T Nation

Why Saturated Fat?

[quote]AmandaSC wrote:
Fulmen wrote:
I sure as hell hope no one forgot the only way to synthesize testosterone is with cholesterol.

Thus saturated fat is necessary. If everyone followed the adage “too much or too little of anything is bad”, then we’d be okay.

I think this is the answer to the original question that I posted. As a woman though, how does important is saturated fat? I would imagine less saturated fat would be needed in the diet of a woman as compared to a man’s diet. Does anyone have an opinion on this idea?
Just for the record I completely agree that trans fats are garbage and to be avoided. I have actually been avoiding them (as well as many other additives) for about ten years. My mother thought some of my non-mainstream beliefs were a bit cookey at the time but now that word gets out and the media uses it to make money it suddenly seems believable. Ahh the all mighty media. Don’t get me started on the whole grain thing too. Hey aren’t Sugar Corn Pops cereal made with whole grain? Must be healthy.
[/quote]

I have feeling when Nanook of the north brought home todays kill that they didn’t go out of their way to distribute the less saturated parts among the women.

I have no fear of natural traditional foods though something may be said about the way livestock is fed today and even that isn’t necessarily as cut and dried as it may seem.

I AM terrified of the abominable lab experiments that pass for human nutrition in the post modern world.

Check the girl’s site for some threads about the Anabolic Diet.

[quote]Fulmen wrote:
I sure as hell hope no one forgot the only way to synthesize testosterone is with cholesterol.

Thus saturated fat is necessary. [/quote]

No, because the body manufactures the cholesterol it needs. And eating saturated fat or cholesterol doesn’t necessarily raise testosterone levels.

That’s often true. But knowing how much is too much or too little is the hard part.

I don’t want to hop into this debate, but will mention that cholesterol levels in a food are independent of saturated fat. Think Shrimp and coconuts, the two extremes. High cholesterol and fat-free vs. cholesterol-free and high saturated fat. Just wanted to clear that up.

Perhaps the intake of saturated fat to raise testosterone levels has more to do with the typically concurrent cholesterol in these foods, but then again I do know that taking in arachidonic acid by itself does increase testosterone levels in the body. I’m really interested myself, so I’ll check some resources I have about cholesterol and saturated fat intakes and their effects on testosterone (and the WHY it happens).

Also a point on the Mediterranean diet - the research results there were not reflective of the whole Mediterranean. There were opposing results depending on the towns investigated. Its not hard to believe that the conflicting results were subsequently ignored in favour of just the desired one - ie. pro Mediterranean diet.

From what I’ve learned on this site and on the anabolic diet(Carb cycling diet) I can draw the conclusion that it is best to have an even ratio among poly/mon/sat fats. I won’t get into citing studies or echoing anyone else’s opinion but besides the Masai tribe that lives without health problems related to the typical western diet we also have the Inuit tribes who survive off of a diet consisting of 60%-70% fat and most of it saturated.

Here in the US the consumption of natural fats has decreased and has been replaced with the intake of carbs, sugars, hydrogenated fats, and trans fats, many of which never existed in any other country on earth in the abundance that they do today so I would have to conclude that they are the real culprit for our cancers, heart attacks, and high CHO. Right now I’m following the anabolic diet so I’ve pushed up my fat intake to about 64%, protein intake to 34% and carb intake to 2% on weekdays while high carbing on weekends in order to use fat is my body’s primary fuel instead and I’ve lost about 1/2" off my waist and 1/2" off of my thighs in only a month while increasing strengh and muscle size so you can take my anecdotal evidence any way you like…

Read this:

www.menshealth.com/cda/article.do?site=MensHealth&channel
=health&category=heart.disease&conitem=
a03ddd2eaab85110VgnVCM10000013281eac

Swordthrower is closer to the truth than the dude in the ridiculous boxer-short picture.

About the health effects of saturated fat: I have not done a thorough review of the literature; there are tons of studies, some poorly done, and it would take way too much time and be too boring for me to review it all. However, I am concerned about my health so I did a little digging in the literature on saturated fat.

My point of view going in is that as a food lover, I love my dietary sources of sat fat, so I hope they’re good for me. I’d like to believe books like Nourishing Traditions but the standards for evidence of causation there is very poor.

Well, my quick view of some literature leads me to believe that a diet high in saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease, and increases LDL which in turn increases the risk of heart disease. There might have been a few other negative effects I read about, I don’t remember. My take-home for me is to limit the saturated fat in my own diet.

Heart disease is rampant in my family; my father died of sudden heart failure at age 67 after a lifetime diet high in sat fat, including a nightly monster dish of ice cream.

