T Nation

Saturated Fat

I’ve been reading some interesting information about saturated fat being our main energy source. The Weston Price website as well as the book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” gets into the health of societies eating a primitive diet w/ high saturated fat. I’ve read more support from 2 books by drs, “The Cholesterol Myth” and “Life Without Bread”, about the myths Sat. fat causes heart disease, the way the studies were misrepresented, etc, etc. 2 other Dr’s, Dr. Ron Rosedale and Dr. Greg Ellis as well of others taught me that all excess carbs, once our small glycogen reserves are filled, get converted into saturated fat. Ellis says this is b/c saturated fat is essential and our primary energy source. They all agree low carbs is necessary to derive most energy from fat and what we really burn during dieting and working out is Saturated Fat. Another interesting example is the Eskimos who suffer next to no heart disease, living mainly on protein and fat w/ no carbs. The Masai eat on avg. 300g fat per day (americans avg 100g), and have no heart disease and the lowest cholesterol levels in the world (and are damn lean 2).

Pete, I’ve seen Eskimo used on the site a caouple times so far and thought I should let everyone know what it really means. It’s actually a racist word used to describe the Inuit people of northern Canada. It tranlates roughly into “eater of dogs”. No flame intended.

Very interesting indeed. Thanks for the info and I would like to bump this thread up so we could get some more input on this subject…


  1. TRANS fatty acids (NOT cholesterol and saturated fats) appear to be the much bigger culprit in Heart Disease. TRANS fatty acids (created by the hydrogenation of vegetable oils to make them “hard” and thus more shelf stable) are not metabolized efficiently by the body. They create havoc for the bodies enzyme systems because of their foreign configuration, they become “rancid” within arteries, and in an attempt to metabolize them, the body produces enormous amounts of free radicals, thereby damaging very delicate arterial walls. The problem? The margarine, processed food, vegetable oil (corn and soy especially) and Hydrogenated Oil (as additive) industry in multi-billion in scope. And what they push is killing us as readily as cigarettes.
  2. The populations you mention, that while consuming large amounts of saturated fats, do three things: a)The are physically active. They have to be to survive. b) They are not exposed to these “plastic fats”. (It’s interesting that when previously healthy populations are exposed to a processed Western diet, heart disease goes up). c) Centuries of a REALATIVELY unchanged diet have made their bodies efficient at metabolizing their particular diets.
  3. What should we do? a) Avoid margarine, processed foods, “hard” vegetable oils and any processed oils).b) Increase our consumption of NATURAL Omega 3 oils, flax, Olive, etc. c) Don’t be afraid to consume eggs (WITH occasional yolks; remember they WON’T significantly increase your cholesterol AND the yolk contains artery-friendly lecithin). d) DON’T be afraid of consuming saturated fat (as is in animal meats) but in moderation. e) Make fresh water “fatty fish” a welcome staple to your diet (e.g. Salmon) and f)EXERCISE!

    The food industry may hate you…but your heart and arteries will thank you!

A few comments:

First, I have a hard time accepting these “cross-cultural” nutrition comparisons at face value. Personally, I’m not really sure how much relevance the Masai (or any other ethnic group) have to my particular case. I think that, with all of the genetic, cultural and environmental factors at play, comparing the Masai to a group of average Americans is like trying to compare kiwis to watermelons. Like Mufasa said, just the level of physical activity alone is radically different, and by itself probably enough to invalidate a direct comparison.

Add to that racial factors, environmental differences, other dietary differences, attitude differences (yes, the mind does affect the body - just ask any NAAFTA member) and so on, and I personally don’t think that any Masai dietary information is relevant to my case - or 99% of the other Westerners I know - at all. Disease information, yes. Dietary information, no.

Second, to Shitdisturber: Etomologically, the word “eskimo” may have the meaning you ascribe to it. But I’m willing to bet that it was not used in a perjorative (much less “eater of dogs”) sense in the original post. And thus it’s okay with me.

To me, one of the most annoying habits of the PCers is their high-jacking and redefining of terms. Take “Oriental” for example. Most PC people would faint if the term was use today, much preferring the word “Asian”. But what’s wrong with it? The orient is a precisely defined geographic region, encompassing most of Southeast Asia, and the people from that region certainly look more like what we think of as “Asian” than a general selection of people from all over Asia (which includes Middle Easterners, Indians and white Russians, among others) would. But “oriental” was the correct term at the time of the “Oriental Exclusion Act” (waaaay back in what, 1923?), so all of a sudden it’s deemed “racist”. And so we’re left with a poor substitute, one that is not only less accurate, but, if you want to be PC about it, actually disenfranchises a whole lot of non-asian-looking asians.

Welcome to dumbspeak.

Yo, Check out this website on saturated fat and why some is good for you:
http://www.piccadillybooks.com /articles/item0002.html

Few other points to mention:
keep in mind MCT fat is saturated FAT and MCT fat is very beneficial.

I would like to reiterate Mufusa’s point on Trans-fatty acids as the real detriment in the fat game.

Finally, it is well known that a little amount of sat fat is necessary to protect the body against various cancers.

I’m out to work

Yes, yes, they are healthy great. But what information can I use that will allow me to put more muscle on my already god-like physique?

char, I know pete intended no wrong I was just giving info, that’s all. That’s why I ended with “no flame intended”. Most people here are likely unfamiliar with northern Canada, that’s why I mentioned it. I am far from PC and didn’t think my post was snooty. Don’t be jumping to conclusions. I, like you have no time for this PC crap. I think your point about cultural differences is a good one. Just because the Inuit have been eating that way for a long time, until recently anyway, does not mean that diet will work for a population not accustomed to it. There may well be adaptations that each ethinc group group has made to cope with these varying diets. More study would be interesting that’s for sure.

It is interesting that the majority of the crap that lines and plugs artery walls is made up of nonsaturated fat.

Haleluja. Just like to add my support to those who are seeing the light regarding low carb /higher fat diets and their true implications in physical / pyschologiclal health. I concour with the points made by mufasa, especially the one about physical activity - personally, I believe that physical activity may be the most important point, since it is apparent that it is a constant in ALL of the ancient cultures, no matter what their diet.( A side note is that when certain cultures began to rely on agriculture their life spans decreased ). IMO, humans are meant to be active and an inactive lifestyle is going to lead to ill health no matter what diet you follow. If you are inactive, then the excess carbs and trans fats are going to kill you all that much faster.

I didn’t think your post was snooty either - it just tweaked me a little that someone put up a pretty good question about nutrition and the very first response focused on the use of “Eskimo” without any comment about the real subject matter. That’s all.

And no, I don’t think you’re particularly PC. Sorry if it sounded that way. Peace.