The saturated fat debate is quite a point of interest among dieters, dietitians, other health practitioners, and really anyone caring about what they eat. In the eighties and nineties, there was a lot going on in terms of fads. In terms of health, it was generally accepted that fats of all kinds were bad and should be avoided at all costs. Hence, the low-fat this and low-fat that products that sprung up everyone in the market. When this fat is bad era was in full swing, the fat had to be replaced with something in the diet. And it was often replaced with refined carbohydrates and sugar, which dont actually help one lose weight or reduce heart disease risk. It actually does the opposite.
So, really. What are saturated fats and should I be eating them or not?
Ill enunciate on this time and time again, but theres no quick fix to the body of your dreams. We are each knit together individually, with unique body shapes and sizes. All perfect and all healthy in our own ways. Im a big believer in avoiding good and bad food categorizations. I think it brings a negative approach to food, which should be a beautiful and positive thing as its food that is designed to nourish our bodies, which consequently gives us the energy to accomplish everyday tasks like working.thinking..moving. Things we do everyday. Not to mention savoring.loving..enjoying. Food should be a point of enjoyment as well. It doesnt need to be taken so seriously. My life goal is to do just that.make sure that as an RDN, I make sure to enjoy food and love food. Not to only analyze it and treat is as a mathematical equation.
All this to say, butter doesnt need to always be considered bad. I eat butter, and I enjoy it. And Im not ashamed. No, I dont eat it everyday. And I dont necessarily eats tons of it at a time (although I did enjoy my fair share of croissants in France). But I dont feel guilty after eating it anymore, because I know I pay attention to my body cues and eat intuitively. I eat healthy most of the time. But when I crave brie or dessert or wine for that matter, I go for it. While savoring every bite, no doubt. But I dont make any of them everyday occurrences, because that would make the novelty wear off. Once the novelty of a indulgence wears off, and it becomes a habit, thats when unhealthy habits surface.
Fat is a necessary macronutrient, paired with carbs and protein, for our bodies to function properly. Fat supports a healthy body weight by providing satiety and thus a healthy body weight. Fat also supports the phospholipid bilayer of brain cells, thus supporting the brain.
But we need to thoughtfully consider out fats choices also. Especially because research shows that an excessive intake of saturated fat does contribute to heart disease, which there is no short of in the US. Its the blinded and numbed eating habits that I think might contribute to overeating of saturated fats, thus leading to heart disease. Its the cheeseburgers and milkshakes everyday for lunch. Its the red meat for dinner 5-6 times per week. Its the adding bland-american style cheese on everything. Its the venti frappuccino w/ whip, too many times per week.
Butter adds an amazing complexity of flavor to foods. Even just a little bit. I choose semi-skimmed milk to provide a bit of fat to my breakfast to keep me full until lunch. And I use whole milk in my latte from time to time. And I love every sip. Without fat in milk (or yogurt or a meal in general), there is no bulk or satiety factor. Youll be hungry in no time (i.e: when you eat cereal with fat free milk or just a muffin or just a coffee for breakfast). Thus causing you to eat a snack to tide your over.
If we chose quality saturated fats now and then, enjoyed every bite, and ate slowly and in moderation while listening to our bodies, we might be healthier, more intuitive eaters. Choosing plant-based fats most of the time is also a good idea, because avocado and olive oil and nuts may actually help decrease risk of heart disease, while provided a great sustaining source of energy for your day. Because quality of fat in your diet does matter. This is where those who eat plant-based most of the time have something going for them. I think in a kid-free life with ample time for food preparation, I would be doing this. Maybe even in a kid-filled life in which Ive done with graduate school, Ill try eating this way again 🙂 Well see.
So, lets rethink the saturated fat debate. No, we dont need to eat tons of butter and whole milk all day long. Lets choose plant based fats most of the time. But when we do choose butter and saturated fats, dont just eat them blindly. Lets enjoy and savor them.