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 Shae 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 In Beef Fat Is As Follows:
- 40% Mono Unsaturated (oleic and palmitoleic)
- 22% Stearic Acid
- 3% Myristic Acid (saturated)
- 25% Palmitic Acid (saturated)
- 4% Polyunsaturated Fats
- 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.
If the 25% palmitic acid has not been proven to raise cholesterol levels, then what part of beef tallow does? Perhaps the ruminant trans-fats? If so then what does it say about the entire campaign for the last five decades to malign the "saturated" fats?
Stearic Acid Information: Chemical Formula
Stearic Acid Information: The Weston A. Price Foundation