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RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/14/13 1:15 P

Very interesting. I made it all the way through, even if some of it was pieced in from other videos I have watched. All the way to " yes ' ( about eating full fat ice cream )

I think it is important to not the problems of the study on rabbits, and Ancel Keys study of 22 countries.

In the rabbit study, they used an herbivore to test cholesterol and CHD. Ignoring the fat that since they eat plants, which don't have lots of cholesterol, and fat, they would be ill-equipped to handle it, and would get sick, since their body isn't capable of processing it, I am not sure if the scientist willfully used an herbivore to get bad results, and prove a pre-conceived hypothesis, wasn't very smart, or just wanted to kill a bunch of bunnies, but it is one example of how doing the wrong study, gets you the wrong answer.

Ancel Keys did a brilliant study of fat intake in 22 countries, showing that it had no bearing whatsoever on obesity,and heart disease. The problem is that he eliminated 2/3rds of the data, because they did not conform to his ideas. So, instead of us looking at the discrepancies, and looking more closely at those outliers, we all thought the study pointed directly at fat causes heart disease.

Interestingly, the Framingham study ( see 24 min mark ), says that lower cholesterol levels are harmful to people, and cause a higher mortality rate ( that's death ).

Of course these are all studies, and there are many others, so this is just a discussion of some handpicked studies that are in obvious error, however those two studies play a large role in the diet recommended today, and the foods available because of it. Both are erroneous. The Framingham study, meanwhile, is widely lauded as one of the greatest studies in history, and while this one section is not the entirety of the study, there are many parts that argue against a low fat diet.

We shouldn't be making policy based on these ideas, but it is a reason to test further, and maybe remove some of the ideas put forth as fact where nutrition is concerned.

One thing that I find interesting outside of this video, but hit me while watching is, we test our dietary hypotheses on animals ( probably because they can't complain, in a language we recognize ), and use how it reacts in them as a substitute of what would occur, if we were to follow whatever we injected into them, or fed them.

So I start thinking if animals are a relatively decent surrogate for human reaction to dietary changes, then why don't we STOP putting them in labs, and injecting animals with things that they would never eat. We want to test saturated fats in animals? Why don't we just look at animals that eat a high percentage of saturated fats ( carnivores ), as well as omnivores, and herbivores, and see if those animals have varying degrees of heart disease/ plaque build-up. As far as I know, there isn't an obesity epidemic, or rising heart attack rate among lions, but maybe I am just ignorant of this epidemic. Is it a controlled environment? NO, but it is unlikely that a lion will skew the data by having some bread, and a salad, or for a rabbit to take down a gazelle, and gorge on 30 lbs of flesh. Testing for man made substances would still have to be done in a lab, since animals don't eat these. I would suggest banning them instead, but for the purpose of this conversation, we do not need to use a lab. There are plenty of animals that eat a certain rate of macronutrients, and we can test them for heart disease.

So instead of hurting the animals by injecting foreign substances into them, we could just observe them after they ate their natural diet, in their natural environment. Sure, we eventually have to dart them, and check them for results, but they can get over being darted, and it is not nearly as bad as what we did to those poor rabbits. This may not necessarily lead to the data that anyone wants, but it would be real world data, that actually meant something. If omnivores, and carnivores that ate a high saturated diet had high rates of heart disease in nature, then we could say, yes, saturated fats are a danger to us. If they do not have a higher rate of heart disease, then maybe we would need to question whether the problem was something ELSE. Maybe even something animals don't consume at all, if any of. That would be sugar, processed foods, artificial sweeteners etc.

A couple of things that I have noted personally, and found quite interesting was the talk of the eggs, and butter. I shop for my eggs, and butter at an Amish store, and the egg yolks are orange just like the video said, although my butter is light yellow, not golden, and I while I have no idea if the color it, I doubt it. Have never bought white butter, but it is interesting topic. How the animals live their lives affecting the food is something we should also look into

Next was the idea that polyunsaturated fats are BAD for you. Did anyone else catch that? I would have like more on that idea, since we tend to think of poly- and mono- unsaturated fats as healthy. I am not for or against this idea, just note that it is controversial, and seemed to be said as if it was fact, with little, if any follow-up.

Personally, I find the idea put forth by Mark Sisson that the "sweet spot " for weight loss was 50-100 grams of carbohydrates to make sense. The demonization of low carb was a mistake

I would hesitate to do the same. This is a wonderful chance for us to re-open nutritionary discussion, and hopefully throw out some of the old studies that were obviously made to prove pre-existing ideas. It shouldn't be used to tell everyone that a certain way of doing things is best. I think there is more than one method to get to better health.

I would hope that we toss out the idea of saturated fats being harmful, until we have actual proof, but at the same time would hesitate to say, eat more saturated fat, for the same reason. I think we have lots of questions, and instead of finding answers, the experts are trying to find the results they believe in, or are being paid to find.

This video isn't proof that saturated fats are good for you, but it shows that maybe they were wrong to say they were bad. At the very least we should look at this closer, both personally, and as a society. As usual, it is more complicated than good or bad.

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
11/12/13 11:12 P

I agree that population studies are not the last word at all when it comes to evaluating nutrition. There may be huge differences in what type of diets a people group does well on based on climate, sun exposure etc. and some of these factors are not fully understood.
So if we agree that epidemiological studies are merely a starting point and personal experience is subjective then we have only two choices: The one is for all the relevant research to be done before making a choice about diet. For reasons mentioned above (resources, ethical reasons) this may never happen. The other is to take the best information we have, a combination of epidemiological studies, experiments that involve smaller numbers of test subjects over shorter periods of time, new meta-analyses of previous research, the collective experience of many individuals that have no financial gain from the outcome, the understanding of the best scientists in the field of nutrition, medicine, biochemistry etc.
Searching for evidence and adding it up in a meaningful way can be time and energy-consuming. I believe it is often done by people who fully understand the compromised health status they are in and who are therefore willing to invest a lot of themselves. Examples are easy to find here on Spark, including on this thread. It may be people who are dealing with extreme obesity, debilitating pain issues, severe auto-immune diseases, addiction problems, heart disease or diabetes. They are people who have decided that if what they were doing was not working they may as well try something different. When these people are also well-respected and well-educated professionals in the medical or related field then their passion to gain knowledge may very well bring superior and different results that are worth investigating, no matter how different from conventional wisdom they may be. Examples are Dr. Richard Bernstein who wrote a book on Diabetes after learning to manage his type 1 diabetes far better than the average diabetic, also Dr. Terry Wahls who managed to recover from a serious form of MS primarily through diet and Dr. Peter Attia who was able to not only rid himself of all signs of metabolic syndrome but also kept very detailed stats on his health improvement over his first year on a ketogenic diet.
None of these examples will prove anything in and of themselves, but they certainly are a basis for finding what works for those of us as individuals to get healthier who were not successful with the more traditional approaches.


Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 11/12/2013 (23:15)
ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,925
11/12/13 7:39 P

Houndlover1, the inuit don't have that diet anymore. Like many other populations, they have started eating more Western foods. Studies of the inuit diet today don't find this 'healthful' diet that was described from a few studies done many years ago. But - the good news is that Canada, which has the territories where the inuit live, collects data like crazy on that population, and other similar populations living in the frigid regions. Their studies are very interesting. What I find peculiar is that the lifestyle of the inuit matches the lifestyle of Americans and almost everyone else in the world NOT at all. We don't go out for 8 days to find something to drag back in subzero weather to be dismembered and consumed or dried or frozen. We don't then spend the rest of our time searching for berries. I mean, come on.

11/12/13 6:51 P

Be careful when using population studies. They are good for preliminary evidence; but clinical studies bring about evidence to implement as nutrition therapy.

Regarding the populations who consumed (in the past) primarily coconut oil (a saturated fat)---yes, this is true, but their diets are still low in total fat intake and extremely high in fruits, veggies and fiber. Good information; but the real take away is to eat low fat and eat more fruits and veggies. The take away is not to eat more coconut oil or have a high saturated fat intake.

