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August 24, 2011

Does a High-Fat Diet Cause Type 2 Diabetes?

By Guest
202 Comments

This is a special guest post from Denise Minger (thank you, Denise!). When fear-inducing news headlines hit the papers (and airwaves and iPads…) –  High-Fat Diet Linked to Breast Cancer, Eating Whole Grains Will Help You Live Longer, Fish Oil Linked to Prostate Cancer – she’s the person to go to for an honest and entertaining critique of the research. In the last week I’ve received an untold number of emails from inquiring Mark’s Daily Apple readers about this latest health news “bombshell”. So, naturally, Denise…

It’s that time again. Your inbox is filling up with emails from your low-fat friends. Your mom left four voicemails ordering you to throw away your bacon now (and clean your room while you’re at it). Your diet-savvy coworker left a Yahoo! News article on your desk, weighted in place with a muffin. This just in: High-fat diets cause diabetes—and researchers have proof, doggonit!

At least, that’s what you’d assume from reading headlines like “How Fatty Food Triggers Diabetes” and “Study Reveals How High-Fat Diet Causes Type-2 Diabetes.” It might come as a surprise, then, that this study isn’t really about food at all – it’s about the effect of obesity on gene expression. In mice, no less. This is a classic example of the media spinning an article to help it grab attention, because most people wouldn’t give a flying Fudgsicle if they knew what it was really about.

If you haven’t browsed it already, you can check out the study’s abstract here, officially titled “Pathway to diabetes through attenuation of pancreatic beta cell glycosylation and glucose transport.” (The full text is securely tucked behind a $32 pay-wall.) Between the jargony bits and focus on mice, it might be tempting to slide this study into the Slush Pile of Unworthiness – but it’s actually pretty interesting. Here’s the lowdown.

The Gist

Basically, the researchers fed a bunch of mice a high-fat diet designed to make them obese, which consequently raised the levels of free fatty acids (FFAs) in their blood. Although we’ve known for a while that FFAs interfere with glucose metabolism, this study uncovered a new piece of the obesity-diabetes puzzle.

In order to gauge your blood sugar and decide how much insulin to secrete, the beta cells in your pancreas have little glucose-sensors hanging out on their surface. Those sensors are maintained by an enzyme called GnT-4a glycosyltransferase (can we call it George for short?). As this study discovered, high levels of FFAs interfere with two of the proteins necessary for producing GnT-4a (er, George), leaving beta cells unable to figure out how much glucose is in your blood. When that happens, those cells can’t release the right amount of insulin to keep your blood sugar in check. Wham, bam, diabetes.

That’s how it works in mice, at least. To clarify the pathway in non-mice, the researchers grabbed some cell samples from humans and cultured them with palmitic acid, a fat sometimes used to simulate the effect of free fatty acids. Lo and behold, the fat interfered with the same two proteins that got goofed up in obese, FFA-ridden mice.

So what does this mean for you and me? Are high-fat diets going to make us obese, fill our blood with free fatty acids, and push us to the brink of diabetes? Should you listen to your mother and feed the bacon to the trashcan?

Mouse Tales

Before we talk diet, let’s talk rodents. In this study, researchers used a popular, inbred mouse strain affectionately referred to as C57BL/6J. Despite their cuteness, the only one who can get away with that kind of name is R2-D2, so let’s use some lab slang and call these mice “black sixes.”

Black-six mice are beloved among researchers, and for good reason. Along with being easy to breed, they’re uber-susceptible to obesity, high blood sugar, insulin resistance, leptin resistance, and all that other fun stuff plaguing modern humans. They’re also genetically predisposed to getting type 2 diabetes, making them particularly useful for the study at hand. And perhaps most importantly, all it takes to send them into a downward spiral of disease is some extra dietary fat. It’s like their kryptonite. Which brings us to…

The Diet of Doom

Although this paper doesn’t give us a detailed description of what the mice were eating, it does reference the product numbers for their formula diets – so we can sleuth out the scoop straight from the manufacturer. Here’s a PDF of what the high-fat diet contained.

Ouch! Where to start?

It’s hard to say which part of this diet sucks the most. The 175 grams of pure sugar? The splash of high omega-6 soybean oil? The suspiciously disease-promoting casein? The main calorie source as hydrogenated coconut oil? The fact that a quarter of the “high fat” diet consists of refined carbohydrates? The complete absence of anything resembling food?