Berardi, who, with a PhD in the area and what seems to be a comprehensive knowledge of the fat literature, recommends 1/3 of fat calories from saturated fat, which seems reasonable and doable and not at all paranoid or extreme (as opposed to Ornish, for example). This is what I aim for and hope for the best while I pour cream into my coffee each morning.

I hope that if there are benefits of saturated fat, this amount would provide them. But based on the heart disease research, I no longer feel I can slather butter all over everything. (Sadly.)

Someone in this thread claimed that all the studies vilifying saturated fat were poorly controlled, but this is not true. There are plenty of multifactorial studies which look at the effects of saturated fat independently from other known risk factors for heart disease, for example. Scientists are not all biased idiots; they do know how to isolate effects of different factors with multifactorial regression.

The superiority of pasture-fed animals (assuming this is well supported) doesn’t argue for the safety of saturated fat either. Animals that eat grass have lower levels of saturated fat in their meat.

Nor am I convinced that the bulk of fat research must be wrong because of Masai herdsmen or hunter-gatherer ancestors or whatever. First of all, how carefully has the diet of those groups been quantified? How do you KNOW how much saturated fat they were eating? Dead animals are not all automatically full of saturated fat. I have been eating venison and believe me the stuff has almost no fat.

Even with farm-raised animals, the saturated fat content in the meat can be low depending on what they eat. Second, even if, say the Masai ate lots of saturated fat and had low rates of heart disease, that doesn’t mean saturated fat is GOOD. The sat fat may exert negative effects on their cardiovascular systems, but other factors in their diet and lifestyle may exert good effects that offset the negative. This is a more likely explanation, given other observations about saturated fat.

There may indeed be other factors that mitigate negative effects of high amounts of saturated fat. For example, a current research hypothesis with some support that’s based on the “French paradox” (lower heart disease rates in France despite higher levels of sat fat) is that the resveratrol in red wine reduces blood levels of artery-clogging fats in the hours after the high-fat meal. But until this kind of research is mature, I won’t personally be chugging down artery-clogging meals high in saturated fat on a regular basis.

Because of the literature that does exist, though, and because I don’t have the genes or complete dietary and lifestyle habits of Masai herdsmen or hunter-gatherers, or even the French, I cut back on saturated fat in my own diet, but did not eliminate it altogether. This seemed like the safest and most reasonable approach based on the available evidence.

[quote]Schwarzenegger wrote:

Perhaps the intake of saturated fat to raise testosterone levels has more to do with the typically concurrent cholesterol in these foods, but then again I do know that taking in arachidonic acid by itself does increase testosterone levels in the body. I’m really interested myself, so I’ll check some resources I have about cholesterol and saturated fat intakes and their effects on testosterone (and the WHY it happens).[/quote]

Even in a situation where a person - male OR female - desires a higher level of testosterone, I bet that eating large amounts of saturated fat or foods rich in arachidonic acid is NOT the desired way to get there. There are just too many undesired effects accompanying the desired effect.

And I doubt that eating food sources of cholesterol will elevate testosterone. If there’s a literature that shows it does, show me and I’ll stand corrected. But if it were that easy to elevate T, well, half this site wouldn’t need to exist, right?

I dont know wo is right or wrong, but i know that i feel alot better physically and mentally when i do a high protein/carb, low fat type diet.

Maybe my body just prefers low fat so im stickin to that regardless of the T levels or whatever

[quote]andersons wrote:
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>[/quote]

Nobody ever said anyone should consume an excessive relative number of lipid calories from saturated fat. My beef (a pun?) is with excessively limiting saturated fat or any other nutrient in the name of arrogant and commercially driven misguided attempts at explaining health issues which both elude and defy out current state of knowledge as glorious as many who are not me think it is. Too much or too little of any nutrient is bad.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
andersons wrote:
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Nobody ever said anyone should consume an excessive relative number of lipid calories from saturated fat. My beef (a pun?) is with excessively limiting saturated fat or any other nutrient in the name of arrogant and commercially driven misguided attempts at explaining health issues which both elude and defy out current state of knowledge as glorious as many who are not me think it is. Too much or too little of any nutrient is bad.

[/quote]

Well said.

[quote]andersons wrote:
Schwarzenegger wrote:

Perhaps the intake of saturated fat to raise testosterone levels has more to do with the typically concurrent cholesterol in these foods, but then again I do know that taking in arachidonic acid by itself does increase testosterone levels in the body. I’m really interested myself, so I’ll check some resources I have about cholesterol and saturated fat intakes and their effects on testosterone (and the WHY it happens).

Even in a situation where a person - male OR female - desires a higher level of testosterone, I bet that eating large amounts of saturated fat or foods rich in arachidonic acid is NOT the desired way to get there. There are just too many undesired effects accompanying the desired effect.

