BY MORGAN GILL
A quick google search of “Are saturated fats bad for you” will pull up about 39,500,000 results. If it took you 5 minutes to skim through each article, it would take approximately 375.8 years to read them all.
I can guarantee you that your results at the end would be inconclusive because America’s soybean industry has pushed the “vegetable oils are better for you” propaganda on us since the 1970’s based on research and ridiculous claims from one flawed research study of saturated fat causing heart disease. Yet, the research done on tropical oils and the health benefits, the links to longevity, disease-prevention, and vitality have been buried 8 feet deep in the research files.
It’s strange how in the 1970’s, when all food companies, restaurants and grocery stores made the switch to vegetable oils, that all types of heart disease, cancer, and obesity spiked to never before seen levels.. It’s strange that it continued to grow with the development of fast-food that relies mainly on vegetable oil to fry, cook, and preserve their items.
Just a little too strange.
Trans-fat was chemically created as a profitable oil that allowed for longer shelf-life for all processed-food.
The fact is, trans-fat was created in a lab.
Our bodies don’t process it, and it gets immediately stored as fat, while also disrupting the other healthy cells in your body because of this foreign, unknown molecule. This molecule is such a disrupter in the body that it actually steals electrons from other healthy atoms, creating free-radicals in the body.
Free-radicals have been linked to almost all types of disease and researchers think they may be the actual cause of aging in the body. They are destructive and will ruin as many cells as possible when left unchecked by antioxidants that add an electron back to make them healthy again.
We all have free-radicals in the body because they are created when your body undergoes stress. However, even exercising is a stressor on the body. The difference is, the benefits of exercising outweigh the free-radical creation because our body adapts and begins to produce more antioxidants that will prevent aging and free-radical formation long-term.
However, it’s when we load our body with more free-radicals than antioxidants that we have a problem. This is where diet comes in.
What you eat will ultimately determine whether you’re helping your body to heal itself and live longer and stronger, or if you’re speeding up the aging process.
Yes, the food you eat could be aging your heart, organs, skin and bones.
It’s not your fault. You’ve been told to eat this way.
The fact is, it’s more profitable for the American economy to shove vegetable oil created by our own farmers down our throats than it is to import tropical oils from other countries.
Officially, trans-fat has been banned by the FDA. However, food companies found a loop in the hole in which they rename the trans-fat "partially-hydrogenated oil." Most food companies use this.
Just check your peanut butter. If it’s not organic, I can almost guarantee they use some type of partially-hydrogenated oil. Why? It saves them money. Longer shelf live = less spoilage = less money lost for big companies.
Are they worried about your health? No.
In actuality, since they are created with heat (anything put under stress and heat creates free-radicals) they already contain free-radicals when you consume them. Not only that, but these vegetable oils are often combined with sugar, loads of carbs, and preservatives to make seemingly healthy “low-fat, low-calorie snacks.”
Where is the good in that type of food? Are you getting your antioxidants, polyphenols, healthy natural fats, and nutrients such as magnesium and calcium that’s important for total body function from that? If so, it’s probably injected, along with all the other nasty free-radical causing ingredients. So that basically negates the effects of the good stuff.
In my opinion, after much research, most processed foods contain some type of added sugar, partially-hydrogenated oil, or preservative.
I personally have cut out most all processed-foods that contain these ingredients in my diet.
When I eat out at restaurants, I have no control over what they put in the food, so I limit this to once or twice a week.
(I aim for one cheat meal a week, but using the 80/20 method is solid too. Eat right 80% of the week, and 20% is allowed for indulgence of favorite foods that may not be in line with your health goals. So if you have 3 meals a day for a week, this is a total of 21 times you are eating. Eat right for 80% of those, and you’re left with 4 meals that can be substituted for something not as healthy, but don’t make all 4 meals a cheat dinner. Eating good for your smaller meals, then eating unhealthy for your larger ones will not serve you well. This is why I save one night a week for one cheat dinner meal, and let my other 20 meals be something that actually serves my goal.)
So now you’re wondering -- if I cut out these processed foods and quit using vegetable oil (like margarine (fake) butter, canola, safflower, sunflower, or grape seed oil. Please, I beg of you, don’t use grape seed) -- what am I to use?
Welcome the superfoods coconut oil and palm kernel oil : Two tropical oils deemed as unhealthy by the government back in the 70’s that actually were keeping people healthy.
In short, these saturated fats are filled to the brim with MCT’s. These fully-hydrogenated oils mean that the oil isn’t missing a hydrogen. This is natural in nature (which means your body can process this)!
The most exciting part is that the majority of coconut oil is made of Medium Chain Triglycerides, which break down into Medium Chain Fatty Acids, which - Hallelujah - don’t get stored as fat in the body.
Yes, it’s the only type of fat that doesn’t get stored as fat.
How? Your body is actually really good at utilizing MCFA’s for energy, so they bi-pass digestion and make a beeline for the liver to get processed as immediate energy!
Cold-pressed coconut oil and palm kernel oil also don’t go bad on the shelf, have much less free-radical formation than all other oils (almost none, as they actually contain antioxidants that destroy any free-radicals in their oil) and most often, are created via-cold press. So, no heat involved = less free-radical formation, which results in more healthy nutrients and antioxidants for your body.
You can use coconut oil to cook with at 350 degrees or less. (A little higher if you use refined coconut oil, but this process extracts some of the nutrients out, so I use virgin, unrefined). I cook my eggs, my chicken, my sauteed vegetables, and more with coconut oil! It’s super yummy, and I feel so much better cooking my food with oil that’s not hurting my body.
There are actually tons of health benefits in addition to just direct energy utilization, and I recommend reading the book The Coconut Oil Miracle by Bruce Fife if you’re interested in all the benefits, science and more behind this amazing oil. It’s actually an easy read, and very informative and life-changing!
I barely scraped the surface today, so I highly recommend you read it. You can purchase it on amazon, here.
I am not a health professional, and everything is this article is meant to be taken as mere opinionated advice, friend to friend. Not as a prescription, or clinical advice.
Morgan Gill is a Clinical Exercise Physiology major at Mississippi State University. She's multi-passionate, running a business while also pursuing other dreams. Her fitness has always remained a priority. Her workouts consist mostly of consistent weight training mixed with runs, yoga, and HIIT.