7 Reasons to Eat More Saturated Fat

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Photo: Eduardo Amorim

I’ve invited Dr. Michael Eades and Dr. Mary Dan Eades, two of my favorite bariatric (obesity treatment) doctors in the US and the first to introduce insulin resistance to the mainstream, to explain the facts and benefits of increased saturated fat intake…

The sub-headings are mine, and a few edits have been made for space and context. Please see Dr. Michael Eades’ references and responses to questions in the comments.

Mid-Section Fat Loss: Problem Solved?

A couple of generations ago two physicians—one on the East Coast, one on the West—while working long hours with many patients, serendipitously stumbled onto a method to rapidly decrease fat around the mid-section. We’re sure that other doctors figured out the same thing, but these two were locally famous and published their methods. Interestingly, neither was looking to help patients lose weight.

Blake Donaldson, M.D., who practiced in Manhattan, was looking for a treatment for allergies; Walter Voegtlin, M.D., a Seattle gastroenterologist, was trying to figure out a better method for treating his patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Dr. Donaldson got his inspiration from a meeting he had with the aforementioned Vilhalmur Stefansson; Dr. Voegtlin came up with the same idea based on his knowledge of comparative anatomy. Though they came at two different questions from very different angles, they arrived at the same dietary answer. Both solved the problems they were seeking to solve and, coincidentally, noticed that their overweight patients lost a tremendous amount of fat from their abdominal areas while undergoing the treatment. As happened later with us and with Dr. Atkins, word of their success in combating obesity spread rapidly, and before long both physicians were deluged with overweight patients seeking treatment, completely changing the character of their medical practices. In retirement, both wrote books about their methods. Donaldson’s was published in 1961; Voegtlin’s in 1972. And as far as we can tell, although their years of practice overlapped, they never knew one another.

What was their secret? What did these two men independently discover? What kind of nutritional regimen did they use to bring about such great results in their patients?

Both had their patients follow an all-meat diet.

An all-meat diet?

Yes, an all-meat diet. Remember that when these physicians were in practice, there hadn’t been all the negative publicity about saturated fat and red meat that there has been in recent years. At that time, most people considered meat as simply another food, just like potatoes, bread, or anything else. No one worried about eating it. The (misguided) hypothesis that fat in the diet causes heart disease hadn’t reared its ugly head, so telling people at that time to go on an all-meat diet didn’t provoke the same sort of knee-jerk emotions that it does—at least in some quarters—now.

The patients who followed these all-meat diets rapidly lost weight from their midsections and improved their blood sugar and blood pressure problems if they had them. Calculations of cholesterol in all its various permutations was still decades away, but both doctors even used the all-meat diet for their patients with heart disease without problem. The all-meat diet proved to be a safe, filling, rapid way to help patients lose abdominal fat while improving their health. And remember, one of these diets was developed to treat GI problems, the other to treat allergies. The rapid weight loss that followed was a surprising, but welcome side effect.

7 Reasons to Eat More Saturated Fat

In the not-so-distant past, the medical establishment considered all fats equally loathsome: all fats were created equal and they’re all bad for you. Things have changed in that quarter, if only slightly. You have no doubt heard the drumbeat of current medical thinking on fats: some fats are now good for you—olive oil and canola oil*—but others are bad for you—trans fats and all saturated fats. That’s an improvement from the old cry, but far from the truth.

It seems that no matter how the story spins from the denizens of the anti-fat camp, one piece of their advice remains staunchly constant: “You should sharply limit your intake of saturated fats.” The next admonition will invariably be, “which have been proven to raise cholesterol and cause heart disease.” Their over-arching belief is that saturated fat is bad, bad, bad.

You see with just a glance at [our suggested meal plans] that we’ve included fatty cuts of meat, chicken with the skin, bacon, eggs, butter, coconut oil, organic lard, and heavy cream in the plan. Aren’t we worried that these foods will increase your risk of heart disease and raise your cholesterol? In a word, nope. In fact, we encourage you to make these important fats a regular part of your healthy diet. Why? Because humans need them and here are just a few reasons why.