Indeed, even if you believe high-fat diets can be healthy, it’s hard to find any redeeming qualities in this one. For starters, the primary fat is a hydrogenated oil, which doesn’t belong in the body of any living organism, whether two-legged or four. As far as obesity goes, rodents have dramatically different responses to the types of fat they eat—with rats, for instance, getting tubby from lard but slimming down with marine oils. And hydrogenation aside, some mice strains gain different amounts of weight when their high-fat diet consists of unsaturated fats rather than saturated fat. So can we extrapolate the effects of this diet to high-fat diets in general? No way. Not for mice, and certainly not for humans.

And let’s remember that we’re dealing with a particularly fat-sensitive creature here. Although most mice turn into metabolically deranged messes when they eat too much fat (which makes sense, considering their natural diet is mostly grains), not all of them succumb to the same fate. Black sixes are one of the unlucky types that get rapidly obese on high-fat diets, but some other strains remain lean on the same cuisine and are far more resistant to diabetes.

When “High Fat” Isn’t High Fat

This brings us to a major problem with rodent studies in general. As this paper explains, there’s literally no standard for what “high fat” means, and rodent researchers have thrown everything from 20%-fat diets to 60%-fat diets under the same “high fat” umbrella. Usually those diets contain a hefty portion of sugar, too. Not only does this make the rodent literature hard to navigate, but it also gives an incomplete picture of the effect of diet on obesity – because something special happens when mice get a truly high-fat menu.

Case in point: this study on ketogenic diets in rodents. As we might expect, researchers found that mice eating a moderately high-fat diet became obese, leptin resistant, and insulin resistant – but when they dropped the sugar and increased fat to around 78% of calories, the mice “lost all excess body weight, improved glucose tolerance, and increased energy expenditure” without even reducing calorie intake. In other words, a high-fat diet undid the damage of a moderately high-fat diet.

Lessons For Non-Rodents

So what can we learn from all this? Does this study – or rodent research in general – have much relevance for those of us who lack tails, fuzzy ears, and adorable pink noses?

The answer is an equivocal “yes and no.” One reason mice are a favored lab animal is that they share so many genes with humans – 15,187 of them, to be exact. Heck, it was only 90 million years ago that we split from a common ancestor. I’ve met Okinawans older than that!

But that doesn’t mean gene expression always works the same, or that the causes and progression of disease are identical across species. Even when high-fat diets catapult mice towards diabetes, for instance, their markers for disease don’t always resemble ours. Unlike metabolically damaged humans, who tend to have rock-bottom HDL cholesterol and rising triglycerides, some mice experience higher HDL and unchanged (or reduced!) triglycerides when eating the diets that make them diseased (PDF). This points to some clear differences between how humans and mice experience diet-induced metabolic problems.

And that includes the diabetes pathway in this study. We have enough high-fat, low-carb research at this point to know that such a diet won’t cause an unstoppable snowball towards obesity in humans like it does in some mice. If anything, its impact on diabetes is beneficial. So even if weight gain (and the associated increase in free fatty acids) sets us down Diabetes Avenue, a high-fat diet isn’t necessarily the instigator in humans. Especially not a high-fat diet that’s based on real food instead of hydrogenated coconut oil.

Bottom line: Mice are actually useful little suckers when it comes to studying genes and biochemical processes – but only when we clearly understand the limitations. Disney-themed costume parties aside, you are not, and never will be, a mouse. Nor will a mouse ever be you. So when it comes to studies like this one, white out the headline, read with an open but critical mind, and then invite Mother Dearest over for a bacon brunch.

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202 Comments on "Does a High-Fat Diet Cause Type 2 Diabetes?"

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Chris Tamme
5 years 1 month ago

I always take it with a grain of salt when the press demonizes high fat and high protein diets. High is a relative term and most times is taken out of context of a horrible diet of processed crap and frankenfoods. Yes a high fat diet of junk coupled with crappy carbs like sugar and grains is going to cause problems for any creature.

Kevin Lin
Kevin Lin
5 years 1 month ago

I highly agreed with you…even our own pets will suffer from bad diets consisting of processed junk

Corinne Spiers
5 years 1 month ago

So true, Kevin. Our Westie suffered horribly from colitis until a friend suggested a raw tripe diet. For five years he’s thrived on raw tripe, raw lamb mince, carrots, apples, a lil’ bit of cheese and occasional “treats” of toast. Breath’s much sweeter too!

Paula
Paula
4 years 1 month ago

Yes, notice all the pet food commercials that are now advertising gluten free?

