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Saturated Fat - How is it okay to eat?

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  • Saturated Fat - How is it okay to eat?



    I did a forum search and search of Mark's blog posts on "saturated fats" and couldn't really find any evidence explaining how saturated fat from sources such as butter and red meat are "okay" to eat. In other words, feel no need to replace them with better fats such as olive oil or leaner meat cuts. Many people here (including Mark) talk about how lard and animal fat are not bad. There have been many large and concrete studies that have linked diets high in saturated fat to heart disease.


    First off, for those who do not know, saturated fat (main sources are whole milk, butter, cheese, red meat, chocolate, coconut oil) when compared to carbohydrates raises both LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol.) Monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat (olive oil, nuts, fish) lower LDL and raise HDL.


    To cite one study, in the 1956, Ancel Keys began a survey called the Seven Countries Study. His study showed a strong connection between amount of saturated fat and higher rates of heart disease. To make things clear, he did not find a connection between total amount of fat consumed and higher rates of heart disease (thus, this argument is not about fat=bad, it's about saturated fat=bad.) In fact, Crete had the highest amount of fat intake (40% of calories) and the lowest rates of heart disease. This was due to their liberal use of olive oil.


    Second, in my book, "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy, the Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating" by Walter C. Willett, M.D. states that in the 50s and 60s, "dozens of carefully controlled feeding studies among small groups of volunteers showed conclusively that when saturated fat replaced carbohydrate in the diet, total cholesterol levels in the blood rose; and when polyunsaturated fat replaced carbohydrate, total cholesterol levels fell."


    Not to mention the Lyon Diet Heart Study that showed heart attack survivors eating a Mediterranean-type diet (rich in unsaturated fats like olive oil and nuts and low in saturated fats such as red meat and butter)had fewer second heart attacks and deaths from heart disease than those on a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet. The main diff. between a Mediterranean Diet and Primal are the grains, red meat and butter. Thus, according to Primal, you can't say that the grains were the influence in longer-lives in the Lyon Heart Study. It has to be, as the study showed, the lower saturated fat content.


    The point is - why is the Primal Blueprint encouraging food items such as butter, lard and red meat (or saturated fats in general) when there are much healthier alternatives? There have been so many studies that link high amounts of saturated fats to heart disease.


  • #2
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    When I say "in my book" I mean, the book that I am currently reading. I re-read my post and it sounded as if I wrote the book, haha.

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    • #3
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      I know 'smarter' people will completely answer your questions, but I have one thing to say: "Saturated Fat, (especially the crappy blends) + heavily carb-laden foods (especially grain-based) = recipe for higher LDL and lower HDL levels.


      This is simplified, of course, so I'll let the 'smarties' here take over! ;-)

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      • #4
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        http://www.westonaprice.org/knowyourfats/skinny.html

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        • #5
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          Saturated fat plus heavy carbs will do that, but does that also mean that a diet high in saturated fat and low carbs won't result in the same outcome?

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          • #6
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            Here's some homework:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awA2fsa94MI

            http://www.westonaprice.org/knowyourfats/index.html

            http://www.freetheanimal.com/root/20...-for-help.html

            http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/

            http://www.thincs.org/


            Books to read:

            Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes

            The Cholesterol Con by Anthony Colpo


            Enjoy!

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            • #7
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              No it doesn't. The problem comes with increased insulin production from carbohydrates. Carb is basically a sugar and produces insulin when digested. When you have high levels of insulin, the body doesn't process saturated fats properly. When you have low carbs, the saturated fats are processed by the body and actually convert into good fats for use in many different functions.


              It's also worth reading the history behind all the current medial advice on saturated fats and cholesterol. http://www.westonaprice.org/knowyourfats/oiling.html


              Read the articles, read the reference material, read the studies and check the latest research.. There are a lot of assumptions that can be brought into question based on good evidence.

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              • #8
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                All I know is 'look at results'. Check out some journals in here and you can see these 'lab rats' whom have majorly decreased their bad lipid levels.


                I think 'scientific studies' aside, take a look at what is really happening in real people, like you and I, here on this forum, whose doctors provide them with positive results in their lipid tests after going Primal.


                That is more meaningful to me than any published study (because the variables in those are astronomical!)

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                • #9
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                  Becareful with the Ancel Keys "Seven Countries Studies". It's widely accepted now that he picked data from his study that supported his premisis and discarded the outlying data points.