1) Improved cardiovascular risk factors

Though you may not have heard of it on the front pages of your local newspaper, online news source, or local television or radio news program, saturated fat plays a couple of key roles in cardiovascular health. The addition of saturated fat to the diet reduces the levels of a substance called lipoprotein (a)—pronounced “lipoprotein little a” and abbreviated Lp(a)—that correlates strongly with risk for heart disease. Currently there are no medications to lower this substance and the only dietary means of lowering Lp(a) is eating saturated fat. Bet you didn’t hear that on the nightly news. Moreover, eating saturated (and other) fats also raises the level of HDL, the so-called good cholesterol. Lastly, research has shown that when women diet, those eating the greatest percentage of the total fat in their diets as saturated fat lose the most weight.

2) Stronger bones

In middle age, as bone mass begins to decline, an important goal (particularly for women) is to build strong bones. You can’t turn on the television without being told you need calcium for your bones, but do you recall ever hearing that saturated fat is required for calcium to be effectively incorporated into bone? According to one of the foremost research experts in dietary fats and human health, Mary Enig, Ph.D., there’s a case to be made for having as much as 50 percent of the fats in your diet as saturated fats for this reason. That’s a far cry from the 7 to 10 percent suggested by mainstream institutions. If her reasoning is sound—and we believe it is— is it any wonder that the vast majority of women told to avoid saturated fat and to selectively use vegetable oils instead would begin to lose bone mass, develop osteoporosis, and get put on expensive prescription medications plus calcium to try to recover the loss in middle age?

3) Improved liver health

Adding saturated fat to the diet has been shown in medical research to encourage the liver cells to dump their fat content. Clearing fat from the liver is the critical first step to calling a halt to middle-body fat storage. Additionally, saturated fat has been shown to protect the liver from the toxic insults of alcohol and medications, including acetaminophen and other drugs commonly used for pain and arthritis, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, and even to reverse the damage once it has occurred. Since the liver is the lynchpin of a healthy metabolism, anything that is good for the liver is good for getting rid of fat in the middle. Polyunsaturated vegetable fats do not offer this protection.

4) Healthy lungs

For proper function, the airspaces of the lungs have to be coated with a thin layer of what’s called lung surfactant. The fat content of lung surfactant is 100 percent saturated fatty acids. Replacement of these critical fats by other types of fat makes faulty surfactant and potentially causes breathing difficulties. Absence of the correct amount and composition of this material leads to collapse of the airspaces and respiratory distress. It’s what’s missing in the lungs of premature infants who develop the breathing disorder called infant respiratory distress syndrome. Some researchers feel that the wholesale substitution of partially hydrogenated (trans) fats for naturally saturated fats in commercially prepared foods may be playing a role in the rise of asthma among children. Fortunately, the heyday of trans fats is ending and their use is on the decline. Unfortunately, however, the unreasoning fear of saturated fat leads many people to replace trans fats with an overabundance of polyunsaturated vegetable oils, which may prove just as unhealthful.

5) Healthy brain

You will likely be astounded to learn that your brain is mainly made of fat and cholesterol. Though many people are now familiar with the importance of the highly unsaturated essential fatty acids found in cold-water fish (EPA and DHA) for normal brain and nerve function, the lion’s share of the fatty acids in the brain are actually saturated. A diet that skimps on healthy saturated fats robs your brain of the raw materials it needs to function optimally.

6) Proper nerve signaling

Certain saturated fats, particularly those found in butter, lard, coconut oil, and palm oil, function directly as signaling messengers that influence the metabolism, including such critical jobs as the appropriate release of insulin. And just any old fat won’t do. Without the correct signals to tell the organs and glands what to do, the job doesn’t get done or gets done improperly.

7) Strong immune system

Saturated fats found in butter and coconut oil (myristic acid and lauric acid) play key roles in immune health. Loss of sufficient saturated fatty acids in the white blood cells hampers their ability to recognize and destroy foreign invaders, such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Human breast milk is quite rich in myristic and lauric acid, which have potent germ-killing ability. But the importance of the fats lives on beyond infancy; we need dietary replenishment of them throughout adulthood, middle age, and into seniority to keep the immune system vigilant against the development of cancerous cells as well as infectious invaders.

Footnotes:

*We advocate the use of olive oil, but recommend against the use of canola oil, despite its widely perceived healthful reputation. In order to be fit for human consumption, rapeseed oil (which is canola oil) requires significant processing to remove its objectionable taste and smell. Processing damages the oil, creating trans fats. Also, the oil is sensitive to heat, so if used at all, it should never be used to fry foods.