Primal Toad
5 years 1 month ago
Denise – you are a HUGE, MASSIVE part of the primal, paleo, ancestral, wapf, real food movement. HUGE. Did I say GINORMOUS?! I would hope that after anyone in the world looks at what the mice were fed, they would dismiss the study. Either the authors of those 2 articles, that have vegans throwing parties, did not read what the mice ate or they dismissed it completely because they are vegans themselves. It sucks ass but, again, Denise… I can not wait till your book comes out. Its going to be huge. No, HUGE! Studies to me are almost completely… Read more »
Vanessa
Vanessa
5 years 1 month ago
I would love to see a weight loss study done with humans, say, 100 overweight adults. Have 50 of them go Primal, the other 50 do something conventional like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, with all doing whatever exercise they want, and see what happens. Of course have labs done before and after to compare. Maybe even throw in a emotional/psych type of evaluation as well to measure depression, brain function, and satisfaction with life levels too. I would put my money on the Primal “diet” for superior results in all areas any day. I tried Weight Watchers several times;… Read more »
db
db
5 years 1 month ago
well, as one of those termed “obese” via the fundamentally flawed BMI charts (that’s another debunking, naturally), after a particularly traumatic and early passing of a parent at the hands of Type II diabetes and the classic complications of a non-compliant…i “got religion” and knew i had to change something and FAST. so, i did. i radically changed my diet, went Paleo, and started running my butt off (literally). fast forward 3 months, and my physician called me with blood test results with a smile in his voice. i had reduced all my bad numbers and increased my good ones,… Read more »
Amanda
Amanda
5 years 1 month ago

Sounds like a study that maybe Mark would get into and conduct himself??? 😀

Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple
Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple
5 years 1 month ago

You might get a single-person study pretty soon. I’ve been on weight watchers a few times, and have successfully lost weight each time.

But now I’m over 40, and it’s coming off sooo slowly. I think I’m going to give it 2 months, then switch to paleo.

I am a regular blood donor, so I know that my BP and cholesterol are already really low.

Dana
Dana
5 years 1 month ago

Low cholesterol isn’t necessarily a good thing. I’ve heard it said that one of the reasons cholesterol does that on a low-fat, high-PUFA diet (for instance) is that the PUFA makes your cell membranes all borked up and your body drains the cholesterol out of your bloodstream to shore them up. Cheery thought. Cholesterol and saturated fat are both major components of cell membranes. These are the things *holding us together.*

Craig Adams
Craig Adams
5 years 1 month ago

I did the experiment on myself… after many failed diet plans, I joined a local Crossfit, went Paleo and the rest is history… fit/healthy/in-shape for last 2 years and loving it… people can do all the studies and experiments they want… I found my solution!

Roy Walker
Roy Walker
1 year 7 months ago

Good on you Dana, al the best for a healthy future.

Sue Minger
Sue Minger
5 years 1 month ago

Denise has outdone herself on this one! After the book comes out, she needs a regular TV spot.

Mark,thanks for having her write this for MDA. By the way, Denise’s dad has just lost 10 lbs in one week following the Primal Blueprint!

Sincerely,
Denise’s mom

gilliebean
5 years 1 month ago

It’s so wonderful that Denise has the active support of her family! 😀

Jos
Jos
5 years 1 month ago

Hey, wow, Denise’s mum! Awesome.

Kate
Kate
5 years 1 month ago

I second that call for a spot on TV! I don’t watch any, but I would start if stuff like this was out there. Time to take down Dr. Oz.

Uncephalized
Uncephalized
5 years 1 month ago

Denise is much better-looking than Dr. Oz too. So I would much rather listen to her talk. Can’t help it, it’s built-in. 😀

Turbo Kelly
Turbo Kelly
5 years 1 month ago

“Time to take down Dr. Oz”

Agreed.

PrimalGrandma
PrimalGrandma
5 years 1 month ago

Dr. Oz will probably take himself down with that ridiculous 3-ring circus that he calls a TV show to “educate” us. We started watching it and then quickly decided that there was way too much contradiction and mis-information. He’s actually contradicted himself in different segments on the same show. You can sure tell where the producers are coming from–

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
4 years 1 month ago

This is part of why I threw out my TV–now these idiots can no longer infest my livingroom and my time.

Tim
Tim
5 years 1 month ago

As a fiction writer what impresses me the most is the entertaining way Denise moves us through this dense scientific information. Lots of smart people can cogitate, articulate, and regurgitate complex ideas. So, so few can make learning and understanding those ideas fun for other people. That is a true gift and the ancestral health movement is lucky to have someone like Denise.

