For decades, saturated fat and cholesterol have been demonized in our diets. Since the latter part of the 20th century, we’ve been told these nutrients would clog our arteries, give us heart attacks, and cause us to gain weight, so we did our best to avoid them.
This thought, called the Diet-Heart Hypothesis, birthed the low-fat-everything industry—low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, cookies, and margarine.
But what does today's research suggest?
One study found that there might be no association between high total cholesterol and stroke risk. In fact, other research has shown that low cholesterol may actually increase the likelihood of death.
In fact, there is a growing number of studies that found similar results: Lowering dietary saturated fat and cholesterol did not decrease heart attacks.
The truth is that as the fattiest organ in your body, your brain is composed of 60 percent fat, and as much as 25 percent of your body’s cholesterol is found in the brain. Moreover, we need cholesterol to make healthy hormones and have a healthy immune system and nerves. It should be no surprise that some of the many side effects of cholesterol-lowering statins include memory loss, nerve pain, hormonal problems, low sex drive, and erectile dysfunction.
In truth, consuming cholesterol and healthy fat is critical to the health and function of the brain and hormones, but for years we’ve been starving them from their favorite food.
The same goes for fats—specifically two fats found in butter. Arachidonic and docosahexaenoic acids are two forms of fat that are only found in bioavailable amounts in animal fats such as butter. These two saturated fats play an über-important role in brain and hormone health.