Same holds true for the Inuit population (of the past) with a high fat intake coming from fish blubber. This fat is very high in omega-3 fatty acids. Which in high enough amounts brings about a blood thinning reaction. Explains why this population was at risk for brain hemorrhages. They fell on the ice, hit their head and died of a brain bleed. So the take away is to include 3 servings of fish weekly. The take away is not to eat an excessively high diet of fish blubber.

Your SP Registered Dietitian

Edited by: DIETITIANBECKY at: 11/12/2013 (20:25)
LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,690
11/12/13 5:07 P

Whether or not you use the word "promote" it seems to me that this is is the point of all the high fat/low carb posts...trying to promote that diet (usually with careful wording that pushes the limits to the max while trying to make it seem like that's not the point of the posts). The fact that you have now stated that this is what you are doing by using the word "promote" really just confirms things for me.

So far as low fat diets go, I really don't see anyone suggesting them these days. Low fat is not what is recommended by the government or Spark People.

Anyway, that's it for me in this thread.

Edited by: LOVE4KITTIES at: 11/12/2013 (17:30)
RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/12/13 2:46 P

Love, way to distill everything I have said down to one word, and ignore the meaning of the rest of the post.

The promotion of diets being banned is so we don't have someone selling a product or stating that their diet is the best way for all people to eat.

Since no diet is healthy for all people, SP would be foolish to ban all other discussion of other diets, and would actually be causing people to be unhealthy. They are wise enough to allow discussion, which is why there are many teams for almost any diet out there. Yes, they use the federal guidelines if they are directly asked what is good, and that is their suggestion. They have to promote a diet that helps the most people possible, but they understand that there are millions of people who do not do well on the diet, and have to seek other ways to achieve their health goals. The idea that if someone asks me how I am getting healthier, and losing so much weight, I can't tell them about it is ridiculous, and not the intent of SP. As long as I am not seeking out other members, and telling them to eat low carb, I don't think I have crossed any lines that are a problem. I would say that I am pretty measured in what I say most of the time, and feel that if I do cross the line, SP will let me know, and I will amend my comments to explain it better.

Of course, since the word promote bothers you, I will retract it, and just say, I spend a lot of time answering questions about what I eat, or how I eat, from people who have tried the diet their doctors gave them, and have zero results. I don't search them out, and sometimes I tell them to not even try low carb. I just explain the diet, and some of the benefits I have experienced, when they ask. At that point it is up to that person to decide if it is even relevant to them.

If low fat was working, in practice, then no one would be asking questions. Also, if they thought the experts had the answers, they would be asking them, and not asking me, or other people about what worked for me. The reason they have given up on the experts, is that they followed the advice, and it didn't work, so they asked again, and were told the same answer. When they say " But that doesn't work! ", they are told " Studies show that that is the answer ".

Expecting people to just give up and live unhealthy lives is almost as ridiculous as expecting someone who has gotten rid of these problems, not explaining how, when asked a direct question about what worked for them.

Many diets work, and many people have seen success on all of them, and people decide every day to seek these people out, and ask them for more insight, so they do not fail in their attempt at better health. If they could go ask how to do low carb from their nutritionist, they would do so, but when they try, they are just given warnings, and many times help is refused.

So I do spend time every day talking about the benefit of low carb dieting, and my diet in general. So do many other people from many other diets. If I use the term sharing, instead of promoting, would that make it better?

Edited by: RUSSELL_40 at: 11/12/2013 (14:49)
BEARCLAW6 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (15,376)
Posts: 1,939
11/12/13 2:26 P

That is exactly why those of us who like much about SP but don't eat the way they suggest try to make sure to phrase things in ways like this: what works for me is... and I have had success on....

What I have found in my last couple of years of eating....For me...and possibly only me because what on earth would I know, I am just a biochemist... I try to eat low carb/high fat. In fact, in the last four years, the times when I have been healthiest (based on blood lipid, blood A1C, resting heart rate, blood pressure, energy level, ability to climb stairs, ability to exercise for extended periods of time without stopping) have been when I ate the least carbs and the most fat. Guess what...for me that means eating a lot of heart-attack inducing, evil, bad for me, will make me die a lonely and miserable death in some forgotten gutter saturated fats!
The times that I have had weight gain and/or low energy is when I added back in starchy or sugary carbs. Over a year ago, I was advised by my doctor (for a non-dietary reason) to add back some more fiber to my diet. I did that by increasing my whole grains and gained 30 lbs in a shockingly fast period of time. I mean, wow it was amazing what cravings, binging and hunger I went through by eating MORE food! Eating more carbs made me hungrier! It took me a long time to finally get back on the low-carb wagon, but even a year later still fight with that carbohydrate beast. Just me, here. For me, that saturated fat doesn't look so bad if it enables me do triathlons while the carbier foods make me hungry and lethargic.
But that is just me....I am not going to suggest that saturated fat is good for you or that eating the majority of your calories from carbohydrates is unwise.

11/12/13 2:14 P

Breaking news in Canada today.

"The study found that this group had cholesterol levels between eight and 13 per cent lower than when they began the study and compared to the control group. But the death rates from cardiovascular and coronary artery disease also “significantly increased” in this group."

The oil industry says the research is flawed :) What else can they say I'm assuming they'd like to keep their jobs.

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
11/12/13 2:01 P

how do you explain the good health of populations like the Inuit who live on over 90% fat in their diet, mostly animal blubber?
I want to add that there are also people groups who traditionally ate diets very high in coconut oil which is about 90% saturated fat and these people groups were very healthy as long as they ate this diet and only became sick as they changed to a Western diet that includes lots of carbs from grains.

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
11/12/13 1:45 P

let me say that I agree completely with what you said.
For everyone else:
I may need to clarify at this point that the title of the thread: "Saturated fats are good for you", is not my opinion, but I was paraphrasing the title of the video I linked. My opinion is just an opinion like anyone else's. My personal experiences are just that, my own solely.
I did think the video is worth discussing, which means to look at the positive and the problems in it.
To post it as a topic of discussion is not violating spark guidelines as the purpose is not to dissuade anyone from doing what spark guidelines recommend. The purpose is to learn about nutrition. Learning never happens if things can't be discussed openly.
To avoid further confusion about this I will go back to the initial post and see if I can change the title of the thread.

Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 11/12/2013 (13:47)
ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,925
11/12/13 1:43 P

And in this case, the entire PDF is available free for downloading.

'It is quite clear that the effect of a specific food (eg, meat and
dairy products) on risk of CVD cannot be determined simply on
the basis of the fatty acid profile of a food. Epidemiologic studies
have shown a lower risk of CVD with lower intakes of full-fat
dairy products and fatty red meats and higher intakes of PUFAs
from vegetable fats, which is consistent with strong evidence that
replacing SFAs by PUFAs reduces the risk of CVD (38). The use
of nonhydrogenated vegetable oils (including canola or olive oil
rich in MUFAs) decreases the CVD risk compared with animal
fats. Thus, although the evidence is stronger for PUFAs, indirect
evidence suggests that SFAs could also be replaced with MUFAs
as well as unrefined carbohydrates with a low glycemic index. A
valuable way to communicate the message is to describe the
broad dietary pattern that decreases CVD risk. Note that only
a minority of different populations adhere to a healthy dietary
pattern. A healthy dietary pattern is primarily plant-based and
low in SFAs, but can include lean meats and low-fat dairy
products in small-to-modest amounts.
Because CVD is the leading cause of death in most countries,
the relation of diet to CVD should figure prominently in dietary
recommendations. However, other important issues, such as
obesity, and incidence of cancer and osteoporosis, should also be
considered; at present there is no clear relation of SFA intake to
these outcomes (39).'