Annette
Annette
5 years 1 month ago

+1

Todd
Todd
5 years 1 month ago

So true. Instead of carefully reading everything twice, if not more, I breeze through her articles with ease and usually complete comprehension the first time through. Great post.

elise a. miller
5 years 1 month ago

AMEN from another writer. Well said, er, written!

spincycle
spincycle
5 years 1 month ago

Agreed. I can’t slog through much of the important material out there, it’s great how Denise can distill the information and make it entertaining to boot- she’s a genius!

Baron of Bacon
Baron of Bacon
5 years 1 month ago

It almost seems unfair that Denise can be so intelligent, funny, and a natural beauty.

spincycle
spincycle
5 years 1 month ago

Now I have to go google her image to see what all the fuss is about.

jakey
jakey
5 years 1 month ago

okay, that was awesome! thanks, denise. feed mice crap diets that would make a human sick, and marvel that they… get sick. thanks, science.

Fred
Fred
4 years 1 month ago

Say, rather: “feed **genetically defective** mice crap diets…”

Mike
Mike
5 years 1 month ago
Don’t you just love how the media will throw up a head line in the news that makes these ridiculous claims and than you have people come to and and say “did you hear about this?” My response to that is did you even read the article or did the title just give you all the information you needed? I also love (for those who do read the articles) how twisted the truth is when you compare the data in the research to the authors own interpretation. I have been primal for almost 5 months now, the truth is not… Read more »
Heather
Heather
5 years 1 month ago

This just makes me want to cry. My father is on dialysis and getting sicker every day. My older brother was diagnosed last year. My journey to health led me to MDA and it was the best thing I have ever done for my health, mind and body. I know I will never have diabetes. And it just sickens me that this twisted information manages to make headlines in the way that it does.

Patrick
5 years 1 month ago

Yes. Love your comment. My dad died due to prostate cancer and also developed type II diabetes. I want to get off that train and take control of my health. So far so good! Vegetarian for almost 20 years, but recently did a 180. I only wish I had done it earlier. I’m back to my college weight. Lean and mean!

Dana
Dana
5 years 1 month ago

My dad’s type 2. The crazy part is, he hates most vegetables. But he loves meat. It drives me up a wall that if I were given the chance, I could construct a dietary regime for him that he could actually live with, and he wouldn’t have to feel like he was suffering for his health. And he could get off the Nexium, and the statin, and whatever the heck else he’s on, and quit having those weird anemia episodes that have put him in the hospital twice now.

mark
mark
5 years 1 month ago

Love it! Well done.

Primal Recipe
5 years 1 month ago

There are way more bad research studies out there then are good, with horribly flawed methods. With your breakdown of the diet (LOVE your table graphic!) it is easy to see how the test results are valid – but the test was flawed.

The better conclusion would be: a diet high in sugar, casein, and Omega 6 can cause Type 2 diabetes.

Eda
Eda
5 years 1 month ago

…in genetically susceptible mice.

Dana
Dana
5 years 1 month ago

The sugar and the omega 6 cause damage in people, too, whether or not that damage is in the form of diabetes. Casein, well, that’s a bit more iffy. Depends on individual situations.

Finnegans Wake
Finnegans Wake
5 years 1 month ago

Outstanding as usual, Ms. Minger.

Phil
Phil
5 years 1 month ago

Good post. So many research studies have a way of putting a spin on things. Take Ancel Keys. Whatever diet you follow, make it real food. Of course, the long living Okinawans mentioned eat a low fat, vegetable based real food diet with grain.

Dana
Dana
5 years 1 month ago

No. No, it’s not low-fat. Okinawans, like “Mediterranean people” (WTF does that mean? Italians? Greeks?), enjoy meat and animal fat as well. In Okinawa and Italy it’s mainly pork and lard. In other areas it’s beef and mutton and lamb.

Dennis
5 years 1 month ago

Speechless… Great article!

Stevemidd
Stevemidd
5 years 1 month ago

Actually, I found this study to be very important.

As a result, I will no longer be feeding my mice any hydrogenated coconut oil with their refined carbohydrates – I just couldn’t face having to inject their little paws with tiny insulin-filled syringes.

However, it wont be affecting my bacon consumption.

Fritzy
Fritzy
5 years 1 month ago

+1

Anne
5 years 1 month ago

I think people have been conditioned to assume that a “high-fat diet” can’t mean anything other than deep-fried oreos and the like. Thanks for directing the conversation back to the QUALITY of the fats.

Congrats to Denise’s dad–and to Denise’s mum for chiming in and supporting them both!

