Paleo Diet News: Dr. Mercola Champions Saturated Fat

A fun article on the Mercola site from a couple of years ago began doing the rounds again in the blogosphere over the past couple of days, in which Dr. Mercola champions saturated fat.  The article’s renewed prominence seems to indicate a growing acceptance of one of the key tenets of the paleo diet: that saturated fat isn’t the villain of the piece, but in fact, its hero!

Here’s the Dr’s take on the matter - and his 7 Reasons To Eat More Saturated Fat:

1) Improved cardiovascular risk factors

Saturated fat plays a key role in cardiovascular health. The addition of saturated fat to the diet reduces the levels of a substance called lipoprotein (a) that correlates strongly with risk for heart disease. Research has shown that when women diet, those eating the greatest percentage of the total fat in their diets as saturated fat, lose the most weight.

2) Stronger bones

Saturated fat is required for calcium to be effectively incorporated into bone. According to one of the foremost research experts in dietary fats and human health, Dr. Mary Enig, Ph.D., there’s a case to be made for having as much as 50 percent of the fats in your diet as saturated fats for this reason.

3) Improved liver health

Saturated fat has been shown to protect the liver from alcohol and medications, including acetaminophen and other drugs commonly used for pain and arthritis.

4) Healthy lungs

For proper function, the airspaces of the lungs have to be coated with a thin layer of lung surfactant. The fat content of lung surfactant is 100 percent saturated fatty acids. Replacement of these critical fats by other types of fat makes faulty surfactant and potentially causes breathing difficulties.

5) Healthy brain

Your brain is mainly made of fat and cholesterol. The lion’s share of the fatty acids in the brain are actually saturated. A diet that skimps on healthy saturated fats robs your brain of the raw materials it needs to function optimally.

6) Proper nerve signaling

Certain saturated fats, particularly those found in butter, lard, coconut oil, and palm oil, function directly as signaling messengers that influence metabolism, including such critical jobs as the appropriate release of insulin.

7) Strong immune system

Saturated fats found in butter and coconut oil (myristic acid and lauric acid) play key roles in immune health. Loss of sufficient saturated fatty acids in white blood cells hampers their ability to recognize and destroy foreign invaders, such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

Personally, I’d add another couple of reasons to champion saturated fat: the great taste it imparts to food, and its role in helping us to feel full and satisfied.

Dr. Mercola goes on in the article to give a great analysis of where the demonization of saturated fat comes from, and how modern understanding is helping to undo this misinformation.  If you’re looking for a primer on why it’s a good idea to champion saturated fat in the paleo diet, this is a great place to start.

And if you want to delve deeper, check out this great article on saturated fat, cholesterol, and their vital role in the human body, over on the Paleo - Boost Your  Fitness blog.


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

What’s your favourite source of saturated fat?  Please share your ideas, and spread the Paleo Diet News!

Brian Cormack Carr is a freelance writer and coach whose mission in life is to help YOU do what you were designed for.
His home on the web is where you will find more articles, freebies, and information about his online career-creation programme - 12 sessions of virtual coaching from Brian for just $20!
Twitter: @cormackcarr


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