Edited by: ALGEBRAGIRL at: 11/12/2013 (13:44)
AMBERT79 Posts: 54
11/12/13 1:31 P

This topic was on another board yesterday with this article linked:

Read what you want about it, but ever since the "low fat diet" concept came out in the 70's, people have only gotten fatter and heart disease has become our number one killer! I actually take independent studies more seriously than other published papers backed by big business/science (who most times are companies like Coke, ConAgra, etc..) Many of those studies are biased. Just look at the graphs in the link above that show other countries that have higher sat fat intakes and lower level of heart disease. (not to mention obesity levels) Now I don't think anyone here is arguing that we live off saturated fats, just not to be so obsessed with omitting them. Refined carbs and sugars are far worse for our bodies than sat fats.

Edited by: AMBERT79 at: 11/12/2013 (13:33)
LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,690
11/12/13 1:07 P

" especially, if it cuts into time I am currently using to promote low carb/high fat. "

Low carb/high fat diets, telling people to eat a diet filled with a bunch of saturated fats, etc. are not what Spark People recommends and the community guidelines actually say that using this site to promote diets that directly contradict its program recommendations is not allowed.

This comes directly from the Spark People Community Guidelines:
"All SparkPeople diet advice has been approved by a Registered Dietician because it is considered to be a serious health issue. Because of this, please be careful about what you recommend to others, as it could be dangerous if you go outside of medically-accepted boundaries. We encourage members to help each other using the SparkPeople recommendations. We do not allow members to promote diets that directly contradict our program recommendations."

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/12/13 12:54 P

Birgit - I hope to have time to watch the 53 min. video Wednesday, and may have more comments on the actual topic. I am sure that you will represent the topic well. I am on the fence, until I do more research, which you have provided a lot of, along with others.

I tend to be more focused on low carb, and my own personal health, and this seems to be a debate, which as I said, needs to happen, but I just only have so much fight, and right now proving saturated fats are good, is a little too much for my time constraints, especially, if it cuts into time I am currently using to promote low carb/high fat.

While it may have helped me, as I stated, it is a small part of a low carb plan, and I just have to look at the big picture most of the time, so forgive me if I do not get behind this effort 100 %. I support you in your efforts, but I would be uncomfortable saying saturated fats are good for you, merely because with all my doctors visits, and time constraints, I just haven't had time to do research. So all I can do until then, is offer my personal experiences, which don't prove your point, but DO provide some evidence that saturated fats can bring about some healthy aspects.

I think where I am at is that almost everything we believe about nutrition is up for debate, and we should have that debate, but I don't think it is one or the other. Are saturated fats okay as part of a high carb diet? Are they okay in a doughnut?

My point is we don't eat saturated fats by themselves. We eat them as part of a dish. So a donut would combine sugar, starch, high carb, and some saturated fats. I would think this is horrible. However 2 T of butter I eat daily with 4 XL eggs, and some mushrooms. I don't think it is harmful to me at all.

I guess I just think it is much more complicated than saying saturated fats are either good or bad. I would say that saturated fats aren't necessarily bad for you, but how you consume them matters. I will get to the videos eventually, and I am guessing that we are talking about saturated fats by themselves in isolation, but I just think that is as unfair as low fat people saying that their diet works, as long as people eat certain foods.

Like low fat foods, we have an idea what foods people will eat to get saturated fats, and in practice, saturated fats, if eaten as part of certain foods, may be extremely unhealthy.

As a completely academic argument, you may be right, and I hope people understand that this is a discussion. In practice, though, other factors may become involved, and determine the overall health. I don't want to sound like a disclaimer, but those details matter. Some people might just read the title, and just think, no one really knows, and if saturated fats are healthy, then I can eat any form of it, as part of any diet.

I know this is not your intent, or even your problem to monitor what you say, and how others will react to it, but I think some negative reactions are less about having a debate on this, and more on the declarative statement that was the thread topic. I am hoping to be convinced when done, but right now, I am just not there yet.

Right now, I am just saying, we should be open to discussion, but cautious how we say things.

Jenni - I think 80 % of diet is agreed on by most people. We may eat varying percentages of macros, but if I eat 10 % carb from veggies, and you eat 50 % from fruit and veggies, we are both following the same basic ideas, especially if we are avoiding the higher glycemic fruits, and veggies, or at least limit them. The same is true of fats. I eat 60%, and you may east 20-30 %, but the types of fats matter. Obviously avoiding trans fats is agreed upon, and I eat boneless skinless chicken thighs, but add light olive oil. I just don't like the skin. I don't think you would have a problem with the chicken or the oil, just the macro percentages.

We both agree doughnuts, and soda are bad for you, and have a core of the same ideas, and we can discuss it, and explore the other 20 %, which is being done right here on this thread. We tend to focus on the 80 % that we all agree on.. eat more fiber, eat veggies, avoid sugar. Meanwhile we are clueless on the 20 %. Is saturated fat bad for you. Eggs? Bananas?

Do we really need someone else telling us that sugar is bad. Sadly, many still consume sugary foods, but not from lack of knowledge. Where we lack knowledge is in the 20 %, and no one is even discussing it. The experts are getting paid to repeat to us the 80 % we agree on. We should be discussing things that are confusing, such as why do I do okay on a 10/30/60 diet, and others do well on a 50/20/30 diet, but we don't do well on each others diets. if you ask why saturated fats are bad, the only response you will get is , because it causes heart disease, or studies say it is bad for you. Most often followed up with a posting of a website that backs them up. Actual details of why saturated fats cause heart disease, and in what circumstances will never be discussed though, except maybe here, but purely as debate, not anything that will change the way we think of diet.

I appreciate anyone willing to weigh in on a debate, especially if they are willing to admit they do not have all of the answers. Many times Becky Hand will come along and knock down my tower of ideas, but if your hypothesis does not stand up to scrutiny, it is false, and should be knocked down, and a new solution should be found. I sincerely doubt we will come up with that here, but the only reason it would be studied by people that could make change, is if there is a desire for that to happen. I think we are far enough along with low fat to see that the way it was implemented did not work, and can see that some tweaking could help, but for others a whole new diet may be necessary. Most importantly though, we need to look at the results, and make some noise because they are disastrous. Tell the experts that we don't think their solution/hypotheses are working, and to take another look at things, and explain why it isn't working.

I think we can agree on that, and as a society, we will survive a little debate, just maybe not the

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
Posts: 2,489
11/12/13 7:52 A

Russell, I think we surprisingly agree on many things and that was articulated very well. I do believe that this style of eating has very promising potential for those with diabetes and other health conditions and deserves further investigation by the mainstream. I would also love to see more emphasis on added sugars being very detrimental to health and that "low-fat" is not synonymous with "healthy". I believe we've discussed before, I am not a low fat proponent. My daily intake is somewhere around 30-35%. I think low-carb proponents are bringing some interesting discoveries to the table. That we can learn from even if many of us do not go full-on ketosis low-carb. I personally have taken away the emphasis on more veg over grains (although, it is personal preference... veg just tastes better than most grains and I've never been a big grain person). I also believe that any food in it's natural state (in this example with certain unsaturated fats) is how nature intended us to eat it. When we tamper with it, is when we run into problems. That when accompanied in a certain type of diet they may be non-harmful or in fact beneficial, depending on what food they are replacing. This of course is a personal belief, I am not qualified to make any assertion when it comes to saturated fats, certain medical conditions or comment on the details of the video.

I think discussions like this can be helpful when presented in a way that there is not a one-size-fits all for diets and that many styles of eating can be just as healthy as the next if followed correctly and depending on individual considerations as your post clearly pointed out. When fear-mongering is avoided. I find that a lot of times these conversations come off as; if you don't eat my way... you're killing yourself or eating an opposing style is somehow less healthy for all people across the board... evangelism. For example, in the Great Grain Debate. I do believe that certain people do no tolerate certain foods but I find it's unsupported to say that whole grains are unhealthy for everyone. Just as the vegans with dairy.