Lucy
5 years 1 month ago
Fatastic! really, honestly, I’ve not done ANYTHING besides remove carbs to the best of my abilities <20g, and upped sat fats only, to as much as I can stand 255, I’m seldom hungry, and as I understand, protein can be an obstacle too, as it’s requirement can be met in most instances, yes by glycation, and muscle will result if asked. NO exercise, AT ALL, other than active from a new, natural energy, and not excessive in any way. I’m 54 female, 4yrs into the big M, and I have such clarity, that I can now say and do things… Read more »
Arty
Arty
5 years 1 month ago

This article ruined my IF !!
Now I’m salivating for a fatty steak…

William
5 years 1 month ago

It is always important to keep the good fats. Remember the “low fat” craze of a few years back, that ended up getting people heavier !!

Turbo Kelly
Turbo Kelly
5 years 1 month ago

I “low-fatted” my way from just slightly overweight, to obese during the late 90s, early 2000s.

silverbenz
silverbenz
5 years 1 month ago

This comment made me laugh 🙂 I’m hoping, sincerely, that you’ve since “high-fatted” your way back down the weight slope.

Joann
Joann
4 years 8 months ago

My story also!

Amy
Amy
5 years 1 month ago

Wow, that Diet of Doom list says it all. Did Monsanto fund this study?

Hal
5 years 1 month ago
There seems to be a fairly common trend among ‘pulp science’ – especially surrounding diet, but also in other pseudo-scientific explanations of physical phenomenon – to take highly complex and thorough studies, glean a few lines from them that either sound good, make a good headline, or support a long standing CW belief or position held by the editors and leave you with something that in reality does not truly represent what was actually studied, or sometimes cherry picks pieces of information out of the study to support their own claims while ignoring the conclusions of the study itself. There… Read more »
Tim
Tim
5 years 1 month ago

Please be careful directing ire towards journalists. That profession has been and is experiencing what can only be described as a complete collapse. People are trying to survive. They’ll write what they’re told to write but more importantly they’ll write what they know their bosses will like because there are a hundred other out of work copy jockeys waiting in the wings. Not only isn’t there much time for in depth thoughtful investigative journalism any more but that isn’t what our consolidated corp media is buying. Which is why you only see it on blogs.

Hal
5 years 1 month ago
While I see your point, I also consider the editorial process part of journalism. Editorial staff should be the gatekeeper, ensuring the quality bar is not lowered to the point of near banality, nor that the article will be harmful to the readership. I understand the desire to keep your job, make no doubt about that. But perhaps the short-sightedness of the industry as a whole, of owners, editors, and even writers, has absolutely contributed to the collapse. People used to go to the media to get information, and once the goal of the journalists to produce accurate information evaporated… Read more »
Angelyne
Angelyne
5 years 1 month ago
Seems that researchers have the same blind-spot that is endemic in our modern society. They seem to think that processed food is irrelevant to the health of mice and men. That’s a huge confounding variable that is completely ignored in research. What would be really interesting would be for some researchers attempt to duplicate known results on mice, using whole foods. I.e. Real coconut fat, real unprocessed protein, real unprocessed carbs. Would the same results be achieved ? Maybe. But it would be interesting to find out, and would at least remove one confounding variable. If they don’t do this,… Read more »
homehandymum
homehandymum
5 years 1 month ago
This was what I was thinking while reading this article. In my before-children life I was a Biochemist. The people designing these studies are trained in gene-regulation, in biochemical pathways, in protein expression, in all things sub-cellular. They are NOT trained in nutrition. They either rely on the information they are given by the manufacturers of the food, or they follow protocols worked out by other people ahead of them. And in their defense, the researchers were *not* testing the effect of a high-fat diet. They were trying to see how the ‘George’ proteins reacted to high levels of FFAs.… Read more »
Lucy
5 years 1 month ago

Drs. are NOT trained in Nutrition EITHER!

Do they TELL YOU that while your sittin’ there in Good Faith?

well you’ll know the answer to that question, eh?

I hear the tides are turning, tho I haven’t met one of them yet. I wonder why Doctors ARE so hard to come by?

The Internets ? ; )

Lisa
Lisa
5 years 30 days ago

My doctor is awesome. One nutritionist gently told my dad that “doctors mean well” after he was given conflicting information about his diabetes.

What she didn’t know was that my doctor had given him some sound advice. What he told *me* once when I asked about gaining weight healthily (stick skinny kid here), was to not be afraid of fat, eat bacon, and watch the carbs.

Seriously!

Stephanie
Stephanie
5 years 1 month ago

Thanks so much for touching on this! My mom is THAT mom. Sadly, she is easily brainwashed by the masses. Fortunately, I don’t buy into it, but it’s nice to have some kind of ammunition when she gets after me about my “high fat” diet. Thanks!