###

The above post is an exclusive excerpt from Dr. Eades’ newest book, which is directed at people who want to reduce abdominal fat. Despite the title, the principles it details are ideal for anyone who wants to decrease both visceral (internal) and subcutaneous (under the skin) fat in the abdomen.

Posted on: June 6, 2009.

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632 comments on “7 Reasons to Eat More Saturated Fat

  1. Wow, great post. Saturated fats and Unsaturated fats are one of those things I often get confused. Many times I find myself standing in the middle of the grocery isle staring at the nutrition label pondering, am I supposed to get more…or less of this one. Usually you can’t go wrong with Olive oil and nuts, and by staying away from processed food. The final tip on Rapeseed oil, and Canola oil was very helpful. While I recognize it, I often forget the significance of Rapeseed oil in the ingredients list.

    Thanks alot for this one.

    Like

  2. Thank you! We also must be mindful of palm oils widely sourced from rain forests. Do we put the health of self before the health of our planet? Wrestling with this question…great post!

    Like

    • Dear Marcie,

      Along time ago man ate nothing but mostly meat, nuts and wild friuts and berries. The planet was fine then and it will be fine now. Meat was meant to be consumed it was part of the grand design for the planet. You are also part of this grand design and as such should appreciate the fact that as long as it’s nature it should be respected and used for it’s intended purpose. Cows for example were not put on this planet for the purpose of keeping the grass down. In science we are taught the basic understanding of photosynthesis. Plants take in CO2 and produce O2 therefore eliminating the C = Carbon so as long as we have plants to feed the cows we have plenty of plants to take care of their poo.

      The planet is a far greater Eco system than you give it credit for.

      Scotty

      Like

      • Actually, it looks like cows (and other animals) may have been put on this planet to keep stuff down! Permafrost for one: http://tinyurl.com/7f5rp5a

        I’m a huge meat eater but our over consumption of cows has led to mass production of them and 20% of the entire US methane output (greenhouse gases) is from cow farts! Here’s some statistics to show how much gas those roaming burger and steak beasts put out compared to others: http://tinyurl.com/4qtqknk

        Maybe it would be better to think less of cows and other meat we eat as ‘free meals’ and let them do their job of keeping things down. More power to ‘ground beef’! (not the kind you eat though).

        Like

  3. Man, there’s some much contradictory health advice out there that it’s hard to figure out which to follow. It’s definitely interesting to hear a positive view of saturated fats though. Not that I need to lose weight (the opposite actually) but it’s interested to hear about their necessity for proper lung function and the improvements to immunity.

    Like

    • @David- In my clinical experience, most people who need to gain weight are able to do so through a high fat diet with carefully calculated ratios, though this weight is through muscle.

      Like

    • I know, it can be quite frustrating, what i’ve learned from seeing this is that all foods (that aren’t processed) should be eaten in reasonable amounts. It’s about having a varied diet so you can get all the necessary vitamins, minerals, carbs, proteins, and fats.

      Like

      • I agree on this. Being too extremist in diets is very un-healthy it could lead to serious problems in long term. I got all the problems when in my teenage years I was keeping strict diets just to look fit. In couple of years I get serious chest pain and cannot sleep. It’s because of un-healthy diets and plans. Be carefull of what you are doing, don’t plan it for this year, plan it for your life – your body is not something you should mess with!

        Like

    • Jason,

      I agree with you on that. The lack of sources makes it hard to verify claimis. We are basically taking Eades word on this. For a good take on saturated fat that does cite sources you might like “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes.

      Like

    • Good to site sources for sure. Just watched last night “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” and have been looking at Markus Rothkranz’s YouTubes. He is the most healthiest health teacher I have yet to see. Not that I would NEVER eat meats again, but considering the chemical additives, no, not for now. What to do then? Superfoods, juicer, blender, dark leafy greens juiced and fruits blended into smoothies seems to be the ticket for those who are still getting their energies from foods (i.e. not breatharians like Sunfire Genesis). Of course, one can still eat processed foods, including meats, and just be healthier for adding the juiced leafy greens, and fruit and veggie smoothies. Take a look on YouTube at the 71 year young woman who drinks her green smoothies every morning,

      But, first this old body has to be cleaned out and for me that is the start of my Autumn fast with good water, baking soda and molasses, until the body tells me it is back in balance. In the meantime plenty of meditation and contemplation on the cycle of “To Eat To Be Eaten” which is our biosphere system.

