Sunday, April 29, 2012

Common Sense and the Myth of 'Artery-Clogging Saturated Fat'

Organic real butter and pork lard are both staples in my kitchen. But I also do a lot of cooking, particularly scrambling my morning eggs, with coconut oil.

Organic coconut oil is a healthy, delicious real food that is made almost entirely of saturated fat. One tablespoon gets its entire 120 calories from fat. Of those 14 grams of fat, 12 are saturated.

One serving has "60 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance" for saturated fat. Most people assume that the USDA's Recommended Daily Allowances are based on some type of clinical research. In actuality, they are pretty much pulled out of thin air based on the agency's goal of selling agricultural products. That is why you are told to eat six to 11 servings of grain per day, which will probably give you type 2 diabetes.

That saturated fat is what causes professional busy bodies like the Center for Science in the Public Interest to freak out over the coconut oil in products like movie theater popcorn. Part of the problem is that people still cling to the myth that fat in your diet becomes fat on your body, despite the fact that fat storage is primarily regulated by hormones. The other persistent myth is that saturated fat will clog your arteries and kill you because it is solid at "room temperature." Ironically, people making this claim will often point to solid fats like Crisco and margarine that are actually full of hydrogenated vegetable oils as evidence that natural saturated fat is bad for you. 

This coconut oil was certainly solid when I took it out of the pantry,

Since I've been avoiding vegetable oils and eating a lot of natural saturated fat I've seen a dramatic improvement in my cholesterol ratios. The idea that fat will travel directly from your digestive system to your arteries where it will sit around and clog them up is based on a very dumbed-down view of how the body operates. And even if it was that simple, it would still defy common sense.

The temperature this afternoon was in the high 80s; about 10 degrees cooler than inside a human being's arteries. So I left a jar of coconut oil sitting on my back patio for a couple hours. It might have been solid at the "room temperature" in my pantry, but the high 80s was enough heat to make it totally liquid. Meanwhile, the day that the blood in your body reaches a "room temperature" in the 70s is the day that you will never again worry about what to eat anyway.


  1. Good to see an article like this one. Most mention of saturated fat in the media is by university trained health experts who learned that saturated fats raise cholesterol levels causing arteries to clog. Apparently, the current system of academic instruction has been shaped by the food manufacturing industry; most notably the edible oils sector.

    1. Exactly. The USDA supports, and is often controlled by, big ag like Monsanto, ADM, etc. Meanwhile, most groups like the American Heart Association and the American Dietetic Association are directly funded by processed food companies like cereal and soda manufacturers along with pharmaceutical companies.

      There is a lot of money to be made from sick people eating processed junk and popping pills that just address the symptoms of the problems their diet causes. You can't make those kind of profits off healthy people eating real food, since real foods aren't a "value-added product."

      Research requires funding, and almost all the funding for our current health research is coming from people who profit from feeding patented medications and processed junk made from subsidized crops to people with chronic medical problems

    2. Research doesn't REALLY require "special" or "mega-buck" funding, HOWEVER... research done without special interest group funding is largely ignored, pooh-poohed and even demonized.

      Life Extension Foundation does a LOT of research, some of it funded through memberships and sales of supplements.

  2. I now believe that undiagnosed pre-diabetes and insulin spikes from over consumption of refined carbohydrates is the real result of all heart problems that are not genetic. The body builds up a resistance to insulin over the years and the blood sugar spikes after meals in a way that is often missed from the medical industry's 'fasting glucose' test that only measures blood sugar after 8+ hours of not eating.