Lulu
Lulu
5 years 1 month ago

Yep! Been living low-carb/semi-primal for the last year and a half. Started moving toward more primal lifestyle about a month ago. Had bloodwork done right before I started low-carb and again last week. Results:

11 point drop in serum cholesterol!
54 point drop in triglycerides!
11 point increase in HDL (good cholesterol)!
Normalized A1C levels!

Proof is in the numbers!

Susan
Susan
5 years 1 month ago

Thank you Denise for a great article! Because of all the misinformation out there in the general media, I quit getting my health info from them years ago. Thanks Mark for posting this study. Appreciate it!

Mary Hone
5 years 1 month ago

Great article, now lets let the rest of the world see it and figure it out.

Amanda
Amanda
5 years 1 month ago

This comic feels especially relevant in this case…

http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1174

Erin
Erin
5 years 1 month ago

LOVE phd comics! After reading the journal article, this comic couldn’t be truer.

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Catbreu
Catbreu
5 years 1 month ago

I love the fact that this article was linked on one of the mentioned “High fat=diabetes oh noooooz!” ones in this post.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2029573/Victorias-Secret-supermodel-Miranda-Kerrs-coconut-oil-beauty-secret.html

deb b
deb b
5 years 1 month ago

Fantastic analysis and explanation! Thanks.

This article (or a similar one) was claiming it is the particle size of the saturated fats that “gum up” capillaries. Do you have any information regarding that “fact”?

Fritzy
Fritzy
5 years 1 month ago

I know there is some good info about this on the PaNu site. While this is a complicated process, one of the mechanisms is the shape of the fat molecule. Saturated fat is a straight chain, while hydrogenated fats tend to form crooked chains. This shape is one of the things that leads to that particular kind of fat “gumming up” capillaries and arteries.

Dana
Dana
5 years 1 month ago

Those saturated fats form the cell membranes of the cells that make up those capillaries. We need ’em.

Fritzy
Fritzy
5 years 1 month ago

Thanks for clarifying that, Dana–I only mentioned trans fats there and missed the boat on addressing Deb’s original question. The straight chain formed by short, medium and long chain saturated fatty acids do not have a tendency, in and of themselves to “gum-up” arteries. However, the crooked shape of transfats/hydrogenated oils do lend themselves to arteriosclerosis.

Lucy
5 years 1 month ago

That would be carbs, in ANY size.

If you replaced ‘fat’ with ‘carb’ in the literature, you’re MORE onto the ‘truth’ of things, than not. srsly.

Sat fats only, NO seed oils. Industrial. Grains, industrial, ‘Mills.’ And such like the above ‘refineries’ of “foodstuffs.” eYeah, not hardly, better to eat the packaging, at least it’s consistant.

sry to be SO blunt, however for some people, PANIC may in deed, be the appropriate response, no?

Satish
5 years 1 month ago

Thanks for explaining the actual research into something I can understand. Clearly, the study is flawed. It does not make sense why they would use hydrogenated fat for the test when everyone knows hydrogenated fat raises inflammation in the body. It would be much more meaningful if the researchers used natural unprocessed fat.

Fritzy
Fritzy
5 years 1 month ago
Thanks Denise, for doing the dirty work. I don’t think we could ever over-estimate the importance of the work you are doing. Of course, the real take-home message should be that manufactured garbage is bad for animals (including humans) and it is becoming increasingly evident that this is the case regardless of macronutrient ratios. This would make it a great study if that’s the conclusion everyone could lean towards. Unfortunately, too often, researchers draw conclusions from well structured studies that don’t really match the results and leave the critical reader scratching their head wondering where the scientist came up with… Read more »
Norman Robert Spencer
5 years 1 month ago
I’ve been eating Primal since November 2009, and since ditching my glycogen-inhibiting meds in May 2010, I have enjoyed the full benefits, including for my blood sugar. Earlier this summer, a cousin measured my postprandial blood glucose (including, I must admit several glasses of red wine): 5.2 mmol/L or 93.6 mg/dL. My fasting glucose is 4.8 (86), lower than when I was 19 (the only way I could raise it to 6.1 (110) was to run sprints the next morning in a fasted state (my glycogen/glucose system has since been repaired). My version of Primal does not skimp on animal… Read more »
Susan
Susan
5 years 1 month ago

…and even if excess FFAs in the blood of humans _did_ block the glucose sensors, if the person isn’t also eating a lot of simple carbs, they should be OK. What this study implicates is diets with moderate levels of poor quality fats in combination with simple carbs…something like what a lot of Americans eat, unfortunately.

