Saturated Fats and Cholesterol

A saturated fat, by definition, is a type of fat in which all the fatty acids have a single hydrogen bond. An unsaturated fat has at least one double bond. This is the primary difference between saturated and unsaturated fats. Examples of saturated fat sources are beef, pork, lard, coconut, butter and cheese.

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in all the cells of the body. Contrary to popular belief, cholesterol is important to the normal functioning of the body. It is mainly used by the body to make vitamin D and hormones. Your body makes most of the cholesterol it needs, although a little also comes from the foods we eat.

There are generally two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). It is important to note that LDL and HDL are simply proteins involved in the transit of cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is wrongly referred to as ‘bad cholesterol’ as it builds up and clogs the arteries (when in excess), leading to heart problems. It should not be called bad cholesterol as you need a minimum amount for the normal functioning of the body. HDL cholesterol is referred to as ‘good cholesterol’ as it helps remove excess LDL cholesterol from the arteries.

The Diet-Heart Hypothesis

For decades, we have been told by health experts that saturated fats lead to heart disease. According to the experts, saturated fats raise LDL cholesterol levels; this ultimately leads to heart problems. This theory, which appeared in the 1950s, is dubbed the ‘Diet Heart Hypothesis / Lipid Hypothesis’.

This theory has never been scientifically verified, despite it being widely used by health specialists in dietary recommendations. Many studies that contradicted this hypothesis existed before it was published, but organisations with ulterior motives promoted the hypothesis anyway. These organisations, such as vegetable oil producers, considered profit before precious human life.

Thus, a lifetime of knowledge from the people of the ancient world was ignored. People significantly reduced the consumption of important foods like the coconut.

Were the people of old wrong? Is there scientific evidence that debunks this theory? Find out in the next article.

Sources/Additional Reading

1. The Role of Saturated Fat and Cholesterol on Heart Disease |
2. 13 Fatty Foods That are Surprisingly Healthy | Nutrition Secrets
3. Does New Study Demolish the Diet-Heart Hypothesis For Good? | People’s Pharmacy
4. New Science Destroys the Saturated Fat Myth |
5. An Epic Debunking of The Saturated Fat Myth | Authority Nutrition