How Eating More Saturated Fat Improved My Cholesterol Values | Whole Green Love

12 Nov

Do you participate in a yearly health screening at your place of employment or for your spouses employer?

Last week, I completed my health screen so that Nic and I can get a reduced health insurance premium through his job. Sweet! The discount is pretty significant.

My results last year were good. I was considered low risk by recognized standards, but…

Just before last years screening, I began to change my way of thinking in regard to mainstream nutritional guidelines, specifically as it relates to saturated fat intake. The current consensus in America is still that saturated fats are bad, will clog our arteries, and will give us heart disease. Unfortunately, no one differentiates in nutritional guidelines between saturated fat coming from high quality butter, olive oil, animal fats, eggs, etc. and the poor American diet of processed “food” and fast food. Thankfully, more has been coming out to set the record straight – that processed foods, trans fats, and excess sugar in the diet are actually to blame for inflammation in the arteries. Fat in general and cholesterol are not the bad guy.

To further explain, this video is worth checking out! 

Immediately following my health screen last year, I began a little bit of an experiment on myself. I decided for the next year I would considerably increase my intake of saturated fat through the following sources and see what would happen. I made a conscious effort to include the things listed below in my daily diet.

  • Grass fed butter. It’s a rare occurrence that butter is not on our grocery list every week these days. We basically cook everything in it and eat a lot of it. I’ve also been known to use bacon grease in cooking. Not regularly, but we do it. Making pancakes in bacon grease will rock your world, especially when it contains little bacon bits in it.
  • Coconut oil. At least a tablespoon of coconut oil goes into our smoothies. I drink about 2-3 smoothies per week. (Find a good source for coconut oil here) I also use coconut oil to pop our popcorn.
  • Whole milk. Just a few weeks before my health screen in 2012, we had switched to drinking whole milk (from 2%). Probably not long enough to make a difference in the 2012 results. Another difference though, is that just after that 2012 health screen, we committed to buying a low pasteurized and non-homogenized whole milk and I increased my milk consumption.
  • Eggs. We eat eggs more often; scrambled, over easy, in quiches, and other types of egg bakes. We never remove the yolks.
  • Raw cheese. A typical afternoon snack for me includes a few slices of raw cheddar cheese. I eat this most days of the week.

Are you wondering if anything else changed in my diet? I paid attention to that too. I think that fruit, vegetable, grain, and meat intake stayed approximately the same. A BIG change I noticed is that I eat far less sugar. I have always had a total sweet tooth, so I was completely surprised by the fact that immediately after increasing my saturated fat intake, my cravings for anything sweet literally vanished. Do I still eat sweets and enjoy them? Yes. But it is faaaaaar less often.

A few comments and observations:

  • My total cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides, and TC/HDL ratio decreased.
  • My HDL is within 1 point of my 2012 value.
  • I was a bit concerned that my cholesterol would have gotten worse since I have not been exercising nearly as much compared to last year. I figured my HDL would decrease since I’m getting less cardio exercise, but it only dropped by 1 point! Regardless of my cholesterol values, I need to get my butt in gear and make more time for exercise. Blah.
  • I guess eating fat really doesn’t make you fat. My weight is exactly the same.

Some may look at these numbers and think this isn’t such a big deal because my values didn’t change dramatically. My point here is that most would expect that a big increase in the consumption of evil villain saturated fat would lead to poor cholesterol values. Especially after a full year of eating this way. My cholesterol values look great (not too low and not too high) and my weight did not increase at all. I think many people are afraid of sabotaging their weight and are nervous about what might happen to their arteries when they transition to a new and very different way of eating that goes against standard nutritional guidelines. After a year of this…I will continue what I’m doing…

Has anyone else had the same experience when they added good quality fat intake to their diet? Notice any benefits or consequences in doing so?

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