      I prefer subjective certainties lead to objective data I need to iimplement physical realities.

      Like

  4. Tim,

    This is a great article, and it’s interesting timing as well. I also subscribe to the Crossfit Journal and I recently watched the videos with Dr. Sears lecturing on the Zone Diet, and importance of fish oils. (found here: http://journal.crossfit.com/2009/09/diet-inflammation-and-disease-part-5.tpl#featureArticleTitle)

    I appreciate the idea of a diversity of fat intakes. My rule is to try limit my fats to those that are naturally occuring. I do this by eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, with lots of grilled meat. I try not to eat much pasta or bread, and if I eat bread or rice, I try to find varieties that still have the germ intact.

    Dr. Sears sees a huge problem in that there has been a dramatic increase in the usage of corn and other vegetable oils, and refined grains in the foods we consume. This is combined with a drastic decrease in intake of monounsaturated fats (fish oils). I think he’s on the right track, but I think the problem lies more in a lack of diversity of nutrient intake in the current mainstream American diet.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on the much needed evolution of the American diet.

    -Josh Groves

    Like

  5. Tim,

    As you are always experimenting and being yourself a guinea pig for good purposes, have you ever tried a vegetarian (not vegan) diet, and still have good physical performance?
    If so, are you publishing it on your next book (the superhuman one)?

    I’m as interested in those subjects as on your metrics/entrepreneurial posts.

    Cheers,

    Leo Kuba
    Sao Paulo/Brazil

    Like

  6. Interesting. I started working out and read a lot of articles on eating healthy…All of them said to avoid saturated fats. I suppose I should start adding them into my diet! Thanks Tim.

    Like

  7. Tim,

    I know you’re always investigating a lot of this stuff, and you’re quite thorough in your research. Gotta’ say though, this runs contrary to just about everything I’ve ever read on the topic of saturated fats, as well as what my own docs have suggested (not news to you, I’m sure). That said, though, I presume it’s why you’re bringing it up. I’ll have to take a look at the theories of your recommended authors, but as a consumer and someone always looking at healthy options when it comes to food, the idea that one should actually consume more saturated fat as part of a “healthy” diet seems to be quite a leap of faith, and one not worth pursuing without a substantial medical record to support the claims of it’s benefit.

    Perhaps that’s forthcoming?

    Cheers,
    Doc

    Like

  8. This article was not convincing that we need to gorge on saturated fat for regular body functioning. One can easily argue that cholesterol is needed for proper cell membrane formation, but that doesn’t mean you need to seek out cholesterol-rich foods if you’re already eating a well-balanced diet.

    Until there is a double-blind study that tracks two group of individual, one on a saturated fat rich diet and the other on a “normal” diet, over a long period into middle age where people start dropping dead of heart attacks, it would be foolhardy to pack your diet with butter and cream in the hopes of getting a “strong immune system.”

    Like

    • Those randomized double-blind studies have already been done and have existed for many decades.

      Avoid sugars, starches, carbohydrates and eat all the saturated fat you want (eating saturated fat curbs hunger, which makes it even easier to lose weight as well as burns stored fat as well as fat that is being consumed).

      The results are conclusive.

      Read Gary Taubes’ book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, published in 2007 (an exhaustive, 550 page book that covers the science — all of the controlled, randomized studies done on how a diet high in saturated fats and low in carbs and sugar results in higher HDL, lower LDL, and lower triglycerides).

      For a shorter version of that much longer book, read “Why We Get Fat:
      And What to Do About It.” This shorter version by Gary Taubes also documents the plethora of randomized, controlled studies you seem to think haven’t been done yet — as well as the science behind the health benefits of a high-fat, low-carb, low-sugar diet.

      Do not assume you are right until you have done the research, my all-knowing friend.