That's what I like about your posts; clarity and you apply a fair and intellectually honest approach when presenting low carb.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 11/12/2013 (09:16)
HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
11/12/13 1:37 A

Russell, thank you for saying it better than I could.
And this sentence summed it up very well for me:
"So, I think if this thread causes questions to be asked, that is a good thing, and the experts shouldn't be warning us not to ask questions, but they should be looking to provide the answers. We are not looking to provide them, we are just saying the answers you gave us, are WRONG for some of us"


HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
11/12/13 1:30 A

So, just out of curiosity, who has actually watched the original video I posted? Some of the comments made make me wonder. I'm not necessarily looking for agreement but for discussion of the research and issues presented in the video.

EXOTEC Posts: 3,327
11/12/13 1:25 A

Thank you RUSSELL for another intelligent and thoughtful post. Your info is always helpful!

And AGILEDOBE - I liked that book too! I'd forgotten about it. I'm going to have to go back and look it over again. I remember thinking it had lots of great concepts. Maybe comparable to Wheat Belly. Thank you for reminding me!

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/12/13 1:05 A

Jenni - I think that the issue is that for some people, eating what is recommended is causing them to eat the food that is not recommended, so it is very relevant to the conversation.
For these people following even a low fat diet as it was intended is unhealthy. However, this is a limited percentage of the populace.

The rest is because of food manufacturers, I agree. However, that is the reality of a low fat diet being preached by the government. You can't divorce the diet, from the reality, just because the people did not eat the right food.

What the government said was lower fat reduced the risk of heart disease, and I hope they had good intentions when they did so. If they did, then they are aghast at what it has become. The problem is, they created this.

You came out and said low fat is best, and are now amazed at the fact that food manufacturers took the basic idea of low fat, and made a bunch of low fat, unhealthy food, that makes people crave more food. What did you expect from a bunch of people that have to report their profits to stockholders. The market was now low fat, so they made food to fit that niche. The problem we have is that they care nothing about the health of the individual, all they care about is their profit margins, which are excellent!

I am not sure if they are just naive, or created this diet that would make their agricultural contributors wealthy in return for help in keeping their cushy jobs, but low fat is an unhealthy diet in practice. Can low fat be healthy? Sure, and some people do well on high carb/low fat, but a large majority of people hear high carb, low fat, and think.. a 3 Musketeers bar now has 45% LESS fat, so it must be good.

This could be solved if everyone saw a dietitian and was trained in nutrition at a young age, so that they could do low fat properly. As a low carber, my greatest fear is that they turn their gaze upon the foods I now enjoy, and ruin them also.

I am diabetic, and I know it wasn't carbs that caused this, but certain carbs. Also I believe that if I had caught it earlier, the remedy ( low carb ), wouldn't have to be so strict. I currently eat less than 50 grams a day in carbs, and would love to eat 100-150 grams. Some of our favorite foods are carbs.

I understand that there is a difference between sugar, and vegetables, even if both are carbs. Low carbers are not against carbs, we just are against certain types of carbs, for some individuals. We also believe some carbs are not part of a healthy diet. Sugar is an obvious one. Of course, if we didn't eat 150 lbs of sugar a year for decades, we might not get to the point where we needed 50 grams a day to keep sugars stable,right?

I don't think you will ever be able to separate out the low fat unhealthy foods though, and we are producing millions of diabetics, and in discussion with our nutritionist, I have agreed that many people do well on the diabetic diet, if they find out early enough that a small correction is enough.

What I disagree, is with these one size fits all ideas.. the diabetic diet is a benefit to any diabetic, but I do not think it is the best diet for diabetics. I think we should not be trying to manage a disease, but cure it, or put it in remission, so that it is not a daily worry for the patients. This is an example of where people who are choosing not to follow the advice given by experts are getting BETTER results. I have talked to hundreds of diabetics who are on very low carb, and they are all getting weaned off their meds, and have amazingly similar Hemoglobin A1C levels.. 5.0-5.5 for most.

I am not going to sit here and say I think saturated fats are healthy. I think it depends on what diet you are on. I think it is worth noting that I followed the advice of an author ( Taubes ), who I do not believe is a doctor, at least not of medicine, and unlike the experience I had following actual doctors, what he said occurred exactly as he said. Why does nothing happen the way my doctors said, but some guy writing a book gets it 100% right?

I don't think the author is smarter than the doctors. I think that the doctors are either being lied to, or afraid to look for different solutions to a problem, out of fear of lawsuits. If a doctor claimed saturated fats are safe, even if he stipulated that it was only on a very low carb diet, he would be sued, and called a hack. So why would anyone speak out, even if they see 1/2 of their patients not getting the results they claim result from the diet they put forth.

When I first found out I was diabetic, my doctor explained in vague terms, the diabetic diet, and referred me to a nutritionist, and classes to help me out. After he gave me the basics, I said that I understood that more details would be given by the nutritionist, and in the class, but asked him.. If I follow the diet, what will the results be.. how will I know if it is working.. give me a goal.

The doctor was speechless. He actually told me that no one had ever asked him that question. He recommends the diabetic diet to thousands, and no one ever asked him how they would know it is working. Isn't that the goal of treatment.. to solve the problem? No. People just follow blindly what their doctor says to do, and even if they have a 7.5 A1C 5 years later, they think it is the best they can do, even though it did NOT work. This is madness.

So, I started to question a lot of things, and it was why I tried upping my saturated fats. It sounds preposterous. Saturated fats are bad! But it worked for me, on my diet. So for me, it had a healthy effect. Is it so unreasonable to suggest that I am human, therefore other humans on a similar diet, might not have the unhealthy effects that people on a low fat diet have from eating saturated fats. It might have to do with what foods they eat to get those saturated fats too, right?

I would go so far as to say that maybe saturated fats are not as dangerous as we believed, but it depends on the diet you follow. Just like low fat foods are not necessarily good for you, now that food manufacturers have invented many low fat foods that are bad for you.

In both cases, you need to stop and ask, is this the food they are talking about when they make these statements. You can eat saturated fats that are unhealthy, and others that can be healthy. You can eat low fat processed foods, and be a very unhealthy individual, or you can be extremely healthy.

I find it funny that some people on this thread are a little upset that anyone could claim that saturated fats are good for you, and while I agree that it is wrong to say that for everyone, it is also wrong for the government to just say saturated fats are bad for you. It is more complicated than that.

So while a low fat diet may be healthy for you, since you realized it did not mean eat any low fat food, in practice, many didn't get that memo, and are eating food more unhealthy than before, and maybe ever. That is the cause of many obese people. Another problem is people like me, who actually ate whole grains, skim milk, salads, fruits/veggies and lean meats, just like we were advised 90 % of the time, and the result was weight gain, soaring BP, and glucose levels.

So a discussion needs to be done. Low carb isn't for everyone, and low fat isn't for everyone, and the solution for many lies somewhere in the middle. By being inflexible, you are helping some, but not all.

What needs to happen is that when we get to this point where there is hypotheses that differ, is we explore this further, and instead of saying saturated fats are good or bad for you, explore various forms of them, in various diets, and see if they are healthy on some diets, and not on others.

This doesn't happen, so what you have in America is a bunch of people, who realize that their doctor is clueless, and get tired of no results, so they experiment on themselves. This is not a good thing, but neither is waiting to get sicker, and die.

I, personally am not telling my story to try to convince people to try eating the way I do, I just think that if you aren't getting results, you should question the treatment. There are multiple examples of common medical thinking being completely wrong, and later we find a better treatment. So why shouldn't we question things?

So, I think if this thread causes questions to be asked, that is a good thing, and the experts shouldn't be warning us not to ask questions, but they should be looking to provide the answers. We are not looking to provide them, we are just saying the answers you gave us, are WRONG for some of us. In our case, we need a different answer, and I would prefer if my doctor had them, instead of some author, writing a book.

