I’ve been reading a lot about how saturated fat is the cause of cardiac conditions. Is this true?
Let’s do a quick backtrack on how this misconception about saturated fat came about.
Years ago, a scientist named Ancel Keys published a study on saturated fat and its ill-effects. He started off with examining 22 countries; but by the time the study was published, some of the countries and findings were junked just to “fit” his hypothesis. So, the entire study was misinterpreted, showing findings of only seven countries.
He is pretty much the reason why wholesome, natural eggs were replaced by sugary cereals for breakfast. Ancel Keys was on the cover of Time magazine in 1961.
Fifty three years later, in 2014, Time magazine, ran a cover story with the headline: ‘Eat butter: Scientists labelled fat as the enemy. Why they were wrong’.
Here are a few reasons why you need to eat more good fats daily – and who needs it the most:
1. Fat has an insulin-blunting effect. Simply put, it makes your body more sensitive to insulin. So if you have conditions such as diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance or pre-diabetes, you should aim to improve the ratio of fats to carbohydrates in your diet.
2. Fat has a strong influence on the hormones in your body. So, if you have issues such as PCOD, endometriosis or decreased libido, you should aim to have 40-50 per cent of your calories from fat until your hormones are in balance once again.
3. Good fat is one of the best foods for your gut health. The right kind of fat is anti-inflammatory, so it has the power to heal an inflamed gut drastically. If you are struggling with acidity, bloating or constipation, starting your day with a tablespoon of fat is one of the best morning rituals you can follow.
4. Fat also allows for better absorption of some very powerful antioxidants such as Vitamin A, D, E and K. So those with very low vitamin D levels must increase the amount of fat they consume.
Rashi Chowdhary is a nutritionist, diabetes educator and creator of The Protein Bake Shop