      Like

    • The key is to drastically reduce consumption of carbs, starches, and sugars AT THE SAME TIME that you increase consumption of saturated fats. If you eat all the sugars, carbs, starches, AND saturated fats you want, you end up with the “standard American diet” (SAD), which results in heart attack, stroke, and cancer.

      Note that crucial difference. You MUST drastically reduce (even eliminate as much as possible) consumption of starches, sugars, and carbs AT THE SAME TIME that you increase consumption of saturated fats in order to get the health benefits of lower LDL cholesterol, higher HDL cholesterol, lower triglycerides, and lower blood sugar (glucose) levels that comes with the high-saturated-fat, low-carb, low-starch, low-sugar diet (actually, it’s a lifestyle, a permanent way of life, or you are wasting your time).

      I have lost 40 pounds in six months by drastically reducing my starch, sugar, and carb intake while increasing my saturated fat intake —
      AND, my triglycerides and bad cholesterol (LDL) and blood pressure numbers have all decreased to normal levels while my HDL (good cholesterol) level has increased.

      are way down

      Like

      • Re jack: that’s a huge component to raising fat of any kinds to the diet is to lower/eliminate sugar,processed carbs (bread,flour,etc…) thanks for putting that info out there

        Like

    • What a great read! Everything old is new again. Even to this excerpt:

      “One material point I should be glad to impress on my corpulent readers—it is, to get accurately weighed at starting upon the fresh system, and continue to do so weekly or monthly, for the change will be so truly palpable by this course of examination, that it will arm them with perfect confidence in the merit and ultimate success of the plan. I deeply regret not having secured a photographic portrait of my original figure in 1862, to place in juxta position with one of my present form. It might have amused some, but certainly would have been very convincing to others, and astonishing to all that such an effect should have been so readily and speedily produced by the simple natural cause of exchanging a meagre for a generous dietary under proper advice.”

      Everyone should read this little book all the way through. It is available as a free e-book on the same web page.

      Like

  9. Wow, this is a fantastic paradigm shift. Being a vegetarian, I’m not about to go buying beef steaks just to trim my belly, but I definitely plan on not counting out saturated fats anymore. I’ve always been scared to death of fat because, well, it seemed simple enough that eating fat makes me fat. But that’s why I love you, Tim. You make me question my beliefs.

    Like

    • I have been on a body building firness diet for a year now and i have to admit, After reading this article I included a potion of saturated fat into my diet after I had gone through a whole year of very low close to Niel saturated fat diet, I noticed that not only do I have more energy but I can focus more at work which was something I was having an issue with for a long time.

      I’m 183cm tall and I was 68kg and was feeling continuously tired and forgetful, now I’m 73kg and I feel more energetic and great after adding saturated fat to my current diet.

      At the same time I’m beginning to get confused on what else out there of the unknown that should be known.

      Thanks anyways Doc, this was an awesome artical, I’ll buy the book.

      Like

  10. Caught wind of this book a few days ago- good to see you posting this up Tim. Admittedly though, I’m curious to see how your readers respond. I guess this post will be an interesting scale on which to weigh mainstream thinking at the moment (or better put, which way the scale is now tipping).

    Let’s hope it’s for the better =).

    Also, I have a post coming out tomorrow (Sept 7th) around noon on my blog that I modeled after your WordPress/blogging speech post (it’s a video from my convention).

    Coincidentally, I also talk about saturated fat and cholesterol at certain points of the presentation.

    Gonna go pound some saturated fat =)

    -Anthony

    Like

  11. @David Turnbull

    I’ve seen research showing increased levels of testosterone from upping your saturated fat intake. Surely helpful for bulking up a bit =). Also, foods high in saturated fat often contain other nutrients beneficial for building muscle (red meat, egg yolks, etc).

    @Jason

    I’m sure the authors have a good deal of citations in the book. I for one have been a guinea pig though- gorging on saturated fat for over a year now =D. Coconut oil in particular is a favorite.

    -Anthony

    Like

  12. Interesting however, some years ago I did the Atkins diet and lost 14 pounds, ate meat and salad and some cheese. turned out it sent my uric acid levels of the charts, I decided to cut red meat for a week to see what happened (had so much energy, and clarity…)and never went back to it, later became a vegetarian and been for the last 10 years. I tried the raw food diet and lost more weight easier, unbelievable energy levels, but the raw diet requires, imagination, preparation tools and patience, so I got bored after 5 months went back to grilled tofu, boca burguers, ñoquis, and wine and got the pounds back,
    I am eager to read your new book, and test

    Like

    • @ Tatiana- Have you tried adding in high amounts of saturated fat from vegetarian sources like coconut, avocado, etc and and other healthy fats like olive oil, omega 3’s etc? Just curious if this might help weight loss and energy levels in a vegetarian diet.