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
11/12/13 12:47 A

The reason why I believe the saturated fat issue is so important is that we need to get our calories from somewhere. Too much protein can be harmful, and for anyone with metabolic syndrome and/or pre-diabetes, and that is way more than half of all people who are overweight, high levels of carbs just won't work, as even whole grains and other higher fiber carbs increase blood sugar and thereby insulin a lot. If people who are in this situation of having to limit carbs and keeping protein moderate and they believe they need to keep their saturated fat levels low then they don't have too many options. For this reason it is very much worth looking at whether saturated fats are in fact harmful.
I would challenge anyone to run an n=1 experiment by getting blood work done for at least a lipid profile and A1c test (which measures average blood sugar level) and then eating a low-carb/high-fat diet from natural foods which includes significant amounts of saturated fats, then repeat the blood work and see what happens. Also monitor blood pressure before and after and if possible measure % of body fat before and after. This type of experiment may not qualify as research but it is a great start to find out what works for us and can be repeated. I've just read too many reports of people who have had huge improvements and I am one of them. Even with 60% or more of my calories coming from saturated fat I have had only good results.

Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 11/12/2013 (01:03)
AGILEDOBE Posts: 428
11/11/13 10:26 P

I am reading " Life Without Bread" by Christian Allan & Wolfgang Lutz which does an excellent job of explaining low carb living & how it relates to many of the diseases we have these days, and with excellent documentation of why diet focus should be on greater intake of fats and protein for overall health. I watched the video link posted a few days ago and it is disgusting how the statins are promoted, the millions of dollars we have spent with the oharmaceuticals !
I have elected to try this diet approach and feel fine though it is still early to tell overall.

11/11/13 9:35 P

Foods that are high in vitamins and minerals are super important to long term health.

I think the OP simply wanted to help people get over their fear of saturated fat.

This is a really well done video summing up some of what I've learned over the last few years concerning saturated fat and cholesterol.

Edited by: JUSTEATREALFOOD at: 11/11/2013 (21:39)
11/11/13 8:52 P

To those following and participating in this thread, I find many of the references disturbing for they are not based on medical literature, published research, that has been peer reviewed and include valid scientific method.

The bottom line is this.
---The health effects of saturated fat cannot be considered in isolation. When one chooses to increase or decrease saturated fat in the diet it is very important to understand what nutrient is replacing these calories.
--Many studies conducted on humans have shown that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat , in particular vegetable oil, will "reduce" the risk of heart disease. Therefore cutting back on saturated fat to less than 10% of total calories is a practice to implement.
--- In contrast, replacing saturated fat with carbohydrate is unlikely to have any major effect on heart disease risk.
---AND Research is showing that replacing saturated fat with highly refined carbohydrates may actually increase risk of heart disease.

It is important to go beyond looking at one nutrient within the diet---rather the composition of the entire diet needs to be evaluated. The "types" of foods consumed and the dietary patterns are the greatest determinants of overall health. While Saturated Fat should be limited in the diet, it is important to pay attention to the foods used to replace the saturated fat.

If you ask me to back this up with a published paper, I provide this:

What upsets me is that it does not provide the actual article or even an abstract. But it really is a great review of this topic.

Your SP Registered Dietitian

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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11/11/13 4:50 P

Russell, I don't believe the issue is what has been recommended, the issue is that people don't follow what is recommended. The gov't guidelines do not recommend eating chips, cookies, cakes, heavily refined grains, high sugar beverages, fast food, etc. but that is what the majority of people eat. People don't cook their own food any more, they have it premade/prepared for them.

I personally did not get fat eating whole grains, legumes, dairy, lean meat, etc and eating the recommended servings and macro breakdowns. I got fat because once I tasted a bite of chocolate, candy, high sugar breakfast cereal... I couldn't stop. I ate frozen and premade lasagnas and dinners. I drank kool aid all day. When I went to a restaurant I ate 1500 cals in a single sitting. I grew up the skinny girl who was very active so I could eat whatever I felt like and stay thin but continued that way of eating even as I grew older, had two pregnancies and became increasingly less active. It caught up with me.

When I began following the food guide, limiting my sugar intake, eating more whole foods (and of course learning portion sizes and tracking calories) I was more satiated and less likely to overeat and I grew thin.

Random thoughts not directed at anyone in particular...

I do not believe that there is a one-size-fits all diet for everyone but I believe both the food guide and Sparkpeople provide a flexible, middle of the road and realistic eating plan for people of all considerations.

Some of us handle carbs better than others. Some of us handle fat better than others. I personally do not experience any negative effects from a moderate carb intake as long as those carbs are not coming from food high in added sugars or heavily refined. It just causes the hair on my back to stand on end when it is implied that everyone would benefit from one style of eating and anything less, they're killing themselves.

I absolutely acknowledge that we are still in our infancy of understanding diet science but with how fickle the process is to reaching strong conclusions I personally prefer to stick with the advice all of us can agree on or middle of the road (such as limiting processed/refined foods, getting plenty of veg, limiting added sugars, etc.) and prefer to stick to a moderation approach to macros. In every argument, there is opposing sides and somewhere in the middle lies the truth.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 11/11/2013 (17:01)
EXOTEC Posts: 3,327
11/11/13 4:13 P


And I agree, evangelism tends to push people away... although, as was mentioned, many things we (communal "we") accept as research and science are simply hypotheses. They stood up to some investigation, but are in dire need of deeper exploration. That's why they're only hypotheses, and not facts. Things we (at least in this country) were/are given as "facts" are based largely upon those hypotheses. I feel it's not fair for our experts to present such things to otherwise unsuspecting folks as solid information to base their nutrition upon. I have no objection to their saying, "this is our best estimation of what's healthy for the average individual." But to avidly dismiss and refute upcoming research - perhaps still with flaws, perhaps not perfect (even as the older and currently foundational research is) - just isn't responsible, IMO.

It's a valid point that to promulgate every "good" dietary theory is also counterproductive, because the -again, "average"- individual has no basis for discrimination between what seems right and what's full of ... well. You get the idea. OTOH, when there are studies, even observational ones, which correlate, come to similar conclusions, and are cross-referenceable, I tend to take notice. It's at least worth intelligent speculation and possible incorporation into my own nutritional plan. It's no issue to me to press it upon others, other than the idea that I'm concerned with the state we're in, and *I believe* that these new ideas are on the right track and would be helpful. If others choose to ignore them, that's their prerogative. As has been said, health is a unique journey.

I hope that discussions like this one will encourage others to do some researching on their own. Just don't stop where we've always stopped (AMA, ADA, etc)... because you'll get nothing but what you've always gotten if you take that approach.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/11/13 4:09 P

What should be the factors when determining what is healthy/unhealthy?

Seems simple. We should look at the people who are eating the way that is recommended, and see the results, and then make a hypothesis, based on that evidence, and the test it.

The problem is, we don't ever really test anything. We ask people who are biased to give conclusions, which they all to happily do, and usually these " studies " come out in their favor. They do not worry about any other factors, except the one they have already chosen.

They decided fat was bad, and then did a bunch of studies that "proved " it. They didn't feel the need to test whether the fat was part of a high carb, or low carb diet. This might have messed up their work. The problem was, their work was to prove a preset notion, not search for the truth.

The good news is, that despite their bias, and distortion of evidence, good things happened. We cut fat as a nation, and obesity, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease dropped to all time lows, and we are the healthiest nation we have ever been!

Except.... THAT is the opposite of what happened.... emoticon .. that last part was pure fantasy.

We have spent 40 years following this advice, and while the food we eat today, isn't the food that was intended on a low fat diet, it is lower in fat, and higher in carbs than our pre-70's diet. The results have been disastrous. Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and obesity have gone through the stratosphere. Maybe the results were because the food manufacturers made foods that were low fat, but higher in sugar, and that isn't what we are supposed to be eating, but it is the reality of low fat dieting. Without fat, food tastes like poo, so a lot of sugar and salt improve the taste, and sales go up. Manufacturers get rich, they meet the low fat qualifications, and we get sick.

