institute of Medicine did not set a tolerable upper limit of intake on saturated fat because any consumption does raise LDL (3). There are benefits to consuming saturated fats and downsides to consuming saturated fat, just be sure to moderately consume saturated fat.
1. GADGIL M, APPEL L, YEUNG E, ANDERSON C, SACKS F, MILLER III E. The Effects of Carbohydrate, Unsaturated Fat, and Protein Intake on Measures of Insulin Sensitivity. Diabetes Care [serial online]. May 2013;36(5):1132-1137. Available from: Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed February 4, 2015.
2. Holmberg S, Thelin A. High dairy fat intake related to less central obesity: A male cohort study with 12 years’ follow-up. Scandinavian Journal Of Primary Health Care [serial online]. June 2013;31(2):89-94. Available from: Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed March 5, 2015.
3. Trumbo P, Shimakawa T. Tolerable upper intake levels for trans fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Nutrition Reviews [serial online]. May 2011;69(5):270-278. Available from: Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed March 5, 2015.March 10, 2015 at 12:26 am #3504
Thanks for your reply Jacob. I agree with you that the source of saturated fat matters. I appreciate the study you mentioned regarding saturated fat and central body obesity. In many cases it seems you need to pick your poison. The studies I’ve seen seem to go back and forth and generally conclude that “more research” needs to be conducted to make absolute conclusions. For example, one study conducted in 1999 suggested that differentiating between stearic acid and other saturated fats was most likely unnecessary since a typical diet contained a pretty equal mix of all types of saturated fat (1).
1. Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Manson JE, et al. Dietary saturated fats and their food sources in relation to the risk of coronary heart disease in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999. 70(6): 1001-8.
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