      Like

  13. Thanks, Tim. I always look forward to your challenges to the conventional wisdom of the masses.

    Question: In your opinion, how does this vary from Atkins or any of the other low-carb diets? Is there something new that I’m missing?

    Having tried Atkins years ago, I can say I completely agree that if you are looking for a way to rid mid-section fat, this works! The challenge is sustaining this kind of diet for any length of time. I LOVE meat, but even I hit the point about six weeks into it where I couldn’t stand to look at another steak, chicken breast or piece of bacon. I had to go completely the opposite way for two weeks just to detox.

    Thoughts?

    Like

    • You know, I’ve been on Atkins for ten years now, I’m at the outermost limits of the carbs allowed, and I don’t get this claim that all you eat is meat when you go Atkins.

      It’s simply not true.

      I was on the strictest carb diet for over 6 months, and I ate plenty of vegetables. In fact, it was the same amount of vegetables I ate before; I only ate better vegetables for me. It takes a lot of vegetables to get to 12-15g of carb, if you know what you’re doing!

      Most days for lunch, I had some kind of meat and a salad of romaine, spinach, bell pepper, celery, cucumbers, parsley and chives. The carb level for the entire meal was 3-4g, depending on the dressing. I’d eat the bulk of my remaining vegetable allowance at dinner, and it was a LOT of food.

      Because I worked a lot of different shifts at the time, a lot of people saw me dropping pounds like crazy, and were even more shocked when they saw me doing it with bacon and eggs for breakfast, a super-marbled steak and salad for lunch, and shrimp alfredo with creamed spinach and buttery zucchini for dinner (old family recipe). I couldn’t be losing weight that way.

      But I was.

      Like

  14. @John

    There is a book that recently came out titled “The Primal Blueprint”. It’s a good and balanced read (on nutrition, I’m into other exercise protocols)- including saturated fat intake. The author also discusses transitions from conventional diets to a more “primal diet”- for our purposes one that is relatively high in saturated fat.

    It’s definitely worth checking out and should provide some insight on how to vary your diet, and transitional hiccups (ditching a carbohydrate addiction, for example).

    -Anthony

    Like

  15. I am half-way through implementing (I’ve done about two weeks) your “How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days… Without Doing Any Exercise” instructions…”. I don’t want to undo the 13-pounds weight loss so far but this saturated fat post has me thinking that there might be a feasible way to work more variety without sacrificing results. Your thoughts?

    Like

  16. Great post, Tim. I remember about 6 years ago I was listening to Dr. Joel Wallach’s “Dead Doctors Don’t Lie” tape, and even though a lot of his “facts” were controversial, he had come to the same conclusions involving the nature of fat and cholesterol. I’m glad to see that there is more to this story! I’ve been wanting to eat nothing but meat for years now!

    Like

  17. I find this absolutely intriguing and in some extent completely desirable, I guess it must be an evolutionary trait since humans wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for incorporating animal meat into the diet and historically, bigger civilizations depended largely on meat and their animal fats.

    Very good article.

    Like

    • There’s evidence that eating cooked meat is what made us evolve from a chimp-like ancestor into humans. It’s the cooked meat that made the calories and nutrients dense enough to enable us not to need to eat as often.

      I seem to recall that a primate would need to eat plants for nine continuous hours to get the same benefits to brain development as eating two pounds of cooked meat a day.

      Like

  18. @Tim and avid readers:

    I am glad to see Mary Enig’s name. It’s been quite a long time that the Weston A. Price Foundation has been shouting some quite well-fundamented (IMHO) data supporting saturated fat, despising soy, and some other heresies to mainstream nutrition.

