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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Saturated Fat Is Good For You

The eating plan preached at Kimkins, besides being a starvation diet. Is also nutritionally bankrupt. Basically consisting of little else than lean protein. Fat is not your enemy. By following this disastrous way of eating, you are robbing your body of vital nutrients and putting your health at risk. So buyer beware. Being low fat is just one thing that is so bad about Kimkins.

Fat is actually good for you. Read what Richard Feinman had to say.

What if Saturated Fat is Not the Problem?
A professor of biochemistry provides perspective.

By Richard Feinman

Here’s an idea to chew on: The carbs in your diet tell your body what to do with the fat you eat, so it’s the type and amount of carbohydrates that matter when it comes to your weight and health.

Virtually every bit of health information today includes the advice to avoid saturated fat — the so-called evil stuff that lurks in animal foods like steak and eggs. The basis for this recommendation is that research has shown a correlation between saturated fat intake and total cholesterol and LDL (“bad cholesterol”). The problem with these studies is that the effects are not large, there is wide variation among individuals and, in most of these studies, the predicted benefit in incidence of cardiovascular disease did not materialize. In addition, we now know much more about risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) beyond LDL. No assessment of CVD risk can be made without considering HDL (“good cholesterol”), triglycerides, and the size of the LDL particle. Plenty of research shows that these markers can worsen when people reduce their intake of saturated fat and that they can improve by reducing the intake of carbohydrates.

You don’t have to be a medical researcher to recognize that this is a politically charged issue. The thing that is missing for the public is an impartial evaluation of all the data on saturated fat. My personal opinion is that there is much contradictory data and a recent review of the situation suggests that there is not sufficient evidence to make any recommendations.

There is a sense that, in the absence of definitive evidence, lowering saturated fat will at least do no harm. This is not right. The problem for people with diabetes is what happens when saturated fat is replaced with carbohydrate, and research has repeatedly shown that this may actually be harmful. Consider that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during the onset of the current epidemic of obesity and diabetes, almost all of the increase in calories in the American diet has been due to carbohydrate. The percent of total fat and saturated fat in our diet decreased. In men, the absolute amount of saturated fat consumed decreased by 14 percent!

One of the most striking reasons to doubt the across-the-board proscriptions against saturated fat is the report from the large scale Framingham study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, titled “Inverse association of dietary fat with development of ischemic stroke in men.” You read that right: The more saturated fat in the diet, the lower the incidence of stroke.

Perhaps the most compelling research was published in a 2004 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health. Their study showed that, in postmenopausal women with heart disease, a higher saturated fat intake was associated with less narrowing of the coronary artery and a reduced progression of disease. Even with similar levels of LDL cholesterol, women with lower saturated fat intake had much higher rates of disease progression. Higher saturated fat intake was also associated with higher HDL (the “good” cholesterol) and lower triglycerides.

If saturated fat isn’t the problem, what is?
In this study, in which greater saturated fat intake was associated with less progression of coronary atherosclerosis, carbohydrate intake was associated with a greater progression. Carbohydrate, through its effect on insulin, is the key player. Insulin not only sweeps up glucose from the blood but it also plays air traffic controller, making the call as to whether that glucose is turned into fat or is used for energy. Most importantly, insulin determines what happens to dietary fat — whether it gets stored or oxidized for fuel. In fact, insulin has so much control over how dietary fat is metabolized that when levels of fat are measured in the blood, they are not strongly associated with a person's diet. In other words, one person who has a high intake of saturated fat may turn out to have a similar ratio of saturated to unsaturated fat in the blood as someone who consumes very little saturated fat.

A recent study by Jeff Volek at the University of Connecticut compared low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets. Even though the low-carbohydrate diet had three times as much saturated fat as the low-fat diet, levels of unhealthy fats in the blood were lower in the low-carbohydrate group. How is that possible? That is what metabolism does.

What is the best diet?
We don’t know the ideal diet composition. We do know that saturated fat, unlike trans-fat, is a normal part of body chemistry and extreme avoidance is not justified by current scientific data. Removing some saturated fat to reduce calories is good, but adding back carbs appears to be deleterious. It appears that healthy, carbohydrate restriction will trump the effects of any kind of fat. For a person with diabetes, blood glucose must be the first consideration. If you have relatively tight blood sugar control, the amount of saturated fat you eat may be a non-issue. You can do what we did before the diabetes-obesity epidemic: regulate your intake by your taste and your natural appetite. No one ever did want to eat a pound of bacon.
Make sure you are getting in the right amount of protein in your diet. Keep the carbs low. Make up the rest of your calories in fat intake. Remember this....

Many people think a low carb diet is a high protein diet, but this is a misunderstanding. In fact, much of the protein you eat can turn into glucose in the body. Eat too much protein and you will raise your blood sugar and stall your weight loss.


I'm not done preaching about how fat is good for you. So look for more posts in the future.

3 comments:

2BIG said...

thanks for sharing the information about healthy dietary fats

Kimkins.com is selling folk on the idea created by Kimmer

that fat folk have all the fat they need in their fat cells. Seems she skipped the class on EFAs and how we don't make them but need them every day so we must eat them or die

OhYeahBabe said...

Thanks for clearing up this misinformation that's one of the many reasons Heidi Diaz' customers are getting sick on her plan.

HoneyBee said...

Thanks for the low down on how fats don't make us fat, diets like the Kimkins Diet do!
Keep on Keeping on!
HoneyBee’s Blog
I Am Not Ready To Make Nice with Kimkins