And I doubt that eating food sources of cholesterol will elevate testosterone. If there’s a literature that shows it does, show me and I’ll stand corrected. But if it were that easy to elevate T, well, half this site wouldn’t need to exist, right?[/quote]

Half of this site is about elevating T through diet and training and not just supplemenation. And the typical diet recommendations are 25-30% of calories coming from fat with many of that authors recommedning 1/3 of that being saturated for optimal hormone production. Including Dr. John Berardi. [which I see you noted yourself]

Note: this is not a license to go hog wild and gorge on saturated fat. Some of members argue that excessive saturated fat does not lead to heart disease and health problems or that blood lipid levels themselves, even, have nothing to do with it. But none of the contributors, who have made a life study of nutrition, take this position.

[quote]andersons wrote:
Schwarzenegger wrote:

Perhaps the intake of saturated fat to raise testosterone levels has more to do with the typically concurrent cholesterol in these foods, but then again I do know that taking in arachidonic acid by itself does increase testosterone levels in the body. I’m really interested myself, so I’ll check some resources I have about cholesterol and saturated fat intakes and their effects on testosterone (and the WHY it happens).

Even in a situation where a person - male OR female - desires a higher level of testosterone, I bet that eating large amounts of saturated fat or foods rich in arachidonic acid is NOT the desired way to get there. There are just too many undesired effects accompanying the desired effect.

And I doubt that eating food sources of cholesterol will elevate testosterone. If there’s a literature that shows it does, show me and I’ll stand corrected. But if it were that easy to elevate T, well, half this site wouldn’t need to exist, right?[/quote]

A contributor did write an article on this subject awhile back. I forget who exactly. But it was a good read. And probably has some good source citations as well.

[quote]andersons wrote:
A book
[/quote]

All I’m going to say is that I don’t have the same faith you do in the rigor of these studies. You say that scientists aren’t idiots or something along those lines, and I agree with you as I am a scientist and prefer not to think of myself as an idiot. However, the reality is that most doctors are not trained as scientists, and they are taught from day one the conventional dietary hypothesis that saturated fats correlate with heart disease and other ailments.

So, when they design these studies, they are doing them in order to further prove a hypothesis that they already believe to be true. And when they don’t get the results that they want, they go ahead and say “well, still we know that they are bad for you so replace them with unsaturated fats.” I’m not being facetious, if you read some of these papers in their entirety, their results will be null or statistically insignificant but they will still give the same old advice.

The scientific method demands that when a hypothesis is proven to be wrong or incomplete, one must then offer and test another hypothesis. And there is another hypothesis, that the processed grains and sugars in our diet and the animals that eat processed grain in our diet are responsible for our poor health. Yet, very few studies have been considered to pursue this, due to the dogmatic adherence to a flawed hypothesis. And when you hear about the evils of, say, fast food, it’s always the fat in the hamburger and fries, not the sugar in the 32oz soda and the starches in the fries and buns…

I also encourage you to read some books and articles that promote a high-fat lower carb diet in order to really see both sides. I have read a lot of papers of saturated fat and cholesterol studies, and “the China Study” in which meat of all forms is vilified, and some of Ornish’s stuff. So I have seen what both sides have to offer, and it truly seems to me that the conventional thinking is reactionary, flawed, and dogmatic.

[quote]swordthrower wrote:

My favorite example of the lunacy of the saturated fat hypothesis is the Masai tribe in Africa whose diet consists almost exclusively of raw whole milk, beef, and cow blood. Saturated fats are responsible for over 60% oft their total calories and they have no heart disease and normal levels of blood lipids. However, when they move off of the plains and into the cities, and start eating a more Western diet, they start dying of the usual Western diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. So, how could you possibly implicate saturated fat as the risk factor that we should all fear? And let me remind you that when they adopt a Western diet they are REPLACING SATURATED FAT WITH UNSATURATED FAT. Hmmm…
[/quote]

That’s probably not actually true if they follow the typical crap Western diet. They’re probably eating just as much saturated fat as ever. And LESS unsaturated fat. Those natural unprocessed foods have a lot of other types of fat in addition to saturated fat.

Tostinos pizza roles, chicken alfredo pasta, Doritos, and Little debbie snack cakes not so much. What they are eating more of is trans fat and a boatload of shitty, processed, nutrionless, insulin-spiking, simple carbohydrates. This was certainly the case with the city-dwelling Pima Indians who adopted the worst of the fast-food, frozen dinner eating habits common in some Americans.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:

I have feeling when Nanook of the north brought home todays kill that they didn’t go out of their way to distribute the less saturated parts among the women.
.[/quote]

Nanook of the North ate lots of blubber and meat. In fact, that’s about all he or she ate. About the only greens s/he ate were the greens found in the stomach of the moose he just killed. I am not trying to gross you out, but that’s exactly what they ate.