    I bet Tim have already digested this material; in any case, I strongly recommend you all have at least a quick read in those links:

    * Summary of recomendations *
    http://www.westonaprice.org/brochures/wapfbrochure.html

    * Fats *
    http://www.westonaprice.org/knowyourfats/index.html

    * Soy *
    http://www.westonaprice.org/soy/index.html (summary and links)
    http://www.westonaprice.org/mythstruths/mtsoy.html (truths and myths)

    Like

  19. Seriously?!?!? You have effing lost your mind Tim and are consumed with the tunnel vision prevalent in the medical profession.

    First, I want to know how much saturated fat I should be eating in proportion to other nutrients. Simply stating, “eat more saturated fat” is not sufficient, as there are a whole host of other nutrients, which work in harmony with other nutrients, that are necessary for a healthy body.

    Second, simply consuming more of a specific nutrient, with disregard to healthy proportions, just because it “increases”, “improves”, or “boosts” certain, specific functions in the body ignores the possible detriments to other bodily functions (in this case, for example, healthy digestion). So please enlighten us all to the possible side effects of eating “too much” saturated fat.

    Third, the medical profession is only concerned with fighting singular instances of disease, like how to prevent cancer, diabetes, obesity, etc. It ignores trying to define what optimal nutrient means; whole body nutrition and the avoidance of ALL disease. We were designed to eat a certain diet, which is foods that provide us with everything we need to thrive, not just survive. The cause of disease is a direct result of the foods we eat (and the quality of air we breathe and sunlight we receive).

    Humans weren’t made to kill other animals and eat them Regardless of what the medical profession believes or “proves”, they fail to recognize this fact as obvious. Every other animal on this planet, with the exception of humans, are born with all the tools they need to eat. We are not born with rod and reel in hand, or spears, powerful jaws, and claws as weapons for killing cows and chickens. Our appetite isn’t stirred when we see a pasture filled with cattle. In fact, you are probably repulsed at the thought. So what makes anyone believe that a diet rich in animal “protein” (which is essentially a high fat diet) is optimal? Sure we can survive on it, with all the side effects of disease, but it’s not how we are meant to live.

    I respect you Tim, but we obviously disagree when it comes to diet. I encourage you to read “The 80/10/10 Diet” by Dr. Douglas Graham, which has heavily influenced my beliefs about food, diet, and health. If nothing else, it’s a fascinating read.

    Thanks for reading my diatribe. I look forward to being flamed :)

    Like

    • humans are omnivores. your g.i. tract is short like a carnivorous animal. you don’t have 4 stomachs to break down lots and lots of plant matter. you have canines like other meat eating animals. your stomach produces hydrochloric acid. the masai people of africa get 60% of their calories from animal fat. doesn’t mean you or i can do that but it’s possible for some. the original study that correlated fat intake with heart disease in rats was flawed. high sugar intake increases triglyceride levels. weston a. price foundation.

      Like

      • P-
        The Masai also have an average life expectancy of 40 years old, don’t think I want to emulate what they are doing.

        Like

      • Come on.

        The AVERAGE age was 40 years, but there were always older Maasai.

        The reason their AVERAGE age was so low wasn’t their diet, but because they didn’t have access to clean water and modern medicine. Those things meant that women were more likely to die in childbirth, and children were more likely to die before the age of 5. Those factors did far more to lower the AVERAGE age considerably.

        Like

      • @Denise

        That is a little vague. What are all the reasons they only live 40 years? Could it be living conditions, lack of medicine…etc. Maybe they would only average 30 years, but because of thier diet they get the other 10. What I am trying to say is that P only gave one example of this. There are many more. Pick up Gary Taubes book ” Why we get fat”. Great read and I think you will come away with a much better understand about this subject.

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  20. Interesting post. The way I see it, the whole nutritional approach to food is just wrong. As posted by David above, there is a ton of contradicting advice on nutrition out there and it seems to me that for every edible thing on the planet, there is at least one theory that says you should eat it because it’s great for you and at least one theroy that says you should avoid it at all costs, because it’s terrible for you.

    I think this often has to do with the fact that people are looking at vitamins, fats, carbohydrates, proteins etc. etc. but not at actual food. My favourite dietary advice is still:
    “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” (Michael Pollan)

    Having said that, any article that doesn’t join in with the “foods to be scared of” trend is already on the right track, in my opinion.

    Cheers,
    Shane

    Like

  21. I find this article worrying because there are no references and it suggests a diet that is contrary to almost all you hear elsewhere.

