Saturated fat & dietary cholesterol have nothing to do with bad health, they both are necessary for good health. Sugar, refined carbs, transfats & polyunsaturates that are not in whole food sources (like vegetable oils) are not healthy though.
The link between saturated fats and heart health was based on faulty science & has been disproven. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease, or any other chronic disease of civilization. Through their direct effects on insulin and blood sugar, refined carbohydrates, starches and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease and diabetes.
Plaque build up in the arteries are more attributable to carb consumption than dietary fats, which seems to be the conclusion of the following study. Carb consumption raises triglycerides & VLDL (bad cholesterol). Fats raise the HDL (good cholesterol). High triglyceride levels & low HDL levels are an indicator of plaque, glycation - the precursors to a heart attack and heart disease.
study from the Oxford group examining the postprandial (after-eating) effects of a low-fat vs. low-carbohydrate diet. (Roberts R et al, 2008)
Postprandial lipoproteins, you'd think, would be plentiful after ingesting a large quantity of fat, since fat must be absorbed via chylomicrons into the bloodstream. But it's carbohydrates that figure most prominently in determining the pattern and magnitude of postprandial triglycerides and lipoproteins. Much of this effect develops by way of de novo lipogenesis, the generation of new lipoproteins like VLDL after carbohydrate ingestion.
7 Reasons to Eat More Saturated Fat
1) Improved cardiovascular risk factors
Saturated fat in the diet reduces the levels of lipoprotein (a) abbreviated Lp(a)—that correlates strongly with risk for heart disease. The only dietary means of lowering Lp(a) is eating saturated fat. Eating fats raises the level of HDL, the so-called good cholesterol.
2) Stronger bones
Saturated fat is required for calcium to be incorporated into bone - According to expert in human health, Mary Enig, Ph.D., as much as 50 percent of the fats in the diet should be saturated fats.
3) Improved liver health
Studies show that saturated fat encourages the liver cells to dump fat content. Saturated fat has been shown to protect the liver from the toxic insults of alcohol & medications and even to reverse the damage.
4) Healthy lungs
For proper function, the airspaces of the lungs have to be coated with a thin layer of lung surfactant. The fat content of lung surfactant is 100 percent saturated fatty acids. Replacement of these critical fats by other types of fat makes faulty surfactant & potentially causes breathing difficulties, collapse of the airspaces & respiratory distress.
5) Healthy brain
Your brain is mainly made of fat & cholesterol. Though highly unsaturated essential fatty acids found in cold-water fish (EPA & DHA) are important for brain & nerve function, most of the fatty acids in the brain are actually saturated. The brain needs saturated fats to function optimally.
6) Proper nerve signaling
Certain saturated fats, found in butter, lard, coconut oil, & palm oil, function directly as signaling messengers that influence the metabolism. Without the correct signals to tell the organs & glands what to do, the job gets done improperly.
7) Strong immune system
Saturated fats found in butter & coconut oil (myristic acid & lauric acid) play key roles in immune health. Loss of sufficient saturated fatty acids in the white blood cells hampers their ability to recognize & destroy foreign invaders, such as viruses, bacteria, & fungi. Myristic & lauric acid have potent germ-killing ability. We need dietary replenishment of them to keep the immune system vigilant against the development of cancerous cells & infectious invaders.
Saturated fats play many important biologic roles. They are an integral component of cell membranes, which are 50 percent saturated fat. Lung surfactant is composed entirely, when available, of one particular saturated fat, 16-carbon palmitic acid. Properly made with this fat, it prevents asthma and other breathing disorders. For nourishment, heart muscle cells prefer saturated long-chain palmitic and 18-carbon stearic acid over carbohydrates. Saturated fats are required for bone to assimilate calcium effectively. They help the liver clear out fat and provide protection from the adverse effects of alcohol and medications like acetaminophen. Medium-chain saturated fats in butter and coconut oil, 12-carbon lauric acid and 14-carbon myristic acid, play an important role in the immune system. They stabilize proteins that enable white blood cells to more effectively recognize and destroy invading viruses, bacteria, and fungi, and also fight tumors. Saturated fatty acids function as signaling messengers for hormone production, including insulin. And saturated fats signal satiety. Not surprisingly, given all these biological functions, saturated fats make up 54 percent of the fat in mother’s b****t milk (monounsaturated fats are 39 percent; and polyunsaturated fats, a tiny 3 percent).