This is the result of low carb, even if our current diet is a bastardized version of what they intended. So one has to ask.. Do results matter, or does what you hoped would happen matter?

More and more people are starting to question whether the " common knowledge " is actually knowledge, or just nutritional dogma, being spread out for our consumption, and anyone who disagrees is a heretic.

My experience with nutrition is in trying to overcome health issues that I have. I followed everything my doctors said to do, and what everyone said was healthy. I ate cereal with skim milk, turkey subs, and salad for lunch, and fish, or lean chicken for supper, along with vegetables, and a baked potato ( dry.. no butter/ sour cream! ). If I wanted dessert, a nice sugar free jello was acceptable.

The problem is... just like America, I got sicker, and fatter. I followed the advice, and didn't get the results they said would happen. I admit I didn't follow the diet 100 %, since not many can, but I followed it enough that I should have seen improvement at least.

Once I decided that wasn't working for me, I started looking for answers. Stupid me, I had the crazy idea that continuing to eat the " right way " wasn't going to work. I started low carb 4.5 years ago. I saw results for the first time, and started reading low carb authors. One of these is Gary Taubes, and that is the first time I heard that saturated fats weren't the cause of death. I had already upped fats to 50 % of my total diet,but saturated fats good?

I had already dropped my total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL in half, but my HDL was still very low, so I was taking Lovastatin every other day. I read that saturated fats could elevate HDL in one of Taubes's books. I of course thought this was crazy, but a few months later after my HDL fell to 24, I tried it. I upped fats to 60%, and made sure the saturated fats were 33 % of those, or 20 % of my total diet. A year later my HDL sits at 37, and I am off my cholesterol meds.

This is only one example of my improved health, but what has improved by eating saturated fats.

The problem is, should I follow the way that actually solved my issues, or what is said to be " the right way to eat " ? Do results matter?

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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11/11/13 3:23 P

Houndlover- I'm not sure what government you are under but my government does not recommend eating highly processed/refined foods and foods high in added sugar. Quite the opposite. We do not live in a nanny state. If we did, there would also be bans on the production of alcohol and cigarettes. These things are still sold despite how well researched and proved to be detrimental to our health they are. We must take responsibility for ourselves and as far as industry goes, as a consumer you (general you) are the most influential force. If we don't buy these things, they won't sell them. As long as people are purchasing Lucky Charms and Soda and there is a demand, they will continue to be sold.

As far as government recommendations. They're not there to teach the controversy. They stay with what currently has the most evidence backing it. If the evidence turns overwhelming to support another conclusion, things will change. There may be "studies" to support nearly every conclusion but it would be a tall order to teach them all. I don't disagree with you that there are probably plenty of benefits to the low carb lifestyle (high fat) and I believe it is promising for many people with certain conditions but until more research is conducted and more long term studies performed, you won't see the government backing it. It simply requires more convincing than a few short term studies that are up against decades of research/studies. That simply is not how the scientific process works, no one jumps ahead in line or crosses red tape. It takes time for evidence to become accepted fact.

Unfortunately, as far as organic foods, grass fed meat, etc. goes. Not every one of us has the luxury to afford these foods, they are more costly to both grow and raise and therefore more expensive to purchase. Some (I would wager a good majority of) people have no other option than to buy the alternatives if they want to feed their families. Particularly in my country, our food prices are nearly double the cost of foods in the US. These options are just not realistic for a good portion of the population. Nearly 1/3 of my husband's take home pay goes toward groceries to feed a family of two adults and two small children. There is no extra wiggle room for "organic", "grass fed", etc.

There are many contributing factors to why it isn't as simple as the government putting health regulations on our food manufacturers. As I mentioned above, the cost of food would rise significantly when many people already struggle to put food on their table. I imagine changes to farming infrastructure/production would have to be greatly redesigned. There has been many steps in my country toward healthier food production but these things take time and require a louder voice from the people that this is what they want. It also has to be realistic.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 11/11/2013 (16:15)
TINA8605 SparkPoints: (99,668)
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11/11/13 2:00 P

This fat, that fat, too much fat, too many carbs, too many this, too many that. WTH???? Our country has been on the healthy rollercoaster for years. I learned to eat unhealthy when I was put in a catholic boarding school. I learned more bad habits there along with no physical activity. My weight ballooned. I have been struggling with keeping my weight at a healthy level for 13 years now. I have decided just to eat a cleaner diet....period. More fruit and veggies and seafood and chicken. I have never been a fan of processed foods or fast food. While I have indulged in all the bad side of food I have learned what is better for ME! I have a eating problem....I just eat too much period. Even healthy food can be your enemy when you overindulge, period. The world is trying to make our food stretch further, last longer etc. This was the demand of the people and we are paying for it. If we would just go back to eating like we did before all these additives we would all be a bit more healthy.

OLGA18 SparkPoints: (23,433)
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11/11/13 1:38 P

houndlover, Nobody sold me on anything, that's my whole point.
I go by what makes sense to me and what feels right for my body.
I also consider how mankind has eaten since the dawn of time.

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
11/11/13 1:10 P

I would say it is extremely irresponsible for the government and industry to only tell one side of the story. In the last couple of years there has been more and more research showing the dangers of all processed foods, all high-sugar foods and all white flour foods. There is no question among serious researchers that these things are very harmful to health. But these foods are available to any person of any age, they are added to infant foods, marketed to toddlers, there is no tax imposed on them like there is for cigarettes, in spite of the fact that there are millions of people in this country who are addicted to sugar, wheat and have metabolic syndrome and/or insulin resistance.
That is a highly irresponsible lack of action by our government (both parties) that has supported big agribusiness instead of helping consumers make healthy choices.
As far as saturated fats: don't take my word or anyone's word for it. Read the research that is truly independent and therefore unbiased. Remember that some research (in the strictest sense of the word, meaning controlled double-blind studies) can not be done because of lack of funds or because it would inhumane to do so. So we have to be happy with what we can find out and be open to the possibility that what any so-called authority tells us may be wrong.

GIPPER1961 Posts: 766
11/11/13 12:41 P

Actually there is a lot of evidence that saturated fats are at least not as bad as they have been made out to be. There is also a lot of evidence that eating sugar and grains CAN BE worse for you than eating saturated fat. The problem is that the gate keepers of nutrition don't fund these surveys so therefore say they aren't credible.

As for irresponsible, is it responsible to not hear that up to 50% of people that have heart attacks have what is considered to be healthy cholesterol. Is it responsible to keep telling people that cholesterol is the biggest component to the risk of heart attack. Is it responsible to have doctors keep sticking statins down our throats when there is much research telling us not only that cholesterol does not the hold the role previously thought but that the side effects of statins are doing real damage to people who take them?

There is much conflicting data about health and nutrition but the AMA, the heart association and many other leading organizations simply won't recognize the data because they don't fund them. By the way many of the boards of these organizations are populated by members of the drug industry. That of course is not proof of wrong doing, and am not charging that there is wrong doing but there is a great amount of nutritional research that the average person simply never sees because it is kept out the main stream press.

11/11/13 10:07 A

There is a reason it's called the lipid hypothesis.

"However, a meta-analysis of cholesterol-lowering trials found that trials that were supportive of the lipid hypothesis were cited almost six times as often as those that were not, and although there was a similar number of trials unsupportive of the hypothesis, none of them were cited after 1970, some of the supportive reviews also exclude and ignore certain trials which were less favorable to the hypothesis; this meta-analysis, considering the less-cited trials, found that mortality was not decreased by lowering cholesterol, and that the lowering of cholesterol was unlikely to prevent coronary heart disease.[29] "

"The lipid hypothesis has dominated cardiovascular research and prevention for almost half a century although the number of contradictory studies may exceed those that are supportive."

