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Too much fat can be bad?

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  • Too much fat can be bad?

    I noticed that a primal diet (but even a grain-free vegetarian diet and other kinds of diets based on non processed foods) always ends up providing on average 50% or something of calories as fat.

    If you look at Mark's diet with the small meals, all the vegetables and even chicken breast it is so different from other people interpretation of a LC natural diet which is more like stuffing on the fat, the more the better: add butter to everything, throw egg whites away, cook vegetables in bacon fat, add pure fat to already fatty steak of meat and so on.

    I was wondering if such take on the LC and natural human diet could have drawnbacks. Then I read a post from Stephan when he said that an high fat diet (70% of calories as fat) might indeed cause problems and it's not a good idea.

    What's your opinion?

  • #2

    Couldn't find this post. Can you give a link. Would like to read it. I believe he is very pro carbs but is not against fat. Any way inuits show that high fat as in 75% fat is good. I would think 80% fat should be perfectly fine, with 15% protein and 5%carbs. But I guess that is the upper limit.


    • #3

      Mark is not against fat. The 'take' you are talking about is more Paleo than Primal, however. You should, perhaps, read the blog of Dr. Kurt Harris at PaNu.

      Start weight: 250 - 06/2009
      Current weight: 199
      Goal: 145


      • #4

        @Anand Srivastava

        I read it on a diabetes blog I can't find where Stephan commented.


        • #5

          The Inuit diet was not necessarily all that healthy. They suffered from osteoporosis - often in age 40s and 50s. The incidence of tetany was high. And another common observation was how easily they bled - often suffering from nose bleeds that would last for some time. (could be the hi ratio of omega 3s?) I am not sure if you read any of Loren Cordaisn stuff but he references an Inuit body that was found frozen in the ice and snow that was estimated to be about 600 years old. Guess what the autopsy found? Lots of fatty deposits in the arteries - not sure of all the details as its been a while since I read this. Remember WAP only spend a short time with them and even Stephanson was only with them less than 1 year. Remember the Inuit try to eat mosses and lichens/ and berries whenever possible to get additional nutrients.




          • #6

            I am not sure why they would get osteoporosis. They had a lot of Calcium, Phosphorus, vitamin D, etc. Could it be that this osteoporosis was in the inuit on western diet?

            In the inuit diet is difficult to get all nutrients. It is also too high in proteins, not much though.

            Bleeding problem is very easy to explain based on too little O6 and possibly K1 (I think this is plant based, not sure though).


            • #7

              Using % comparisons too the Inuit is silly.

              Average Active Dude = 2400 Cal @ 80/15/5

              f = 213 g

              p = 90 g

              c = 30 g

              For an active man 90 grams of protein is not enough.

              90g of protein for an active 125lb women may not be enough.

              Average Active Inuit man circa 1905 = 4000 Cal @ 80/15/5

              f = 355 g

              p = 150 g

              c = 50 g

              At 150 g there is adequate protein.

              The problems are not too much fat it is not enough protein. If you ate 4000 cal to get 150 g of protein you will get fat really fast.

              At 90 g of protein and 30 g of carbs you will start losing LBM (too a point).

              So then:

              AAD @ 2400, p = 150, c = 150 (as per PB), f = ?

              p = 25%

              c = 25%

              f = 50%!

              AAD @ 1800 (weight loss goal) p = 150, c = 50, f = ?

              p = 33%

              c = 11%

              f = 56%!

              AAD @ 2400 (ketosis) p = 150, c = 30, f = ?

              p = 25%

              c = 5%

              f = 70%!

              There is the 70% but why would you do this?

              The problem is not in the fat but in the protein.

              Don't be a paleotard...






              • #8

                "I am not sure why they would get osteoporosis. They had a lot of Calcium, Phosphorus, vitamin D, etc. Could it be that this osteoporosis was in the inuit on western diet?"

                No this is observed in Greenland Inuit following the traditional diet.


                • #9

                  twa2w, can you provide any sources?

                  “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” -Oscar Wilde
                  "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw
                  "The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass." -Martin Mull


                  • #10

                    here is one reference

                    1. Iburg KM, Bronnum-Hansen H, Bjerregaard P. Health expectancy in Greenland. Scand J Public Health 2001;29(1):5-12. Choinere R. Mortality among the Baffin Inuit in the mid-80s. Arctive Med Res 1992;51 (2):87-93.

                    basically this compares the diets of greenland inuit(traditional diet) with Canadian inuit(more westernized).

                    Some people speculate the reason for osteoP in Inuit may be due to the acid/base balance in the diet

                    Ethnic Differences in Bone Mineral Density Between Inuit and Caucasians in North Greenland Are Caused by Differences in Body Size

                    Journal of Clinical Densitometry, Volume 8, Issue 4, Pages 409-414

                    can't find the link to the original study but here is an exerpt from a U of Michigan study

                    A Michigan State study found that by age 65, the average woman who ate meat had lost one-third of her skeletal structure. Meanwhile, vegetarian women of comparable age had less than half the bone loss and were more active, less likely to break bones, maintained erect postures, and healed bones more quickly. The Inuit (Eskimo) have the highest osteoporosis rates in the world. In a study of 217 children, 89 adults, and 107 elderly Inuit in Alaska, researchers found that they had lower bone mineral content, onset of bone loss at an earlier age, and development of bone thinning with a greater intensity than white Americans. The scientists attributed the greater degeneration to the acidic effects of the Inuit’s high meat diet. The human body is constantly trying to strike a balance between being too acidic and being too alkaline. A healthy human body likes to be alkaline, but when we eat certain foods (meat, refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and animal products) our bodies become acidic. Because the body does not like to be acidic, it steals calcium from the bones and dumps it into the blood to make the blood alkaline again! When somebody eats acid-forming foods every day, the bones become thinner and thinner because the body is constantly stealing calcium from them to make the blood alkaline! The other side of the coin here is that if you do eat meat, it is possible to have strong and healthy bones. To accomplish this you must ingest adequate amounts of calcium and trace minerals every day. One of the reasons that the Inuit had such a high degree of osteoporosis was because there was hardly any calcium or trace minerals in their diets. Skeletons of Neanderthals have been found and forensically examined. Their bone density was perfect – and they ate a lot of meat. They also supplemented their diets with wood ash which was very high in trace minerals, thereby negating the bone destroying propensity of a diet high in animal protein.

