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  • NY Times Article Today - Sat Fat Bad for Aging

    From the article:

    "A study showed that people who mostly ate foods low in saturated fat and rich in nutrients were at one-third lower risk of Alzheimer's than those who ate more higher-fat foods."

    Ok. I'm confused. Being a new convert to PB and an Elder Apple this does not bode well. How do we reconcile this with the PB lifestyle?

    Here's the link:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/20/he...althupdateema5

  • #2
    Its nice that they have a link to read the whole article, sounds like they just did a baseline survey and then a followup a few years later. Anybody that is good with statistics have any input regarding there numbers?

    Comment


    • #3
      "Among older people whose diet included the most of these foods, the risk for Alzheimer’s was more than one-third lower over the course of four years than among those who ate the least such foods and more high-fat dairy products, butter, red meat and organ meat. "

      Okay the main problem with this is that it is simply an epidemiological correlation and not a causation. In a society where most people already take that red meat and butter are unhealthy as an unquestionable absolute truth, those who eat more meat and butter are generally going to be the ones who have a "to hell with it" attitude towards health in general, because meat and butter are fucking delicious and these are the people who indulge in everything. They are likely to have more nutrient deficiencies, especially omega 3 and vitamin d, and are likely to consume sugar, trans fats and not exercise. It's not the saturated fat, it's the type of person that usually goes along with the saturated fat.

      There are other problems that I'm sure others who are more learned will chime in with.

      edit: just one final point. Science is fucking awesome right now. If there is a reason why something is the case, it can most likely be shown WHY it is the case. And yet nobody can show using experimental studies and empirical evidence why red meat and saturated fat cause heart disease, cancer, anything at all. There is plenty of empirical evidence for the unhealthiness of PUFAs, fructose, wheat products an grains in general, where's the empirical evidence against meat and butter? There is none so they resort to this kind of knavery. Weston A Price foundation has effectively refuted any meat and butter bashing and I'm sure they will tackle this one with their usual righteous fury . I think there is enough ostensibly wrong with such a "conclusion" to dismiss it outright.
      Last edited by Stabby; 04-20-2010, 09:37 AM.
      Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

      Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!

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      • #4
        I'm not willing to dismiss these findings as simply another evil attempt by misinformed scientists to bash food groups that I might have a personal investment in believing that are good for me. Look at some of the tables that accompany the actual study. The correlations by specific food groups are uniformly strong and supportive of the overall conclusion.

        I guess we could argue that the level of physical activity doesn't seem to have been accounted for but, then again, we're talking about a population with a mean age of 77. I suspect not a lot of lifting of heavy things and sprinting going on in that group.

        Comment


        • #5
          Very true regarding the comments about lack of exercise and resistance training. A very good book is 'SparK: The Revolutionary New Science Behind Exercise and the Brain' by John Ratay. While mainly focusing on aerobic exercise he goes into a lot of science about how exercise increases many of the neurotransmitters and hormones that play a significant role in preventing a wide variety of ailments. He covers learning, depression, alzheimers etc. It is very good book and it shows how lack of physical exercise can prevent or even lessen symptoms. Though he does advocate the CW of chronic cardio as opposed to sprints its worth the read and besides that there is not much CW.

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          • #6
            Saturated fat is surely bad for you if you consume a crap load of sugar and carbs along with it. Did this study take into account other nutritional choices of the people in the study? That would be my first question.

            Comment


            • #7
              It's funny the cause of Alzheimers disease is still unkown, yet they know factors that "increase risk". If you don't know how you get it, how can you know what increases your risk? You really need to look into the study further.
              Just like red meat causes heart disease.........well did they consider the bleached white flour bun, high fructose cornsyrup ketchup, plastic cheese, hyrdrogenated oil fries and corn syrup soda with the multiple years worth of inactivity that came with that evil cow meat? Your activity level, genetics, environment, stress level and the foods you eat accompanying the saturated fat that make all the difference in the world.

              Conventional wisdom glorifies the rice paddy farming culture of vietnam and other Asian area diets , who have no cancer or heart disease and weigh 100 pounds due to their low in saturated fat diet......well they have also never eaten a piece of processed anything, have small portion sizes and perform physical labor sunrise to sunset, with im sure at times going without food. Take a look at places in asia where industrialization is taking place, where burger chain restaurants have been introduced and other processed food-their disease rates are rising at a worrying rate....hmm i wonder why?

              haha okay little bit of a rant, but yes like the others say, we must remember the person that comes with the saturated fat

              Comment


              • #8
                Again, folks, look at the tables: http://archneur.ama-assn.org/cgi/data/2010.84/DC1/1

                Yes, they did account for the other foods that were consumed; all broken out into 30 different groups, each with their own correlation coefficient.

                To dismiss the study as "just correlation and not causation" is kind of a specious argument when we're talking about studies of foods consumed over time. All such studies could only be correlational. For causation you'd have to have a population that only ate, I don't know, say Cherios for five years and then look at what's left of them after that to determine that such a diet 'causes' people to be sick and/or dead.

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                • #9
                  Exactly. You would have to conduct real science. *gasp*
                  Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

                  Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I don't know about this study, but I do know that Alzheimers incidence is greatly increased in diabetics, and there is some plausible theory about the causality (I think insulin is involved). So a primal diet would improve that risk factor anyway.
                    Ref: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dia...eimers/AZ00050
                    My primal journal
                    You might find these handy: Free gluten free restaurant cards in 50+ languages
                    In Praise of the Primal Lifestyle

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                    • #11
                      Rule of thumb: if the study does not mention a control group and a treatment group, it cannot make any predictions of causation. Period. If it doesn't mention a control group and a treatment group, it is an epidemiological (descriptive only) study.

