Four hundred years ago everyone knew that the world was flat too. In fact you would be burnt as a heretic for suggesting anything else.
The basis for the belief regarding saturated fats was primarily due to a study published by Ancel Keys in 1953. In this study he correlated the fact that out of a whole seven countries in the study (in fact the study was originally called the seven country study) those that had higher levels of saturated fats also had a higher incidence of heart disease. The study only included 12,000 men in the age range 40-59
Therefore saturated fat causes heart disease.
This is an example of a correlation study (as opposed to a causation study) and is like saying "A cat has four legs. My dog has four legs so therefore my dog is really a cat...."
Add to this a couple of other simple facts
1. It was heavily supported by the manufacturers of vegetable oils who might have some vested interest in people moving away from butter, animal fats and consuming their manufactured oils...
2. Specifically excluded countries that disproved the outcome such as France (high fat/ low heart disease) and India (low saturated fat / high heart disease). The study originally had 16 countries so in essence less than half of the small subset of the worlds countries actually showed the correlation.
3. Studies since then which 'proved' this hypothesis fed subjects large amounts of manufactured and trans fats as well as large amount of inflammatory processed sugars
Maybe the world isn't actually flat after all ?
There have been many independent, peer reviewed studies showing there is no discernible link between natural saturated fats, cholesterol and heart disease but for some unknown reason the vegetable oil manufacturers have been less inclined to promote these studies.
The simple fact is that saturated fats and cholesterol is vital to the normal healthy function of our bodies.
1. The two most vital organs for survival - the heart and the brain use saturated fats as a fuel source.
2. Cholesterol is the precursor to a number of vital hormones
3. Saturated fats are used for the production of arachidonic acid
In one study, 18 month old infants who were given arachidonic acid supplements for 17 weeks showed significant improvements in intelligence, and in adults impaired arachidonic acid metabolism or insufficient arachidonic acid intake is linked to brain issues such as Alzheimer’s and bipolar disorder.
4. Cholesterol is used in seratonin production (feel good hormone) that is the target of most anti depressant. SRI's (seratonin re-uptake inhibitors) are the main anti depressant which try and block seratonin being reabsorbed (which isn't required when we are producing sufficient amounts!) and these have a number of dangerous side effects including weight gain, increases in blood pressure and heart rate.
Looking at 2,3 & 4 it should be noted that since the push to lower fats in the diet the incidence of depression, ADHD and alzheimers has increased significantly.
5. About 50% of cell membrane is saturated fats - it gives cells its strength and integrity.
6. Saturated fats are vital for the transportation of calcium around the body - both into the bones for bone strength and to prevent calcium pooling as in arthritis. A test subject of mine actually discontinued use of her arthritis medication by increasing the fats in her diet and removing inflammatory foods.
7. Saturated fats protect your liver when you are taking substances like alcohol, aspirin etc.
8. Saturated fats protect/enhance your immune system. For example coconut oil contains microbiobical properties to protect and enhance your digestive tract protecting against disease.
9. For babies - it is the primary component in brain and nervous system development. Mothers milk contains high levels of cholesterol and low fat diets can inhibit natural neurological development.
But I think the most telling fact is that since the socialisation and adoption of this studies Heart Disease, Obesity, Diabetes (and associated conditions), depression, Alzheimers and ADHD have all INCREASED.
So enjoy that steak (grass fed preferred please) know that you are doing yourself good...