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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11/11/13 7:10 A

I just feel it's rather irresponsible and confusing to be to telling those on this forum who are new to diet/nutrition that saturated fats are good for them when there currently isn't enough research to support such an assertion. Certain types may very well be good for us/non-harmful. As I said, I wouldn't be surprised but to assert that they are good for you as a fact is not accurate. Some studies suggest certain types of saturated fats may be good for you, some show the exact opposite. Until further research is conducted and there is conclusive evidence my advise to Spark members would be that it is best to err on the side of caution.

Intellectual honesty should override evangelism.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 11/11/2013 (11:19)
HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
11/10/13 10:25 A

Research that links saturated fat to cardiovascular disease either does not distinguish between saturated fat and hydrogenated fat or it does not distinguish between a high-fat/low-carb diet and a high-fat/high-carb diet. It is the high carbohydrates that cause a huge insulin-spike which leads to inflammation, which leads to the body fixing the damage using cholesterol.
Using an imperfect but hopefully helpful analogy. If you have a little cut on your finger then your body will heal itself quickly by forming a protective barrier over it and after a week it's gone. If you keep cutting your finger in the same place or keep rubbing against it many times a day eventually you will have a bloody, messy finger that can't heal.
The same is true of our arteries. High carb levels lead to chronic inflammation and the body's way of fixing the problem, cholesterol, is just not enough. Mother nature was not prepared to deal with the amount of carb crap many of us put in our bodies, especially in the form of highly processed carbs, far removed from natural foods.

Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 11/10/2013 (10:27)
EXOTEC Posts: 3,327
11/10/13 10:00 A

In a couple sources I've checked, there's been some indication that studies which associate fats and CVD failed to separate out trans-fats from other fats - even from saturated fats. Trans fats (at least in those sources) are the true culprits. Hydrogenated fats, partially or otherwise, are also "processed" enough in most cases to cause rancidity... and whether that relates to heart disease or not I'm not sure.

Even so, there are people who can't (digestively or metabolically) handle fats. My husband is one: it "cleans him out," for lack of a better descriptive. TMI, even so! lol

I think we need to determine what healthy eating is on an individual basis (within reasonable guidelines), but the one-size-fits-all approach certainly *doesn't* "fit all." Fats are healthy nutrition for me. They seem to have similar attributes for others as well. But personal experience is just that, and (IMO) should only be used to make gentle modifications in "what works" for others.

Great link, btw, JERF! I love Chris Kresser. He's a respectable resource. I hope others will follow and read.

Edited by: EXOTEC at: 11/10/2013 (10:02)
11/10/13 8:57 A

I really like this article written by Chris Kresser explaining what causes elevated LDL particle number.

As for the imagery of the fat clogging the sink we have to remember that saturated fat liquifies when it is warm inside our bodies. It doesn't get trapped like that old imagery suggests. Coconut oil, butter and lard all liquefy on my palm. It's the same when it's in your body where it's even warmer.

Breast Milk is super high in cholesterol! Because it's essential for the infants developing brain. I don't believe that something that is that important for development can turn into something bad for us. It just doesn't make sense.

"Fat and cholesterol are very important components in human milk. In fact, the milk from a healthy mother has about 50 to 60 percent of its energy (kilocalories) as fat.1 The cholesterol in human milk supplies an infant with close to six times the amount most adults consume from their food."

Edited by: JUSTEATREALFOOD at: 11/10/2013 (08:59)
JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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11/10/13 8:42 A

I wouldn't be entirely surprised if saturated fats were found to be less harmful as well as have certain health benefits than previously understood. Perhaps if used in a certain type of diet or some other venue that has been neglected further research. However, the most overwhelming and current research links a high consumption of saturated fats to cardiovascular disease. Which means I wont be slathering my porterhouse in butter tonight.

The way I see it, I'd rather stick with something that has proven health benefits (namely unsaturated fats) than put my health at risk with something that is still controversial. Besides my personal preference is that I don't care much for animal fats (I realize there's other sources of saturated fats) with the exception of a nice oily salmon. It is actually a big reason I have never been a red meat person. It makes me gag. I don't mind a little saturated fats in my dairy but I don't eat butter and I prefer to stick to the tried and true olive oil for cooking.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 11/10/2013 (08:54)
HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
11/9/13 8:40 P

That reminds me of a popular TV show where someone piled up pounds of fat and said that this is what it looks like in our body. The picture was not very appetizing of course.
But it is also extremely misleading.
If I were to pick a different example: Our brain, and that of animals, consists of a lot of fat (and severely fat-restricted diets may not give our brains enough fat to function optimally) but if someone showed an animal brain in a cross-section on TV, many people would still find it very hard to look at, much less eat. There are negative emotional associations with fat that the food industry has fed to us for years. They are hard to overcome at first but we need to remember not to let our negative emotional associations get in the way of our decision making when it comes to our health.
I will give another example. It is subcutaneous fat the keeps our skin looking smooth. This is especially obvious as people age and their body has less subcutaneous fat, in particular in the face. This causes wrinkles and eventually skin that looks paper-like, very dry and not attractive.
To sum up fat, and in particular saturated fat, is extremely important for our health. It is only from certain types of fat that our body was not made to process (polyunsaturated fats from corn, soy, canola etc. that were originally made for industrial purposes) that damage is often done.
And, of course trans fats are extremely dangerous, which is why they will finally be outlawed.

Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 11/9/2013 (20:42)
EXOTEC Posts: 3,327
11/9/13 7:34 P

Yes - but fat in the bloodstream doesn't look like that fat you're envisioning! It doesn't get injected from your fork into your arteries.

Total cholesterol is no longer the gold standard for cardiovascular risk, but it's so ingrained in the medical communities that many still interpret heart health by that single result. You won't see most doctors ordering lipoprotein fractionizations, homocystine levels, etc. Those have now been seen to be better indicators. "High" cholesterol values are being rethought. The actual morbidity and mortality of CV events is *greater* for those with low or excessively high TChol. And by "excessively high," I'm not meaning simply elevated above our currently accepted reference ranges.

And then there are the pharmaceutical interests who are promoting their incredibly profitable statin drugs -- why would they do anything to reduce our dependence on the things which support them? It's a shame it's fallen so far from compassionate health care... but that does seem to be the case.

I agree, there's always something new and contradictory in the world of science and nutrition. Everything we're exposed to has to be filtered through our own lens of comprehension and applicability. Does that means it's different, I give up? The nature of science is that it changes. It has to change. It's good to change, and improve. It's good to throw out things which we learn we may have erred in. That's called education. Life is learning. If not for these things, we'd not be reaping benefits (and yes, detriments) of modern society. What if Louis Pasteur embraced those frustrations, and just gave up? Would you be as willing to live with the old standards then? Einstein, Newton, all the little discoverers and speculators whose names we may not even recognize... they all gave us challenges in thought. I feel that's been a good thing.

If others find it tiring or confusing and would prefer to just go along until something shakes up their world, that's okay too. But for me, I need to know. I will continue to reach for knowledge, even if it stretches my horizons and my safety zone. "Use it or lose it" the saying goes. I think that probably applies to our minds equally as to our bodies.

JOANBRESLIN SparkPoints: (11,674)
Fitness Minutes: (24,636)
Posts: 211
11/9/13 5:36 P

I will admit, I have no degree in nutrition, or even pretend to know anything abour nutrition. when I see an ingredient that has fats in it, I always think about what the fat looks like...uug....n how it clogs drains n think that CANT be good for my body

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
11/9/13 5:13 P

One way I can tell if people are knowledgeable and sincere is to check their bio.
Take Peter Attia, for example, who I have linked below on his website
If you read his bio you will find out that he is extremely well educated and that he practices what he preaches and goes through great length to describe the details of his personal health practices.
Of course there are other people who have just as good an education and integrity who disagree. Knowing the truth is not always easy.
But it is worth pursuing knowledge of the truth and I find it actually very fun and meaningful as it is this search for truth that enriches our lives and that of the people around us.
The reason I am on here on a Saturday afternoon in my free time is because I know that I may be saving lives, very rewarding to know.

