During recent years there has been debate as to whether is saturated fat or in this case pork lard healthy? We used to use it for cooking, and today it is blamed for the large increase of heart patients.

Around 1930, obesity and heart disease were not even on the radar. They were rare and uninteresting to the public – through the 50s heart diseases have become a major killer to the present day. Even then, saturated fat and cholesterol are being blamed for the new situation, and in 1977 lard and bacon officially became a scapegoat.

The first text about corn oil appeared in 1930, at the time when soy arrives in the United States.

Between 1910 and 1970 consumption of animal fats has declined by 21%.

Consumption of polyunsaturated vegetable oils increased by 400% (counting margarine) and the consumption of processed foods and sugar jumped to 60%. How do we manage to blame the old food for a new disease?

This was done as saturated fats have been studied together along with trans fats, as if they were the same. However, the fact they physically looked the same was the only similarity that the two types of fat have. When today you search for “saturated fats” on Google, all you’ll find are thumbnails of fast food, processed meat, breaded and fried foods.

We know that in fast-food restaurants they use refined oils and margarines for frying – and that both contain trans fats.

what are saturated fats

What we should supposed to Google out when we search for “saturated fats” would be words like meat, coconut oil, eggs, bacon, and cheese.

It would be easier if we have always been skeptical of the studies in which they fed mice with cracklings or food from fast food restaurants, and on that basis conclude that saturated fats are harmful to humans.

An important and necessary “Saturated”

You have already seen that saturated fats are not always the same saturated fats. Toy train of 10 wagons and real train of 24 wagons are not the same. As fatty acids are shorter, they have more fluid at room temperature, the longer they are they become firmer. And these fatty acids are stable.

About 50% of fats which enter the cell material are saturated.

For us that stability means a lot. Fat you store in the body (which is good when is needed in moderate degree) is a saturated fat, because it is a clean source of energy and doesn’t spoil.

We already know this. Newly published meta-analyzes have once again proven that last decades of nutrition was indeed a period of dangerous misconception. This would no longer be the case – because the war against fat is completed, including the war against saturated fat.

The problem is that not all have heard that the war is over – and cardiologists will advertise oil from the past, and against diabetes they will recommend low-fat foods with inflammatory and unstable vegetable oils.

I hope that now you can begin to understand what is wrong with these messages and recommendations.


How much saturated fat should we use?

The current nutritional recommendations is that we should consume up to 25% of calories from fat. From that:

  • 50% of polyunsaturated fatty acids

  • 35% monounsaturated

  • 15% saturated

We started with about 53% of calories from fat in breast milk, and their composition in breast milk was as follows:

  • 15% of polyunsaturated fatty acids

  • 35% of monounsaturated

  • 50% from saturated

No matter to the fact that adults should limit fat to 25% of calories, nutrition officially agrees on the fact that parents shouldn’t limit intake of fat to children until their complete maturity. They find that 53% of calories from fat that babies begin life with, is from breast milk and it should be lowered slowly in following years to about 30% of calories from fat. This should be happening at a moderate pace and not to the attainment of growth, up until the age of 18.

As for adults – research of habits of western populations (which were made before the onset appearance of TV commercials and online research on rats), showed that the average fat intake was 30-43% of total calories. And this was the perfect balance of fatty acids:

  • 15% of polyunsaturated fatty acids

  • 35% of monounsaturated

  • 50% from saturated

So naturally we wanted to effect on 53% to fall to around 30-40%. But the ratio of different fatty acids have not changed in relation to the origins of life. Besides, the natural sources of fats and oils are not even allowed different percentages – since there were no any bottles of oil and boxes of margarine to spoil this relationship.

Traditional 30-43% is also more than the recommended 25%. Even the current research shows that we still yearn for that entry of around 40% – unfortunately for all the wrong sources of fats and oils.

Nutrition today which we mainly call “the healthiest for the heart” – Mediterranean – is a diet with around 40-45% of calories from fat, there is no polyunsaturated vegetable oils that are unstable, but monounsaturated olive oil.

Mediterranean diet

When you look up data of how westerners traditionally fed – we come to something mostly spontaneous, and that is up to 53% of calories which derive from breast milk that we started life, we bring down to around 30-40%.

Where will you be between the “official” 25%, 40% or Mediterranean LCHF-Al- 60% is actually your own affair, and personal choice. If you use stable fats for cooking and know that we were supposed to eat low-fat foods is a good way. Because there is not only one healthy diet way.

As you could see, the world of saturated fat is quite varied. The sad thing about it is that we learned nothing because of an erroneous slogan: “they are dangerous.” On the contrary – they are important! Wealth of functions and tastes offered by the world of real and natural fats and oils will never be able to find in a bottle of refined oil into the liquidizer or margarine box. There can be found only damage.

I do not know about you, but lard has find its way into my fridge!

Bojana is passionate about sharing experience, tips and tricks related to nutrition, fitness and beauty. She is all about hacking a way to a healthy lifestyle. Her daily routine is a cup of lemon water, yoga and meditation.