T Nation

More Evidence For Saturated Fats


This PhD candidate in neurobiology puts up some great information, including specific studies, charts and graphs.
Along with Ray Peat, Lita Lee and a host of others, he lays out the case against Polyunsaturated fats-PUFA- (Canola, Safflower, Vegetable oils) and makes the case, even more convincingly than Peat or Lee, for Coconut oil, animal fats and other Saturated Fats as well as Monounsaturated Fats, like Olive oil. He writes more clearly than Peat and more in depth than Lee, including links to studies as well as charts and graphs to illustrate his points.




I might just suck at reading comprehension, but is the author suggesting that we lower ALL polyunsaturated lipids (including EPA and DHA)?





Thanks for that link. I have to check it out more closely when I have time.


Laugh at all these people who shun all the saturated fat. Fucking idiots! A good amount of sat. fat from natural sources is the best testosterone stabilizer. Can even increase it especially if your new to it and lifting.


Nice link, was a great read

Thanks for sharing!!


Personally, I think it is more appropriate to laugh at all of the people who skim over a few articles and think they can draw conclusions and hold them against others for the rest of their lives.

small increases in test are insignificant in effect on body composition and may increase the risk of prostate cancer.

There have also been studies that show that a low protein high carb high fiber diet is better for increasing t-levels.

The point is, so what? That doesn't mean it's better for increasing LBM, and in that case is decisively inferior.

here is a study to refute the claim anyway:


"conclusion: Our observations suggest that a fat-containing meal reduces testosterone concentrations without affecting luteinizing hormone. This might indicate that fatty acids modulate testosterone production by the testes."


more relevant info:

As far as other health concerns, saturated fat affects how the liver handles cholesterol by impacting how well or poorly the liver can clear out bad stuff and there is huge variance on an individual level

Saturated fat in general is a controversial subject and there is no long term research to indicate it can have anything but adverse effects in the diet (this includes the manipulation of hormonal levels many cite as being positive I address in the last post)-but along these lines, there is really little evidence on long term effects in general (possibly positive) and further research is needed.

Reasonable intake of sat fat and not worrying about it is almost certainly fine for most active individuals and I personally enjoy my eggs and filets o beefs.

which is not the same thing as "saturated fat is definitely great for you and ur a moron if u dont eat it cuz brolan22 told me to holla"

here is an informative paper:


Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Sep;80(3):550-9. Links
Saturated fats: what dietary intake?

".... To date, no lower safe limit of specific saturated fatty acid intakes has been identified. This review summarizes research findings and observations on the disparate functions of saturated fatty acids and seeks to bring a more quantitative balance to the debate on dietary saturated fat. Whether a finite quantity of specific dietary saturated fatty acids actually benefits health is not yet known. "


and one more before I sleep:

J Nutr. 2008 Dec 3. [Epub ahead of print]
Saturated Fatty Acid-Mediated Inflammation and Insulin Resistance in Adipose Tissue Mechanisms of Action and Implications.

Kennedy A, Martinez K, Chuang CC, Lapoint K, McIntosh M.
Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27402.
This review highlights the inflammatory and insulin-antagonizing effects of saturated fatty acids SFA, which contribute to the development of metabolic syndrome. Mechanisms responsible for these unhealthy effects of SFA include: 1) accumulation of diacylglycerol and ceramide; 2) activation of nuclear factor-kappaB, protein kinase C-, and mitogen-activated protein kinases, and subsequent induction of inflammatory genes in white adipose tissue, immune cells, and myotubes; 3) decreased PPARgamma coactivator-1 alpha/beta activation and adiponectin production, which decreases the oxidation of glucose and fatty acids (FA); and 4) recruitment of immune cells like macrophages, neutrophils, and bone marrow-derived dendritic cells to WAT and muscle. Several studies have demonstrated potential health benefits of substituting SFA with unsaturated FA, particularly oleic acid and (n-3) FA. Thus, reducing consumption of foods rich in SFA and increasing consumption of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and poultry, fish, low-fat dairy products, and oils containing oleic acid or (n-3) FA is likely to reduce the incidence of metabolic disease.

my particular view is... "I don't know but I'll make sure to get my blood work done if my intake changes much". I tend to just eat and not worry about it

my main issue is just making assumptions instead of looking into it. It's clearly a complex subject with a lot of considerations and different opinions and I think the conclusion that there simply isn't sufficient research at this point (the same would apply to ketogenic type diets) is pretty reasonable


First of all, let me come clean and say that I am a layman, so I don't have expertise in these subjects. So, why did I post this?