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
11/9/13 5:05 P

Olga, just curious, who sold you on believing that saturated fat is bad for you?
Is it possible that the lipid hypothesis (which says that saturated fat is bad for us) was wrong?
I understand that once we have believed something for a very long time it is difficult to question it. If what people are doing is working very well for them then there may be no reason to change.
But if serious health issues like heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and obesity etc. remain maybe trying something different is a very good idea.
I do agree that our body has different needs and can't tolerate as many mistakes as when we were younger. I never had blood sugar issues until a few years ago, regardless of what I ate. When I was getting close to 50 my blood sugar was suddenly in the pre-diabetic range. Eating a low-carb/high-fat diet was the only way to improve my blood sugars and my lipid (cholesterol) profile to good levels.

LYNNIEV Posts: 394
11/9/13 5:00 P

HOUNDLOVER1: Thank you for providing all of this information. I may be reluctant to change as I get older, but I'm not so stubborn that I'm no longer willing to learn new information.

The thing is, looking back to my first post in this thread, I don't know what I believe anymore. Information is power, I agree with that much. But how do we know if the information we're receiving is correct? It changes with each passing year.

Hence the reason I don't really take it to heart like I used to.

Edited by: LYNNIEV at: 11/9/2013 (17:02)
LYNNIEV Posts: 394
11/9/13 4:56 P

Olga, yeah, I'm pretty much the same way. I became 'fat-phobic' years ago and just could never let go of it.

I've also never really bought into the whole carbohydrate debate, either. Our family (mother, grandmother, etc) grew up eating rice and potatoes and pasta and bread and no one in our family was ever overweight or obese. I didn't become overweight until my 20's and that's because I was careless about my eating. In my early 20's I met a man (that I almost married) who was a serious foodie and all we ever did was eat. We went out a lot, too. I don't attribute it to overeating any one specific food group; I attribute it simply to - overeating. Period.

I don't believe fat makes you fat and I don't believe carbs make you fat. What makes you fat is taking in more calories than you burn for energy. And I'm living proof that a high-fat diet raises cholesterol levels when nothing else in the diet has changed.

I'm not saying the people in these studies are wrong. I'm not a nutritionist, I'm not a doctor, nor am I a scientist. I'm just saying what works for me specifically as an individual. We're all different. Some people can get away with eating a high fat or a high carb diet with no consequence and others develop serious problems.

Bottom line, it whatever works for YOU.

I do believe, however, that as we age our bodies change. And it's very possible all the carbs I eat could be doing me harm because now that I'm late 40's, nearly 50, there's a good chance that what my body tolerated 10 years ago isn't being tolerated now. But I'm not changing again. I'm too old for this crap. And I'm frankly tired of worrying about it.

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
11/9/13 4:53 P

There is a very short and therefore incomplete answer to your question and there is a very long answer which I will make available with the help of a few more links.
Cholesterol has been demonized for a long time. But our body needs cholesterol, and lots of it, to function properly. Not all cholesterol is bad. Not even all LDL cholesterol is bad and not all HDL cholesterol is helpful. It is VLDL (very low density cholesterol) that is bad and also the dense, small type of LDL. The larger, fluffy type of LDL cholesterol is harmless. Triglycerides are best kept low (in our blood) but are very much needed for our body to function.
The dangerous types of cholesterol can be kept low by eating a low-carb diet (how low depends on the individual).
Most cholesterol tests at doctor's offices don't give enough information and are therefore misleading. Many experts now agree that the most helpful number is the ratio of HDL/Triglycerides. The higher HDL and the lower Triglycerides the better.
More on the cholesterol topic you can find here:

On the same website there is also an in-depth 9-part series about cholesterol by the same author.
Another great resource is this one:

The author of this book also has a very helpful website.
More good information on the topic is also here:
and here:

The effects of sugar and anything that our body turns into sugar (carbohydrates) increase insulin and insulin and the result is inflammation in our body. This inflammation takes many forms, including damage to our organs, joints (arthritis) , brain (Alzheimer's etc.) and it does damage to the walls of our arteries and cholesterol is our body's way to fix the damage. One type of sugar, fructose, is particularly dangerous, although it does not raise insulin levels.

I realize that as some of the questions get answered there may be even more questions coming up. I will do my best to link further resources and explain, to the best of my understanding, how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together.

Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 11/9/2013 (16:56)
OLGA18 SparkPoints: (23,433)
Fitness Minutes: (18,236)
Posts: 1,210
11/9/13 4:40 P

I eat by what makes sense to me and that is a varied diet of vegetables, fruits and lean protein.
You will never sell me on believing that saturated fat is good for me.

LYNNIEV Posts: 394
11/9/13 3:57 P

It's definitely a nice video, especially showing the graphics and such. But, for me, it still doesn't make sense why my cholesterol levels only go up when my fat consumption goes up. I've never counted carbs. In fact I'm a carboholic. I ate just as many carbs when eating low fat as I do now.

It's just confusing.

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
11/9/13 3:51 P

I totally understand your frustration. What we are being told by so many "health organizations" and doctors and of course the big food manufacturers is all based on making a profit. Much nutrition research is sponsored by big industry, either chemical industry, food industry, drug industry etc. and any research results that don't fit their interests are quietly discarded. It is indeed difficult to find out the truth.
The video I linked will answer most of your questions, including why your cholesterol levels went up when increasing fat (eating high-fat AND high-carb rather than high-fat and low-carb), which cholesterol values should be low and which should be high etc.
The media tend to report whatever makes the best headlines, not what is of the most benefit to real people.
We have no choice but to do our own reading and learning.
I shared this video because it is fairly easy to understand even without a background in science and it has helped many people to get educated about nutrition.
Don't give up learning, we all owe it to ourselves to get the best information available, and there is a lot in the last few years. emoticon


Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 11/9/2013 (15:51)
LYNNIEV Posts: 394
11/9/13 2:58 P

I'm not changing the way I eat again. For the last 7 years, since beginning my weight loss journey and changing my diet, the news about what's good for you and what's not has been like a rollercoaster ride. One day something is bad for you, the next day it's good for you, what you thought was good for you really isn't and what you thought was bad for you is suddenly beneficial to your health. I'm sick of the whole food debate, sick of the fat debate, the carb debate, the grains debate, the dairy debate....

It's enough to make you want to rip your hair out, throw your arms up and say screw this, I'm gonna eat what I want because if one thing don't kill me, something else will.

I don't listen to the 'experts' anymore. I simply eat what *I* feel is best for me and I live by one simple rule - everything in moderation.

My post is in no way any disrespect to you, HOUNDLOVER1, this is a good find. It's just I'm so tired of the food wars and especially tired of trying to figure out why my own cholesterol goes up and down. My doctor wants to put me on statins, but I refuse to take them. I do know one thing - when I was restricting fats (severely restricting) my cholesterol levels went down to normal. Since I've relaxed my eating habits and have started eating more fats (good as well as bad, although I limit saturated and stay away from trans) my cholesterol is back up again (trigs are climbing through the roof).

So somebody, please, tell me how saturated fat is good for me when all it does is shoot my cholesterol levels up to what my doctor considers to be too high. And how detrimental is it REALLY to have high cholesterol levels in the first place?

That's the main part that confuses me; not what's good for me and what isn't.

edit: stupid typos

Edited by: LYNNIEV at: 11/9/2013 (15:00)
HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
11/9/13 1:43 P

This talk by cardio-thoracic surgeon Donald Miller from the University of Washington contradicts conventional wisdom and I think is very much worth discussing. The author carefully explains why saturated fats are not bad for us at all and I think he is very convincing. If he is right then we need to completely change the way we eat to regain our health in this country. In fact, fixing the health care system without changing how we eat as a country will not work in my opinion.

Enjoy with an open mind and discuss with a positive attitude. emoticon


Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 11/12/2013 (13:51)
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