For decades, many scientists and the media have been waging a war against fat.
The idea that fat caused harm was never based on any facts and has now been proven to be completely false.
But yet this bias against perfectly healthy foods lingers on… foods that have been demonized for the sole reason that they are naturally high in saturated fats.
Here are 4 foods that were considered “dangerous” due to their fat content, but are actually extremely healthy.
Many people today believe meat to be unhealthy… but this is absolute nonsense.
Humans evolved as omnivores, eating both meat and plants. Ancient humans started hunting as early as 2 million years ago.
When you look past all the vegan and anti-fat propaganda, what you’re left with is a real food with a range of nutrients that are very important for human health.
The only problem is that meat is not what it used to be.
Back in the day, animals roamed free in nature and ate a natural diet. Chickens ate bugs and seeds, while cows ate grass.
These days, animals are often fed commercial grain-based feeds, pumped full of hormones and antibiotics to make them grow faster and locked inside all their lives.
Meat from animals that are naturally raised is much healthier.
If we take cows as an example, meat from cows that are grass-fed has (1, 2, 3):
- More Omega-3 fatty acids and less Omega-6.
- More Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) – which can reduce body fat mass in humans.
- More Vitamins, including Vitamins A and E.
Meat is also a great source of protein and healthy fats. Plus there are tons of other nutrients in animal foods that you can’t really get from plants… Vitamins K2, D3, B12, Creatine, Carnosine and many, many more.
In a massive 2010 study of 1,212,380 individuals, consumption of unprocessed red meat had absolutely no association with heart disease or diabetes (4).
Bottom Line: Despite the fear mongering, meat is a perfectly healthy food. Just make sure to choose the good stuff… meat from grass-fed/pastured animals is best.
Butter has been demonized in the past and blamed for everything from heart disease to obesity.
But the truth is that butter is perfectly healthy, as long as you choose the right type.
Make sure that your butter is derived from grass-fed cows, because this can have a major impact on the nutrient composition.
One important nutrient mainly found in grass-fed dairy products is Vitamin K2, which is very important for both bone and heart health (5,6, 7).
Another nutrient in butter is the short-chain fatty acid byturate. In rats, butyrate boosts metabolism and reduces food intake. In humans, some studies show anti-inflammatory activity and a protective effect on the digestive system (8, 9, 10).
Butter is also rich in Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) – a fatty acid shown in some studies to reduce body fat and increase lean mass (11).
Despite all the propaganda, high-fat dairy products have never been proven to cause any sort of harm.
A recent review of 16 studies shows that butter consumption is not associated with any metabolic disease and actually correlates with alower risk of obesity (12).
Bottom Line: Butter is very healthy if it comes from grass-fed cows. It is a real, traditional food with unique nutrients that are very important for health.
Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet.
Just think about it… an egg contains all the nutrients required to turn a single cell into an entire baby chicken.
The reason eggs have been demonized in the past is because they contain lots of cholesterol.
However, new studies show that cholesterol in the diet doesn’t really raise the bad cholesterol in the blood.
If anything, eggs improve the blood lipid profile… they raise HDL and turn the LDL particles into a benign subtype (13, 14, 15).
In a massive meta-analysis of 17 studies, they found no association between egg consumption and either heart disease or stroke (16).
Please keep in mind that throwing the yolks away is a major waste.Pretty much all the nutrients reside in the yolk.
One large egg contains (17):
- Only 77 calories, with 5 grams of fat and 6 grams of quality protein.
- Lots of vitamins: A, B12, B2 and B5, among others.
- Tons of minerals: Phosphorus, iron, selenium, to name a few.
- Eggs also contain plenty of Choline – a nutrient that 90% of Americans aren’t getting enough of and is very important for brain function.
Eggs are also loaded with the antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthine, which are very important for eye health. One study shows that eating 1.3 egg yolks per day increases blood levels of Lutein by 28-50% and Zeaxanthine by 114-142% (18).
Eggs for breakfast may also help you lose weight. Two studies have shown that people who eat eggs for breakfast lose more weight than people who eat bagels, despite eating the same amount of calories (19,20).
Eggs are among the healthiest foods on the planet, just make sure to choose pastured or omega-3 enriched eggs. I eat 3-4 whole eggs myself, every single day.
Bottom Line: There is no reason to be afraid of eating eggs. They are incredibly nutritious and studies show that they can improve health in many ways.
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a rather unique type of fat.
It is about 90% saturated, primarily with fatty acids of a medium length… so-called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs).
These types of fats are metabolized differently than longer chain fats. They go straight to the liver, where they are either used for energy or turned into ketone bodies.
MCTs can therefore be considered more “immediate” sources of energy.
About half of the fatty acids in coconut oil is the 12-carbon Lauric Acid, which is an efficient killer of pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi (21, 22, 23).
Coconut oil may also be good for your heart.
In a study of overweight women, coconut oil increased HDL and lowered the LDL:HDL ratio compared to Soybean oil (24).
In rats, virgin coconut oil reduced Total cholesterol, LDL, oxidized LDL and increased HDL (the good) cholesterol (25).
The MCTs in coconut oil may also help you lose weight. These fats are metabolized differently, leading to a net increase in energy expenditure. Replacing longer chain fats with MCTs can improve satiety and reduce food intake (26, 27, 28).
Because of its high saturated fat content, coconut oil is very resistant to high heat and is therefore a perfect oil for cooking.
Make sure to avoid processed or refined varieties and choose virgin coconut oil.
Take Home Message
There is absolutely no reason to fear these foods, as long as you choosequality sources.