First it was butter who got “nexted” for tubs of margarine.
….Until we found out the trans fats in these chemically made ‘fauxtters’ as I like to call them are far worse for us.
Then we thought of the great idea to put this brilliant ingredient olestra into our potato chips so that all that greasy fat wasn’t absorbed in the body.
…until the only “WOW” was found in your under-roos when olestra was found to cause cramps, gas, and loose bowels. YUM-O.
And we even went as far to skip the food route altogether and invent a pill that will block the fat ALL the foods we ate. Hand over the Thin Mints. Mama’s got a sleeve to kill!
….until you read the side effects panel and discovered that wearing dark pants and diapers was recommended since uncontrolled and sudden oily stools were pretty much guaranteed with every bottle!
Hmmm.. Call me a genius but it seems that every attempt to make fat the enemy lead to more health problems and a boom in ‘Depends’ sales. Were we really ready to trade in a stick of butter for a pair of diapers in the name of losing weight?
For the longest time fats have been demonized in the food world. Anything that was labeled “low-fat” or “fat-free” was awarded the golden halo of health while anything that was palatable with more than a gram of fat was sent to weight loss limbo since it made people gain weight just looking at it. Right?
So long sweet ice cream. And Avocados. And peanut butter. Wait WHAT?! NO PEANUT BUTTER?!?
If you’ve been anywhere other than an “I can’t believe it’s not butter” commercial you have probably heard that fats and especially saturated fats have been released from purgatory. Like it was on death row for the past two decades and has now just been found innocent. Good call.
Yes, everywhere from Time, Fitness, Today Show, and countless others have claimed that saturated fat is no longer the enemy, but rather our carb and sugar heavy diets that lead to obesity and heart disease.
So that leads to the question of this post. Is saturated fat healthy or unhealthy?
Before we go ringing that bell, let’s get a couple things straight. Fats share the same playing field when it comes to the diet as proteins and carbohydrates do. They all have their strengths, their weaknesses, and their place in the diet.
Fats do a lot for our bodies. It’s essential we eat fats. Without them we’d be one unhappy and nutrient deprived group of people. Just some of their roles in the body include:
-Absorption & transportation of vitamins and minerals
-Satiety, or feeling “full” longer
-Stabilizing blood sugar levels
– Building blocks of cell membranes
And most of all they just taste damn good.
But before you go grabbing a stick of butter for your afternoon snack there are some things to consider when it comes to fats as well. Like I said, each food group has it’s pro’s and con’s so let’s even the playing field here.
Fat is still high in calories.
Healthy or not fat is still the highest in calories out of the macronutrients (9 calories per gram as opposed to 4 calories per gram in protein and carbs). That means they pack a lot of calories in a small amount of food.
Take this for an example.
The same amount of butter (mostly fats) has about 25% more calories than the same amount of hummus (mostly carbs & some protein).
Now again I’m not saying these calories are bad or good but rather there are just more of them in fats so it is easy to get carried away, eat more calories than you think your eating, and blame fats for making you fat.
The research is still new.
Now remember, studies twenty years ago showed far different things than are discovered today. And the same will be for twenty years from now. While I don’t think fats are the downfall of all humanity, I still don’t think they hold more importance in the diet than protein or carbs. And the research, while proving to be substantial is still relatively new. Who knows, maybe somewhere down the line researchers will find out that coconut oil causes lung cancer or quinoa leads to rickets. All I’m saying is that new research is happening all the time and new findings occur as time goes on.
Which leads to my stance on the whole question,
Survey says, no. At least not in my opinion. (remember I’m a genius though) It all goes back to the common dietitian catch phrase.
You think it would catch on by now. I still think that Michael Pollan said it best.
We should eat a diet moderate in fat, protein, and carbohydrates. There is always going to be a new diet, a new study, a new super food. There’s always going to be changes. If you can roll with the tides and follow a balanced diet, I bet your bottom butter it’s going to be okay.
-Eat fruits and vegetables. Lots of vegetables.
-Include carbs, proteins, fats at every meal.
-Limit intake of processed foods/sugars.
-AKA eat real food.
-Move your body everyday.
This post has been brought to you fueled by some healthfully addictive VTPB for this week’s edition of the VTPBlog!
Make it a great day!
What’s your thoughts on saturated fat?
What’s your favorite “fatty” food? Peanut butter, der. Or ice cream. Peanut butter ice cream, I die.
**Disclaimer: This post is on behalf of my role as official blogger for the Vermont Peanut Butter Company. No further compensation was provided. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.