Dana
Dana
5 years 1 month ago

I was thinking that too. Does it really matter whether your beta cells can sense glucose when you’re not stuffing yourself full of it to begin with?

Patty
Patty
5 years 1 month ago

Thank you for blogging on this. I saw the headlines recently, and looked through an article (with very little data in it). I thought “they don’t specify what kind of oil.” I wouldn’t have guessed they were feeding the mice 54% trans fat. The results make more sense now:)
Thank you for the information!!

Priscilla
Priscilla
5 years 1 month ago

I can tell you following a low fat diet, with whole grains has not helped me one bit. I onlg got elevated labs, no success losing weight and developed metabolic syndrome. I had the first good to excellent lab results when I eliminated whole grains, sugar and starches from my diet and added by healthy fats, lean protiens and nuts.

Lucy
5 years 1 month ago
If anyone gets ‘sleepy’ after they eat, no matter the time of day . .. THIS is the energy you’re supposed to be GETTING from the food you ingest. If you’re diet ‘is too much for you,’ you’ll get sleepy/sicky? I don’t EVAR get tired anymore, I actually find myself eating, as I’m going, not prepared to fall asleep with a dish sliding off onto the floor .. yeesh. I’ve survived to ‘be’ another day. Thank you everyone! Wheee! I feel like a kid again, with hopes and wishes to fulfill, and dreams mean something now. They are really attainable… Read more »
Lisa
Lisa
5 years 1 month ago

Never again would I go low fat. I’m not sure if it’s hyperbole to say it almost killed me, but it felt like it. I’m normally high energy and within a few months I was sapped and my already low blood pressure dropped even more.

Nutritionator
5 years 1 month ago

MDA is on a roll this week, Robb Wolf yesterday and the amazing Denise Minger today? Keep pumping out the awesome info!

Rachel Fischer, MD
Rachel Fischer, MD
5 years 1 month ago

Denise, what a great job explaining a rather complicated subject! I think it’s difficult to communicate the complexities of the human endocrine system–much less that of a mouse. Now, if only we could get the popular press to follow suit and seek out experts like yourself to provide such eloquent explanations.

Matt
Matt
5 years 1 month ago

Excellent post, thanks for sharing! For some reason even as a child I stayed away from anything labeled hydrogenated. I remember in my teens if I ate peanut butter that had been hydrogenated I would break out all over my face and body… that’s probably the reason I didn’t eat it come to think of it lol. 😀

alex
alex
5 years 1 month ago

why didn’t they feed the mice grass-fed tenderloin? or I don’t know grains and seeds naturally higher in fat? hemp, sunflower, macadamias,peanuts ,I know they love cherry pits.

mcoz-09
mcoz-09
5 years 1 month ago
Hi Denise. It’s wonderful that you’re so great at debunking the papers that must be written by meat hating souls, mostly vegans but also vegetarians and those terrified of red meat and fat for whom we’re the new breed of terrorists. I’d just like to ask why you omitted a red arrow for the Maltodextrin. It’s just as bad as the sucrose or could I say worse because people ignore it. Easily digested and all of it as glucose. This polysaccaride is in so many supposedly carbohydrate reduced/sugar-free products. And I think the manufacturers get away with it because people… Read more »
Caitlyn
5 years 1 month ago
Did anyone notice the red food dye listed as one of the ingredients in the mouse-chow? It’s so unfortunate, because NO ONE eats a diet like this, no even my coworker with Type2 diabetes, kidney failure and congestive heart failure (no kidding!). The study would be a lot more valid if the mice were fed a diet appropriate for them and THEN they add a normal high fat like butter. This is exactly the approach they took to prove artificial sweeteners cause cancer. They fed the mice a diet of 60% sweet-n-low. While artificial sweeteners are indisputably toxic, NO ONE… Read more »
Johnc
Johnc
5 years 1 month ago

I realize that studies have to be funded and thats why see so many of these crap studies but why can’t we (the paleo / low carb crowd) use something like Kickstarter to open source fund a proper study of all the things of interest to us? Surely there are some proper scientists somewhere willing to take the money to do a proper job of it.

Arty
Arty
5 years 1 month ago

We are all our own test bunny.

The success stories are the test results 🙂

Caleb
Caleb
5 years 1 month ago

I am continually impressed with the ease at which, those in the ancestral health movement explain things. Denise Minger, Emily Deans, and many others write in ways that make learning very enjoyable (why can’t they be my professors?????:-() Great article as always.

Timothy
5 years 1 month ago

Hydrogenating coconut oil is a crime against nature.