(1) The arguments in favor of saturated fats (and reduction of PUFA)that the biochemist Ray Peat ( http://raypeat.com/articles/ ), biochemist Lita Lee ( http://www.litalee.com/shopdisplaycategories.asp?id=19&cat=Articles ) and the above guy make a lot of sense to me. One can not argue that he doesn't cite his share of studies.

That, of course, does not mean he is right (nor that he is wrong). I admittedly lack the expertise to judge those studies but, as I said, I found their argument compelling enough for me to experiment on myself and share with others here so that they can choose, or not choose, to investigate these ideas further.

(2) I have to go on my own anecdotal experience. For example, when I got into taking fish oil, I can honestly say that, after a few months, I saw no benefits. Maybe there were benefits, but I was unable to detect them. However, when I started taking coconut oil, I did notice, after a month, some positive, tangible results.

Aside from, taking coconut oil, there were no dramatic changes in my diet. My bodyfat went visibly down. No, I did not have it measured, but a little bit of tummy fat that had been impossible to get rid of (even though my estradiol levels were very good) noticeably diminished. I don't know if it was the coconut oil, the reduction of PUFAs, or both, but I am convinced that it was one of those, because there were no other changes to diet.

Anyway, one of the arguements of the pro-saturated fa partisans is that saturated fats, particularly coconut oil, improves thyroid and raises metabolic rate. My experience suggests that this might be true.

Now it could be argued that these are just anecdotal tidbits and that saturated fat could cause me problems down the line. Maybe. But one has to act upon the evidence one has, and, as I wrote above, I find the theory compelling and have
the results of my own, obviously limited, experience.

3) As far as I can tell, our ancestors were eating more saturated fats and less PUFAs than we do. First of all, it was highly uneconomical for them to make large quantities of seed and soy oils

and, correct me if I am wrong, but they would have to eat an inhuman amount of seeds and nuts to extract the amount of PUFAs we get from our daily eating of canola, safflower, soy and other vegetable oils. The question isn't, can we eat PUFAs at all. Obviously we can and have.

My question is, can we eat, without dire consequence, the large amounts that are present in the American diet (upon the recommendations of the American Medical establishment)? Perhaps our bodies are ill equipped to handles these amounts of PUFAs, since traditionally we have eaten more saturated fats and less PUFAs. The arguments made by Peat, Lee and the author of the linked blog point to this.

By the way, I am eating more or less 4 or 5 tablespoons of coconut oil a day, and trying to cook with coconut oil, butter or olive oil (olive oil is of course neither a saturated fat, nor a PUFA, but a Monounsaturated fat (MUFA), which according to these authors is not noxious like the seed oils.


Jeff, I agree that one must look into this, instead of just jumping to conclusions. However, one musn't assume that I just "jumped" into it, nor that other people have just jumped into it.

Of course, when faced with two opinions on a matter, the best you can sometimes do, after having reasoned to the best of your ability, is to jump in and try it for yourself. So, in that sense, I did "jump in" to this by experimenting on myself.

As I wrote in the above post, I am clear that my own educational background (Math and Computer Science with very little in the way of life sciences) precludes me from claiming any kind of expertise. I am just another slob trying to figure out the best way to improve my lifts and enhance my health. I do my best to weigh the issues and be true to my own experience (and believe me, I understand the shortcomings of relying on my own anecdotes).


We do however have those few millenia of human history before 20th century "science" told us how bad it was during which people ate animals with abandon and by all accounts did not suffer nearly the levels of non war and plague related mortality that we do now after having been enlightened.


We also live a lot longer now for such disease to "build up" over time. Living to 80-90 will change things compared to living shorter lives.