                    S. Andersen, E. Boeskov, P. Laurberg

                    the source for teh comment about the arteries in a 600 year old Inuit carcass is Loren Cordains newsletter and some of his published material but I can't access it right now.

                    A simple search of Inuit and osteoporosis on google will give you a lot of hits - doesn't mean its true of course but where there is smoke there is fire. I have seen references back to the 1920s that indicate this.

                    Most of the sources I have are from journals that I can't easily link too.


                    • #11

                      This is from an article on inuit and their rate of osteoporosis.

                      " Dewailly, a professor of medicine at Laval University, said there are several risk factors, including:

                      * A lack of calcium intake.

                      * Contaminants in the Arctic food chain. "

                      It says that 19% of Inuit women over 50 had osteoporosis, but only 7% in women in Quebec.



                      • #12


                        In Medical Parlance there is no need for fire to create a lot of smog. They generate theories out of thin air, misinterpreting data and twisting it beyond recognition. That adage does not apply to modern medical theology.


                        • #13

                          I still don't think a niche population living in extreme conditions uncommon for human habitat and eating an extreme diet at the far stretched end of what the human spectrum is capable of and living a rather peculiar life with less chances for creativity and socialization than the average hunter-gatherer diet, is a good example to emulate.

                          And I think what we have read about the innuits is peculiar enough to suggest is not just a matter of westernization. Studies found no physiological or genetic difference in their metabolism to suggest switching to grain consumption would lead to developing the highest stroke and osteoporosis rate worldwide. Stephenson himself claimed that the average 40 year old inuit looked older and less healthy than the average 60 year old american. Reading from inuits memories themselves puts better in perspective the problems they had including starvation, weakness, infections, profuse bleeding. And now we have even studies that show the westernized populations have a lowest rate of conditions observed in the traditional inuits. Inuits are the last population I would think of as an example of primal health to emulate myself.

                          At this point, citing the inuits any time there's a need for clinical evidence, has become as little convincing as citing personal anecdotes and epidemiological nonsense to support low-fat high-grain eating.


                          • #14

                            The Inuit don't eat "an extreme diet at the far stretched end of what the human spectrum is capable of"

                            What about other hunter gather tribes?

                            (shown with proportion of economic activity spent hunting or fishing).

                            Copper Eskimo (92 - 100%)

                            Comanche (86 - 100%)

                            Manus (86 - 100%)

                            Yahgan (82 - 100%)

                            Slave (82 - 100%)

                            Micmac (82 - 100%)

                            Yukaghir (82 - 100%)

                            Kaska (82 - 100%)

                            Ingalik (82 - 100%)

                            Twana (82 - 100%)

                            Aleut (82 - 100%)

                            Gros Ventre (76 - 90%)

                            Badjau (76 - 90%)

                            Tehuelche (72 - 90%)

                            Montagnais (72 - 90%)

                            Bellacoola (72 - 90%)

                            Haida (72 - 90%)

                            Eyak (72 - 90%)

                            Gilyak (72 - 90%)

                            Saulteaux (72 - 90%)

                            Mbuti (66 - 80%)

                            Abipon (62 - 80%)

                            Klamath (62 - 80%)

                            Lengua (62 - 80%)

                            * Does not take into account for time spent in the collection of small land fauna (insects, invertebrates, small mammals, amphibians, and reptiles), so numbers are conservative.

                            That's how long they spend getting meat. There are probably plenty of tribes that are very good at hunting and spend a lot of time doing other things (hence a lower %).

                            These tribes all show how important hunting meat is, by how much time they dedicate to doing it. That's a pretty high focus on fat.

                            None of these tribes suffer the 'diseases of civilization'.

                            ...not to mention the fact that lower/middle paleolithic man (ie. Grok) was likely almost completely carnivorous.

                            The "Seven Deadly Sins"

                            • Grains (wheat/rice/oats etc) . . . . . • Dairy (milk/yogurt/butter/cheese etc) . . . . .• Nightshades (peppers/tomato/eggplant etc)
                            • Tubers (potato/arrowroot etc) . . . • Modernly palatable (cashews/olives etc) . . . • Refined foods (salt/sugars etc )
                            • Legumes (soy/beans/peas etc)


                            • #15


                              Either you missed my point or I failed at explaining it (history indicates the later).

                              I was trying to say that whatever "problems" that Stephan was alluding to was coming from lack of protein not too much fat.

                              I disagree that 68g of protein is all you need. Perhaps if you are 150lbs at 1800 cal on your couch.

                              Basically all you said was that any protein above maint cal will be stored as fat.

                              None of my examples are above maint cal.

                              I think that you should get at least 1g of protein per pound of lean body mass. Then depending on activity level up to 1.25g of p/lb LBM.

                              Then figure out carbs 30-150g or a little higher if you are an elite athlete.

                              Then fat will fill out the rest of your calories. 50%-70% who cares?

                              There is no point setting a 70% calories from fat goal.

                              The "problems" come from inadequate protein not "excess" fat.

                              Don't be a paleotard...