We have been told that fats are bad and should be avoided, however, a recent study says otherwise. According to this study, saturated fats have a positive relation with longer lifespans, if what this study says holds any weight, then the mainstream concept of saturated fats is really going to need revising.
This study was published in The Lancet and was conducted by the PURE (Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology). It conducted a study with around 135,000 people spread across 21 countries, they participated by answering questionnaires in order to gather data on their dietary habits for the past 7 years. The questionnaire collected a variety of data, including information on what number of people succumbed to death due to heart disease, strokes, and more. The study focused on the intake of three kinds of fats:
- Saturated fats
- Mono-saturated fats
- Polyunsaturated fats
Based on the data that was gathered, regardless of what kind of fat was consumed, a higher consumption lead to a decrease in lifespan, however, more consumption of saturated fats also linked to lesser chances of experiencing a stroke.
Saturated fats have earned a bad reputation for themselves due to their linkage with higher cholesterol levels, however, there is not enough evidence to set this claim in stone. According to some sources, saturated fats are incredibly bad for you, however, other sources claim that saturated fats obtained from dairy sources are actually capable of lowering your chances of cardiovascular diseases, while obtaining saturated fats from meat based sources increases the likelihood of cardiovascular disease.
If you take a look at what the USDA and American Heart Association have to say about saturated fats, you will see that they recommend a very miniscule consumption of saturated fats per day. Basically every authoritative source on this topic advises you to stay away from saturated fats, which leads to the question that how exactly can these fats be good for you?
According to the study, saturated fats have the ability to lower mortality rates as long as they are not consumed by nourished or over nourished populations. For example, providing a mal-nourished population with diary and meat based foods will greatly decrease the amount of diseases in the area and also decrease the amount of deaths caused by mal-nourishment, effectively reducing the area’s mortality rate. However, the same diet could have an opposite effect on nourished populations as it will introduce too many nutrients into their body.
To sum up, this study only provides us with a bit of insight on what saturated fats are capable of doing and whether they should be consumed or not, unfortunately for all those meat lovers out there, you will still feel a pang of guilt as you chomp down on your favourite meat dish. What we can say is that the effects of saturated fats on our health vary from region to region based on our dietary choices, level of activity, and other factors as well, so what the USDA says about saturated fats in the US may not apply to other countries.