Click on this: Saturated Fat is Not Bad For Your Brain, and You’ve Been Lied to.
Studies in the 50’s and 60’s showed a correlation between saturated fat consumption and clogging of our arteries. But, correlation is not necessarily causal. Suppose that every time I sneeze, the stock market takes a jump up– perfect correlation, but my sneezing is not causal. Similarly, the most common source of errors in studies is finding correlations and assuming them to be causal.
One flaw in the 50 year old studies was that partially hydrogenated coconut oil was used in some flawed studies. It is now widely known that the hydrogenation process produces trans fats, and these are known to cause inflammation of the arteries, which then leads to plaque deposits or clogging. If you see the word “hydrogenated” on a package, partially or not, avoid it like the plague.
So, what’s the deal with saturated fat? IF you have inflammation, you are more likely to have clogging from saturated fat than not, but it is not necessarily causal. Consider this sentence: If you have epilepsy, you are more likely to fall down when wearing Sportsman’s sneakers than not, but it isn’t the sneakers that are causing the fall, it is the epilepsy. Similarly, I believe that it is the inflammation that is causing the clogging with the saturated fat, but not the saturated fat necessarily. Still, I don’t wantonly eat saturated fats. Too much of a good thing can be bad.
Moreover, a nurse that I know, who takes care of elderly people in an old-age home, gave some of her patients coconut oil, perhaps a TBSP/day in their morning oatmeal. Most of the patients, all of whom were suffering from dementia (some Alzheimer’s), showed a cognitive improvement in only a few days, using vocabulary they hadn’t used in months.
So, do you throw out your olive oil and rush out and buy coconut oil? I wouldn’t. But, I would occasionally use coconut oil in place of butter in a recipe or for frying something. Moderation is probably the sensible thing to consider. I also consider what our primitive ancestors ate– meat, vegetables, and occasional fruit, and they had to work physically hard to get it, to survive. Modern carbohydrates– sugar, flour, grains, potatoes, corn, were NOT part of the primitive diet. In fact, carbohydrates were likely rare, with most sources being green vegetation. Ancient fruits were small, seasonal, and sought by birds and other animals, hence rare treats. So, one can assume that the caveman’s diet was largely animal fat and protein (Paleo Diet), with a fair amount of fiber from greens. When in doubt, consider what role evolution played in our health and diets.
Olives and coconuts were natural; hydrogenated oils were not. Neither was sugar, flour, rice or corn– wild corn was more like a grain cluster than the cultivated, bred, and now genetically modified corn we have now. Perhaps it is our modern changes to our diets that are at the cause of much obesity and health problems, with lack of exercise being the final nails in our coffins…