                      This is an epidemiological study. It means nothing in terms of causation. Epidemiology can NEVER show causation, only correlation. It should only be used to identify factors that might conceivably be studied in a follow-up experimental study, where there's a treatment group that gets some kind of intervention (such as a dietary limitation, or a drug) and a control group that doesn't.

                      How do I know it's an epidemiological study? Look at the design: "Prospective cohort study." Self-reported data. No interventions or treatments - just one big group of people that get followed for a year or two to see how they do. That's the classic epidemiological study - and it's crap for prediction because you can't predict (prove causation) with epidemiological data. Epidemiological studies are descriptive and exploratory ONLY. If these researchers want to show that saturated fat increase causes Alzheimer's, or heart disease, or anything else, they have to do a study where saturated fat is isolated in the diet and that's all the subject eats.

                      Certainly, epidemiological studies can talk about association and correlation, and they can give researchers an idea of factors that should be investigated further with experimentation, but as Stabby has already pointed out above, people who eat lots of saturated fat today also tend to consume a whale of a lot of bad things like sugar, grains, and other starchy foods. There's a huge number of uncontrolled and unmeasured variables in this study.

                      I'd love to get my hands on that data and re-run the correlations to see if there was significance in carbohydrate intake. I'll bet there would be. But that probably won't be possible anytime soon. And in any case, there'd still be a bunch of confounding factors that weren't measured and can't be controlled for, so the data is pretty much worthless for predictive (determination of causation) purposes.

                      There are other problems with this study, too. They did not isolate their seven factors; note that in their final analysis the "protective effect" factors are only narrowed down to three, not one: Vitamin E, PUFA (shudder!) and folate. Any of those three MIGHT be the causative factor... or it might not. We don't know, because this is study is only good for descriptive and exploratory purposes, not prediction, due to its design.

                      It drives me crazy that the media thinks anything labeled a "study" is a) automatically trustworthy and b) automatically proves causation. Neither of these things is true. This was a descriptive, exploratory study only. Now, people need to do experimental studies to support or disprove the hypothesis that SFA are causative of AD. They haven't done that yet, so this media hype is frigging irresponsible in the extreme.

                      Finally, every experimental study that has been conducted to "prove" the lipid hypothesis has come up way short. Check out Gary Taubes' book on that.

                      I wish we could force everyone in the country to have an adequate education on and understanding of the scientific method. This kind of thing just drives me crazy.
                      Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

                      Looking for my Cholesterol Primer? Here it is: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...mer-(Attempt-2)


                      Ditch the scale!: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread33283.html

                      My Success Story: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread30615.html

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                      • #12
                        My point is that 'real' science is not even feasible for this kind of study. The best we can ever hope to have is a correlation between what people consume over time and their subsequent change (+/-) in health status over the same period.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Which means that we have to do observational studies like the Eades do - which is halfway between epidemiology and experimentation. Their observations of all their clients have shown remarkable drops in weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and insulin levels while at the same time increasing strength, health, and wellness. They have no control group (which is why it's not experimental) but they have introduced a change/stimulus/intervention: reduction or elimination of dietary carbohydrates. And guess what? It works! Which means that we can have something that is far stronger than a correlation coefficient - we can have results that show an overwhelming response to a stimulus. That's almost as good as a controlled study with a control group and an experimental/treatment group, and far and away better than any epidemiological study. It's far more dependable.

                          As you say, ethically we can't do the kind of dietary-restrictive experiment I've suggested (although drug companies do it all the time with placebos), but epidemiological studies still should not be trusted as causation-explanatory. They aren't. And freaking out over the results of an epidemiological study is a waste of time and energy. If it's epidemiological, the most we can say about it is "That's interesting. When are they doing the follow-up experimental study?" And that's all we really should be saying until the experimental (or failing that, observatory) study is done.
                          Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

                          Looking for my Cholesterol Primer? Here it is: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...mer-(Attempt-2)


                          Ditch the scale!: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread33283.html

                          My Success Story: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread30615.html

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Griff, I understand that epidemiological studies are only meant to 'tease' out possible causative factors which, in turn, must be subjected to further study. But when we see a list of such factors, as in this study, that are directly contradictory to the map that we have laid out for ourselves, should this not give us pause? Pause for what I'm not sure. I guess we can only go with the science that we have at hand and hope that it pans out in the long run.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              My answer is no, because a) those factors are confounded and conflated in any epidemiological study, and b) we have observational proof in this specific case that reduction of certain types of foods and an increase in others creates a much healthier system overall. May I ask if you've read the Eades' books, and Mary Enig and Susan Fallon's "Eat Fat, Lose Fat," and other sources like Gary Taubes? Or are you just depending on Mark's book by itself? I think if you see the plethora of sources out there that support the way we eat and live, you'll feel better about this course of action and more able to dismiss fear-mongering epi studies like the one you've linked to above.
                              Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

                              Looking for my Cholesterol Primer? Here it is: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...mer-(Attempt-2)


                              Ditch the scale!: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread33283.html

                              My Success Story: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread30615.html

                              Comment

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