A very interesting point was made in the link that I hadn't been aware of and certainly isn't often mentioned: that high linoleic acid consumption (e.g. from vegetable oils) results in actual, substantial change in the lipid profile of the body's own stored fats.

Example figures given are, elderly subjects in the 1960s had average linoleic acid as percent of bodyfat at 11% going into the study -- as a result of their of-the-day typical diets.

After one year at high vegetable oil intake, the composition of their own bodyfat went to 20% linoleic acid, at which point apparently problems with gaining bodyfat developed.

After five years on high vegetable oil intake, their bodyfat became 32% linoleic acid.

Aside from, just from the impression of this, this does not sound good, the article points out that not only is the buildup slow, but clearance is very slow as well.

As a result later shorter term studies on effects of different lipid intakes are NOT from a baseline level of historically-normal linoleic acid content of the body, but of linoleic-acid loaded individuals.

That something may give a bad result with a linoleic-acid loaded individual does not mean that it must be bad for an individual who has not had his lipid composition so radically altered from historic norms.

Also, because of the slow clearance, a study not sufficiently long to allow the clearance to occur -- and almost none are -- may fail to show benefits of restricting linoleic acid intake to historically-typical levels, as the body has such a great reserve of it that temporarily reducing it from the diet may well not have the effect that actually getting the levels in the body down to historically-normal might have.


I don't buy that a diet that hasn't caused you serious health issues by 40 will by 80. We DO have children with insulin resistance, rampant obesity, hypertension and other related health issues that were practically unknown in young people before the 20th century and nobody's convincing me it's because they eat a lot of meat or even fat in general.

The average age has risen because we have controlled previously uncontrollable contagions and figured out ways to keep people breathing longer. It's a mistake to believe that always equals "living" longer. Being a walking pharmacy with an army of doctors as multiple Siamese twins is something I hope I don't live long enough to experience.

If food were chemically identical now to what it was 150 years ago, people would not only live longer due to our advancements, but would be healthier doing it. Impossible to actually prove, but I can't see it any other way.


Good post!


today i saw a commercial where they showed a family in the 50's eating butter and said "that was then but now we know better" fast forward to the present and they show a family eating breakfast with some margarine made from a "mix of healthy oils" which from what i've seen is 75%+ soybean + canola oil

i died a little inside when i watched this commercial


I've seen that commercial, and the first thought that entered my mind was, "Damn, that butter looks good. I am going to add even more to my mashed potatoes on XMAS Day." Well, Mission Accomplished!


Unfortunately I cannot access the full text of the study which reported a decrease in testosterone levels after consuming a high-fat meal. From the abstract I understand that they measured levels directly after a meal. I would very much like to know what sort of fat they used. Vegetable oil, animal fat and what was the PUFA, MUFA and SFA breakdown.

I found two studies which lasted 6 and 8 weeks, that report a significant decrease in testosterone levels after changing to a low-fat diet from a high-fat diet. The decrease in testosterone levels was around 10%. One of the studies not only lowered fat intake, but also greatly increased the PUFA/SFA ratio, the other increased PUFA/SFA ratio only modestly.


I then found this study, which gave the subjects 4 different meals, one was a lean meat meal (20% cals from fat), one was a tofu meal (20% fat), one was a meat meal with added animal fat (54% fat) and the last was a meat meal with added safflower oil (54%) fat. They then measured testosterone levels 2, 3 and 6 ours after each meal. They found that testosterone levels were significantly lower after the lean meat meal and tofu meal compared to the meat meal with added animal fat. The meal with meat and added animal fat resulted in little change from baseline and had the least area under the curve. This indicates that the animal fat results in a smaller decrease of testosterone levels than vegetable fat.


This study found that high fat intake decreases SHBG and low-fat intake increases SHBG (sex-hormone binding globulin).


Another study found that a high-fat diet increased testosterone levels by 13%.


Most of the studies defined high-fat as somewhere around 40% of calories from fat, some as around 50%. In most studies the high-fat diet also had a lower PUFA/SFA ratio.

Regarding saturated fat and insulin sensitivity, the review cited before overviews studies in rats and in vitro, but all the studies on humans have shown that saturated fat does not affect insulin sensitivity significantly.