Let´s start the week off with a little lesson on fat including the much misunderstood saturated fats. Fat is an essential nutrient for our bodies, meaning the cells in your body need it to function properly. There´s alot of talk about your brain needing carbohydrates but the fact is your brain needs fat and a little bit of glucose which can be converted in your liver from fat and protein. (I know at least my brain works a lot better without alot of carboyhydrates messing up my blood sugar levels, making me tired and unfocused.) Fat is also needed for the uptake of vitamins A, D, E and K, which are important for you eye sight, your skeleton, your skin and mucous membranes among other things.
And last but not least fat does not make you fat, anymore than sugar makes you sweet or greens make you green.
There´s one type of fat that should be avoided though, the industrial transfats:
Some interesting info on the making of margarine, that is recommended as a “healthier substitute” for natural butter:
Hydrogenation: This is the process that turns polyunsaturates, normally liquid at room temperature, into fats that are solid at room temperature—margarine and shortening. To produce them, manufacturers begin with the cheapest oils—soy, corn, cottonseed or canola, already rancid from the extraction process—and mix them with tiny metal particles—usually nickel oxide. The oil with its nickel catalyst is then subjected to hydrogen gas in a high-pressure, high-temperature reactor. Next, soap-like emulsifiers and starch are squeezed into the mixture to give it a better consistency; the oil is yet again subjected to high temperatures when it is steam-cleaned. This removes its unpleasant odor. Margarine’s natural color, an unappetizing grey, is removed by bleach. Dyes and strong flavors must then be added to make it resemble butter. Finally, the mixture is compressed and packaged in blocks or tubs and sold as a health food.
Partially hydrogenated margarines and shortenings are even worse for you than the highly refined vegetable oils from which they are made because of chemical changes that occur during the hydrogenation process. Under high temperatures, the nickel catalyst causes the hydrogen atoms to change position on the fatty acid chain. Before hydrogenation, pairs of hydrogen atoms occur together on the chain, causing the chain to bend slightly and creating a concentration of electrons at the site of the double bond. This is called the cis formation, the configuration most commonly found in nature. With hydrogenation, one hydrogen atom of the pair is moved to the other side so that the molecule straightens. This is called the trans formation, rarely found in nature. Most of these man-made trans fats are toxins to the body, but unfortunately your digestive system does not recognize them as such. Instead of being eliminated, trans fats are incorporated into cell membranes as if they were cis fats—your cells actually become partially hydrogenated! Once in place, trans fatty acids with their misplaced hydrogen atoms wreak havoc in cell metabolism because chemical reactions can only take place when electrons in the cell membranes are in certain arrangements or patterns, which the hydrogenation process has disturbed.