Of course, s/he was in excellent health. I was reading just the other day about an anthropologist who went to live with them. He would spend a certain period of each year with them and eat just like them. He said that he never felt better and his lab work showed him to be healthy.

Now, go follow the orders of that super skinny/fat MD and drop the saturated fats and drink no-fat milk. That’ll get you healthy!

By the way, as I write this I am eating one of my fav snacks. Spoonfuls of peanut butter to which I have added coconut oil. Yummy.

[quote]entheogens wrote:
Tiribulus wrote:

I have feeling when Nanook of the north brought home todays kill that they didn’t go out of their way to distribute the less saturated parts among the women.
.

Nanook of the North ate lots of blubber and meat. In fact, that’s about all he or she ate. About the only greens s/he ate were the greens found in the stomach of the moose he just killed. I am not trying to gross you out, but that’s exactly what they ate.

Of course, s/he was in excellent health. I was reading just the other day about an anthropologist who went to live with them. He would spend a certain period of each year with them and eat just like them. He said that he never felt better and his lab work showed him to be healthy.

Now, go follow the orders of that super skinny/fat MD and drop the saturated fats and drink no-fat milk. That’ll get you healthy!

By the way, as I write this I am eating one of my fav snacks. Spoonfuls of peanut butter to which I have added coconut oil. Yummy.

[/quote]

I should say that of course nothing,s as simple as somebody can post here, including me, but when I start seeing commercials making fun of the idea of people eating butter in the 50’s as if their unforgivable ignorance has now been remedied by some man made goop this shit just gone way outta hand.

EDIT: The worst part about this is that all these lifestyle driven preventable diseases were much less common then. In fact the more demonized traditional whole foods become and the more brilliant all their artificial substitutes become the worse everybody’s health gets.

[quote]swordthrower wrote:

All I’m going to say is that I don’t have the same faith you do in the rigor of these studies. . .However, the reality is that most doctors are not trained as scientists, and they are taught from day one the conventional dietary hypothesis that saturated fats correlate with heart disease and other ailments.[/quote]

I don’t have so much faith as I look at them and see if they are well-designed or poorly designed. They are not generally performed by doctors. Doctors’ recommendations are a separate issue.

One must start with a hypothesis one way or another. Believing it to be true shouldn’t affect the outcome either, if the study is blinded and reasonably controlled.

Nothing can be concluded from statistically insignificant differences. If you find no significant difference, you CANNOT conclude that there is none.

So if you believe there truly is no difference, you can’t use conventional ANOVA models to support your hypothesis.

All results are probabilities. Given the standard alpha = 0.5, statistically 5% of studies should report an effect that is in fact false.

So when a typical study with limited sample does not conform to the rest of a body of evidence, that’s not reason to throw out the rest of the body of evidence.

New hypotheses ARE postulated and tested. I mentioned one of these already – the resveratrol/French paradox hypothesis. You can see a difference in the state of the knowledge now compared to 40 years ago or 20 years ago. It may not be where you think it will end up, but it’s evolving and the answers will come.

True, but this is more of a problem in the popular media as opposed to the current research literature.

I have certainly read articles and books promoting high-fat lower carb diets. And there’s been research on those diets too, where I think there is more acceptance of them than before.

I thought my post made it clear that I don’t see saturated fat as the sole evil enemy it is often made out to be in popular media or by many doctors.

But people can also go overboard with the reasoning, Testosterone is good, saturated fat raises testosterone, therefore, saturated fat is always good. It isn’t that simple, and the current evidence, while not definitive, does not support that view.

While interesting, I see this discussion as pretty academic. I don’t see why you’d ever have more than 1/3 of your fat intake come for saturated sources. That’s crowding out unsaturated fat with undisputed and appreciable health benefits and missing out on some tasty foods too.

How bad can it be to indulge in an occasional meal or snack loaded with saturated fat?

How about bad enough to diminish your body’s ability to defend itself against heart disease.

A recent study by researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia found just that reaction after 14 trial participants, all healthy and between the ages of 18 and 40, ate just one piece of high-fat carrot cake and drank a milkshake.

to protect the inner lining of the arteries from inflammatory agents that promote the build-up of fatty plaques. It’s this plaque that, over time, clogs blood vessels and causes heart disease.

“Saturated-fat meals might predispose to inflammation of, and plaque buildup in, the vessels,” said study leader Dr. David Celermajer, Scandrett professor of cardiology at the Heart Research Institute and the Department of Cardiology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Found this interesting but it’s a small sample size. Personally, I will never go out of my way to eat saturated fat. Ever. Superman shorts made some good points to me.