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    The Benefits of Saturated Fats
    The much-maligned saturated fats­which Americans are trying to avoid­are not the cause of our modern diseases. In fact, they play many important roles in the body chemistry:

    • Saturated fatty acids constitute at least 50% of the cell membranes. They are what gives our cells necessary stiffness and integrity.
    • They play a vital role in the health of our bones. For calcium to be effectively incorporated into the skeletal structure, at least 50% of the dietary fats should be saturated. (38)
    • They lower Lp(a), a substance in the blood that indicates proneness to heart disease. (39) They protect the liver from alcohol and other toxins, such as Tylenol. (40)
    • They enhance the immune system. (41)
    • They are needed for the proper utilization of essential fatty acids.
    • Elongated omega-3 fatty acids are better retained in the tissues when the diet is rich in saturated fats. (42)
    • Saturated 18-carbon stearic acid and 16-carbon palmitic acid are the preferred foods for the heart, which is why the fat around the heart muscle is highly saturated. (43) The heart draws on this reserve of fat in times of stress.
    • Short- and medium-chain saturated fatty acids have important antimicrobial properties. They protect us against harmful microorganisms in the digestive tract.

    The scientific evidence, honestly evaluated, does not support the assertion that “artery-clogging” saturated fats cause heart disease. (44) Actually, evaluation of the fat in artery clogs reveals that only about 26% is saturated. The rest is unsaturated, of which more than half is polyunsaturated. (45)
     Health benefits of Butter
    “Research undertaken at The University of Auckland suggests that dairy foods may reduce the occurrence and symptoms of asthma and other allergic diseases. University studies have shown that mice with allergic conditions show a reduced reaction to allergens when fed a diet enriched with fatty acids derived from milk. These fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and occur naturally in cow’s milk but are not present in margarine.  The reduction of butter consumption and the subsequent increase in margarine use in the Western World occurred at the same time as the increased incidence of asthma, eczema and other allergic diseases. In New Zealand , margarine was not available in shops until 1971. “A number of studies have shown that butter consumption is associated with a reduction in allergic disease,” says Dr Peter Black from the University’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. “We believe that 10g per day of butter enriched with these natural fatty acids should help control symptoms of asthma.We are currently conducting a study to look at this.”
    Stearic Acid found innocent
    Despite the huge ramifications this discovery might have to nutritionists who continually warn us against consuming saturated fats, this news has managed to miss the worldwide media.  The reason is quite obvious, nobody knows what stearic acid is! Contrary to the notion we get from nutritionists, saturated fats are a range of different molecules, of which one of the most common is stearic acid. The requital of stearic acid occurred from studies using Shea butter, a tropical nut oil that contains most of its saturated content as stearic acid. A study found that  The effect of fats high in individual, prevalent saturated dietary fatty acids on lipoproteins and hemostatic variables in young healthy subjects was  evaluated in a randomized metabolic feeding study. The results indicate that  intake of shea butter high in stearic acid favorably affects blood lipids and  factor VII coagulant activity in young men. –  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Bethesda: Feb 1994. Vol. 59, Iss.  2;  pg. 371 This is on top of previous studies that have concluded that stearic acid does not raise cholesterol levels, and even suggestions that stearic acid should not need to be counted as a ‘saturated fat’ for labelling purposes. The only reason why saturated fats are considered bad is that they are meant to raise cholesterol levels, which in turn are correlated to a higher risk in Coronary Heart Disease. Although, there have been many other attempts to link saturated fat consumption to diabetes and cancer, essentially it is the cholesterol/heart disease links that has formed the basis of saturated fat’s bad image. So if I play by the rules and assume everything about saturated fats and cholesterol are essentially true, but exclude stearic acid from the equation, I come to quite a startling discovery: Beef tallow, the fat that has been demonised as the heart-disease cause, is in fact mostly made of fats that help the heart.
    The composition if beef fat is as follows:
    40% mono unsaturated (oleic and palmitoleic)
    22% stearic acid
    3% myristic (saturated)
    25% palmitic (saturated)
    4% polyunsaturated
    5% rumanitic trans-fats
    As the nutritionists tell us mono unsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats help lower cholesterol, we have 66% of beef tallow composed of fats that have favorable effects for the heart!  This leaves the remaining 34% to be responsible for cholesterol raising. While myristic and palmitic acid have been suggested to raise cholesterol, studies so far have produced contradictory results with regard to these components. Even the Heart Foundation have noted that evidence that palm oil (which is high in palmitic acid) raises cholesterol is inconclusive.
    ORAC is a standardised test adopted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to measure the Total Antioxidant Potency of foods and nutritional supplements. This standardised test was developed by Dr. Guohua Cao, a physician and chemist at the National Institute on Ageing in Baltimore, Maryland. It provides a very precise way of establishing the Free Radical destroying or neutralising power of a particular food, supplement or compound. The ORAC unit has become one accepted industry standard for measuring antioxidants. The antioxidant test combines a measure of both the time an antioxidant took to react and also its antioxidant capacity in a given sample. The ORAC unit then combines them into one measure, making it the first in vitro assay method for measuring total antioxidant potential. It is easily expressed as per 100 grams of sample. The recommended daily antioxidant dose should add up to 5000 ORAC units each day. Looking at Table 1 below, it is clear that one has to be quite selective in the foods chosen so as to easily achieve this. If you at bananas alone, you would need to eat 2.4 kilograms of bananas to get your daily ORAC dose! You would however, only need to eat 87 grams of prunes. In a study of 36 older people, boosting fruit and vegetable intake to reach 3,200 ORAC units a day increased the antioxidant potential of the blood by 10 to 15%; enough to have an impact on disease prevention (Holly, 2003). The ORAC is not the ultimate unit, however, as different antioxidants have different effects. Lycopene protects against prostate cancer and is found in tomatoes, strawberries and pink grapefruit. Lycopene is the predominate carotenoid in plasma, and various tissues including the prostate gland (Lucich, 2001). Research (ref.) has shown spinach to be more effective than strawberries (which score higher in the ORAC assay) when measured as blood antioxidant scores. The researchers conjecture that it may be due to specific compounds or a specific combination of them in the greens. Spinach caused the biggest change in a test between spinach, strawberries, and red wine (all high-ORAC foods) and 1,250 milligrams of vitamin C.