Even apart from the ludicrous diet fed to the rats, I always wonder at studies that draw dietary inferences from rats and apply them to humans. Rodents are granivores and scavengers; when they prey at all, it is exclusively on invertebrates. Humans, on the other hand, are omnivorous apex predators. Somewhere around 60-90 million years of divergent evolution separate the orders Primates and Rodentia. Why would we expect their nutritional adaptations to be similar enough to provide a useful comparison?

Jen
5 years 1 month ago

Great analysis of the science of the article. I also find it interesting that they don’t give the exact composition of the diet even though it’s an article about the _effects_ of diet. Kinda vital piece of information, there…

But I’m also commenting because a couple of the lines in here made me laugh hard:
“weighted in place with a muffin.”
“I’ve met Okinawans older than that!”

Keoni Galt
Keoni Galt
5 years 1 month ago
Denise, you are the bomb. You are invaluable. But there is something you wrote that just makes me crazy, because so many people follow this line of thinking: This is a classic example of the media spinning an article to help it grab attention, because most people wouldn’t give a flying Fudgsicle if they knew what it was really about. This is where so many people simply write off the media as simply “trying to be sensationalistic” and “grab headlines to get ratings/sell copy.” Bah. Our corporate owned media tells we the sheeple precisely what their corporate sponsors want them… Read more »
HillsideGina
HillsideGina
5 years 1 month ago
Awesome! and Necessary! Thanks Mark and thanks Denise for all your work. Damn the money-and-fame-hungry researchers and damn the stupid media, who just takes the press releases and prints them without question, while most people still take the published word as gospel. Damn them all to hell! By the way, can Denise look into the study published recently – something to the effect that being fat is okay as long as you are, um, healthy!? That one was heavily debated on the forum, but all regular readers of MDA should know better than to conveniently pick-and-choose which study they believe… Read more »
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[…] Mark Sisson (The Primal Blueprint) just posted about this study: Does a High-Fat Diet Cause Type 2 Diabetes? | Mark's Daily Apple […]

Stabby
Stabby
5 years 1 month ago
I sure do love reading Denise’s posts. When the world begins to understand that there are differences between fats, the health news will be less dumb. A quick refutation of the notion that high-fat (I call them High-fat mouse-murder diets) diets cause insulin resistance in rodents is to point out the delicate balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fats that tends to determine how animals react to inflammation, which strongly influences insulin sensitivity. Too little omega 3 in the cells causes excessive inflammation and too much omega-6 or too little omega-3 causes that deficiency. Excessive inflammation is a strong contributor to… Read more »
Diane
Diane
5 years 1 month ago
Hi Denise, Great analysis. Here’s a little additional background on inbred mice: I used to run a breeding colony of C57Bl/6y — an inbred strain derived from the C57Bl/6j — the “J” means that the animal is derived from the Jackson Labs breeding stock. Black-sixes (we called them that, too) are an old inbred strain. Probably around since the 50s or 60s (I don’t have my reference library here, or I’d check exactly when they were officially inbred.) It takes 20 generations of brotherxsister matings to achieve official inbred status. Most strains die off prior to that from fatal gene… Read more »
David Fisher
5 years 1 month ago

Its worth noting also that the palmitic acid they used to reduce insulin secretion in human cells is the same fatty acid manufactured by the liver (de novo lipogenesis) from excess carbohydrate. Eat too much carbohydrate, especially refined and you increase palmitic acid, which could affect GnT-4a (George).

Jon
Jon
5 years 1 month ago

“Your diet-savvy coworker left a Yahoo! News article on your desk, weighted in place with a muffin.”

LOL! Love the quality of yahoo news articles…

Lucy
5 years 1 month ago

If on faceplant/down, it wouldv’e been some type of cheese sandwich . .. ;0

Danielle Meitiv
5 years 1 month ago

Can we also point out that mice are primarily carb-ivores – they are BUILT to eat grains. So really, why should it surprise us if/when their wee bodies freak out when given what would be just dandy for a human?

Sure we share many genes with them but not our dietary ones. Humans = fat good/grains bad. Mice = grains good/fat bad.

Arty
Arty
5 years 1 month ago

This reminds me of the cholesterol myth. Those tests were done on rabbits by some russian guy. On rabbits!!!
Uh, aren’t those herbivores…

BW
BW
5 years 1 month ago

Excellent work Denise, as usual.

I loved seeing Robb Wolf and Denise Minger back to back. Who’s up tomorrow to complete Murderers Row?

Lucy
5 years 1 month ago

Peter @ HyperLipid ?

He was my first .. 😉

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