Saturated fats are fat molecules that are saturated with hydrogen molecules. The high amount of saturated fats in the body has been linked with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Consuming saturated fats increase the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level in the blood. This result in blockage of the arteries that increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other heart-related complications.
One study conducted by researchers at the University of Bergen, Norway found that saturated fats are not always bad for the body. Moderate amount of these fats in the body can, in fact, be beneficial for the body.
The Link Between Saturated Fats and Heart Health
Intake of saturated fats is the only way to boost good cholesterol level, also known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in obese individuals, according to the researchers at the University of Bergen. The study observed 38 individuals with abdominal obesity. Participants on the high-fat diet had significant improvements in different cardio-metabolic risk factors including blood pressure, ectopic fat storage, and blood lipids (triglycerides).
In addition, people that were administered diet containing saturated fats did not suffer from abnormal blood sugar levels. This means that people that eat a diet containing the saturated fat have decreased the risk of developing diabetes.
According to one of the researchers, Vivian Veum, the study team had examined the effects of saturated and total fat on persons that were administered a healthy diet that consisted of vegetables, rice, and fat sources such as cream, butter, and cold pressed oils. He said that the alleged health risks of the intake of saturated fats have been largely exaggerated.
The findings of the research indicated that saturated fats are not always bad for the health. Intake of saturated fats from lowly processed or natural sources can offer great health benefits resulting in reduced risk of cardio-metabolic diseases and diabetes.
Most people can tolerate intake of saturated fats as long as they are sourced from natural or lowly processed food items. The researchers, one of whom is a cardiologist, have found that intake of ‘quality’ saturated fats was good for the health even at high total energy levels.
The researchers at the University of Bergen had analyzed participants by measuring the fat mass in the abdominal region, liver, and heart. This provided accurate results about the effects of a fat-rich diet on the body.
Individuals are advised to follow the American Heart Association’s recommendation aiming 5 percent to 6 percent of calories from saturated fat sources. So, a person with 2000 calories a day diet should intake no more than 120 calories from saturated fat sources. This corresponds to an intake of around 13 gm of saturated fats in a daily diet.