All our lives we’ve been told that fat is bad for us. But with the booming popularity of high-fat diets like the Keto diets, we have to start asking: is fat really that bad for you?
Well, saturated fats seem to be.
In addition to increasing your risk of heart diseases, saturated fats are now the culprit of aggressive prostate cancer.
In a new study from McGill University, researchers found that a diet high in saturated fat fuels the growth of prostate cancer.
In Malaysia, prostate cancer is the third most common cancer in men.
While prostate cancer is usually known for being a “slow” cancer, the study shows that patients with the highest level of saturated fat intake were four times more likely to die from prostate cancer compared to patients with the lowest level.
This is after taking into account age, year of diagnosis, and Gleason grade (an indicator of the aggressiveness of the cancer).
Previous studies have proven fatty acids “feed” cancer tumors. Cancer cells switch from sugar to fatty acids to fuel their growth, allowing them to spread around the body quickly.
For us Malaysians, that means taking a hard look at the diet we eat.
Keto (and similar) diets focus on being high in fatty foods and low in carbohydrates to force the body into ketosis to burn fat instead of carbohydrates.
One of the main problems with such diets is that the dieter may have an incomplete concept of what the diet entails.
There are different kinds of fats, “good” or “bad”, but the ones you should definitely avoid are saturated fat and trans fat.
In Malaysia, it’s rather difficult to maintain a steady diet of the “good fats”, because a lot of our food contains saturated or trans fat.
Saturated fats include fatty cuts of meat, chicken skin, high-fat dairy foods (such as whole milk, butter, cheese, ice cream), coconut oil, santan, palm oil, lard, and more.
Trans fats are artificial fats usually found in fast food, deep-fried foods, and even your favourite snacks.
One of the main points to note is that most of our food is cooked in palm oil, which is a saturated fat.
Even our humble nasi lemak has mostly unhealthy fats due to the santan in the rice and the trans fat if you have a side of fried chicken!
That being said, saturated fats can be eaten in moderation, with a balanced diet.
Being on specialty diets such as these high-fat diets requires careful planning of what you eat and a good knowledge of fats, otherwise you risk your health when it comes to heart diseases and cancer!
Anne is an advocate of sustainable living and the circular economy, and has managed to mum-nag the team into using reusable containers to tapau food. She is also a proud parent of 4 cats and 1 rabbit.