                  A quick quote from Wikipedia (I know, I know)
                  [quote]

                  These studies found strong associations between the CVD rate of a population and average serum cholesterol and per capita intake of saturated fatty acids. Then, as now, critics have rightfully pointed out that this "strong association" becomes weaker when data from other countries are added to the mix and there have been allegations that Keys "cherry picked" the data to support his hypothesis.
                  </blockquote>


                  This might be interesting to you as well.


                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8WA5wcaHp4

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                  • #10
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                    I read over that webpage a bit. It just seems that its between "What should be happening" (scientific studies done on rats) and "What is actually happening." As I cited, multiple large-population studies have been done that link saturated fats to higher rates of heart disease.

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                    • #11
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                      So perhaps saturated fat may not be all that bad, but it seems clear that there are better sources of fat.


                      Even if we throw out the Seven Countries Study, what about the Lyons Heart study done on the Mediterranean diet which is rich in unsaturated fats and low on saturated?

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                      • #12
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                        Matt:


                        Perhaps you might want to take a look at the highest saturated fat eating population ever known, with about 60% of total cal from fat and 50% total cal saturated fat:


                        http://www.freetheanimal.com/root/2009/01/saturated-fat.html


                        And why rely on Keys&#39; seven cherry picked countries when there&#39;s reliable data on a host of countries, from four different government databases assembled together?


                        http://www.freetheanimal.com/root/2009/03/saturated-fat-and-heart-disease-deaths.html


                        A bit tongue in cheek, here:


                        http://www.freetheanimal.com/root/2009/03/saturated-fat-epidemiology-for-math-geeks.html


                        And, since the excess carbs we eat are largely converted to saturated fat, how come people aren&#39;t worried about diets that release that fat?


                        http://www.freetheanimal.com/root/2009/04/losing-weight-is-pretty-much-like-eating-lard.html


                        Finally, there&#39;s a more plausible explanation for the Lyon:


                        http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/06/lyon-diet-heart-study-background.html


                        http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/06/lyon-diet-heart-study.html


                        http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/06/lyon-diet-heart-study-implications.html


                        http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/12/polyunsaturated-fat-intake-practical.html


                        Sorry for al the links, but there&#39;s a lot of info.

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                        • #13
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                          Have you looked at the Framingham Heart Study or the Nurses Women&#39;s Study, probably to of the largest and best documented studies around...I agree with Clint, Keys basically (to paraphrase the PB) found 9 countries who supported his theory (and thats what it is) that high sat fat diets caused heart disease and excluded 14 countries that countered/disproved his theory; any intro to statistics course tells you this is a biased study with questionable findings.


                          Note (also from the PB): Keys even questioned his studies in his later years and spent time studying the Mediterranean Diets which he felt should promise to preventing heart disease...

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                          • #14
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                            I&#39;m no statistician or medical study professional, but the Lyon&#39;s Study, to me, had far too many different variables in it to conclusively prove any one of them were the mitigating factor.
                            [quote]

                            Those in the study who followed the "Western diet" consumed more linoleic or omega-6 fatty acids found in soy and sunflower oils.


                            Otherwise, the groups were very similar: 30% of calories in the Mediterranean diet came from fat, 8% from saturated fat. The Western diet obtained 34% of total calories from fat and almost 12% from saturated fat. The intake of dietary fiber was higher in the Mediterranean group, about 3 grams, indicating a higher intake of antioxidants and B vitamins found in fruits and vegetables.


                            http://www.medcomres.com/articles/lyon_heart_study.htm
                            </blockquote>


                            Who&#39;s to say that the increase in vegetable/antioxidant consumption wasn&#39;t the factor for decrease in cardiac mortality or the improved ratio between Omega 3:6. Since the diets are so radically different, that&#39;s a LOT of variables to try and track. All participants were also previous heart attack survivors.


                            Also, a 4% difference in saturated fat consumption between the Western and Mediterranean eaters doesn&#39;t, to me, seem that significant.


                            In the end, though, ANY scientific study has at least one study that refutes it. You would, certainly, be 100% Primal by eating lean meats & fish and getting your fat from olive oil, avacadoes, etc.


                            More research is always warranted and will be conducted, but you should definitely do what you&#39;re comfortable doing, especially if it is still healthy!

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                            • #15
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                              In the face of contradicting evidence, I try to go back to the big picture to avoid losing perspective.


                              Why would humans, who evolved to eat animals and plants, be harmed by animal fat consumption?

                              “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

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