...The demonized saturated fats--which Americans are trying to avoid--are 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 percent of the cell membranes, giving them necessary stiffness and integrity so they can function properly.
- They play a vital role in the health of our bones. For calcium to be effectively incorporated into the skeletal structure, at least 50 percent of dietary fats should be saturated.
- They lower Lp(a), a substance in the blood that indicates proneness to heart disease.
- They protect the liver from alcohol and other toxins, such as Tylenol.
- They enhance the immune system.
- 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.
- 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. 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.
For some great articles about the roles of different fats in our diet, please visit this page on the Weston A. Price Foundation site.