    I also find it concerning because the book referenced at the bottom has an affiliation link to Amazon, hence it is not an independent article but one with the intention of selling you the book.

    Like

    • Hi Ambient Guy,

      I’ll ask Dr. Eades x 2 to add some references, which they do have in the book. Second, it doesn’t hurt anyone to add an affiliate link, so I do. Simple as that. Check the Amazon #s out. The small amount it could add is not a factor in choosing content. If it were, I’d limit writing posts to products that were $100+.

      All the best,

      Tim

      Like

  22. I’d love to see some examples of their suggested meal plans. Steak, bacon and eggs sounds fine to me! Living in Asia I think it’s easier to get this stuff unpackaged and/or without the preservatives, but how do you get around that back in the States?

    Like

  23. I’d stick with Michael Pollan and others. The problem with this advice is that most people won’t consider the quality of the meat they eat and the toxins. Our industrial food complex has changed quite a bit from the 70’s.

    Also, the body is complex and this gives just one side of the picture. How do you explain the amazing success of Dr. McDougall which is a low-lipid vegan diet? His patients have far more miraculous results than what is cited here.

    The number one study of diet and disease is the China Study. All other data points are slivers compared to the volume of data and statistical correlations that came from the China Study.

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  24. Very controversial post, interesting though!

    In my opinion the whole idea of posting was skewed. Doctors Mrs and Mr Eadens promote low carb, high protein and high fat diets (Atkins diet) and then they say that it’s only saturated fats that are reason for good slimming results on such diets. I think it’s more to do with high protein content and and low carbohydrate content rather than high saturated fat content. Especially proteins are good in promoting satiety and their energy value seems to smaller than conventionally thought (perhaps 3,2 kcal/g instead of 4 kcal).

    The argued benefits of saturated fatty acids are medically unproven. What works in theory, mice or in lab tubes doesn’t necessarily work in man. Saturated fatty acids DO raise LDL-cholestrol which is extensively proven marker for cardiovascular disease (CAD) risk. They also tend to increase cancer forms of certain type. Both cancer and CAD are diseases that damage us most in western countries.

    I urge Tim and all the readers of this post to look deeper in to the subject and pay attention on what is published on Mediterranean diet. Its value has been demonstrated in numerous studies during the last two decades through wide spectrum of disease states.

    We do get saturated fats from normal food -no need for increase thus. In Finland where I come from, people get 25 grams saturated fat per day and in US the intake seems to be even more. We do not need more saturated fat.

    What we need is to decrease trans-fats and simple carbohydrates plus increase protein, fytochemicals, fiber and non-saturated fats -and keep saturated fat on current level. That’s better for weight, muscles, heart and even brains.

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  25. Any major change in diet can have temporary effects, often beneficial in the short term. Long term, though, these benefits are often illusory. The Atkins diet, for example, is something of a disaster over the long term.

    In addition, solid, peer-reviewed research shows that animal fats in the bloodstream raise the insulin resistance of the cells. This can be critical for diabetics–type II diabetes, which is in epidemic proportions in the Western world, can truthfully be classed as chronic high insulin resistance. Thus, for diabetics, this is a dangerous dietary regimen.

    In the early 1980s, Dr. Dean Ornish published a landmark study showing an actual reversal of heart disease symptoms using a vegan diet coupled with moderate exercise and stress relief. Arterial plaque actually decreased in case after case. In addition, a program at the Weimar Institute in California has used this sort of regimen to reverse symptoms of heart disease, diabetes and diabetes complications, and obesity, to name just a few.

    As a diabetic with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, I have spent over 3,000 hours researching in a medical library to determine the most healthy nutritional choices for me.

    Unfortunately, you can find MDs who state all sorts of things–often, with only a small part of the picture. After all, most medical training only includes as little as a single three semester hour course on nutrition. Then, they hold themselves out as experts in the field.

    Personally, believe there is a huge factor of stress to be concerned with. The body can cope with many environmental stresses (including many poor dietary choices)–until the total stress level becomes too great, when physiological breakdowns begin to accumulate.

    I suggest that readers of this blog seriously look into the long-term results of diets like Atkins before they jump on board looking for a quick fix.

    Like

  26. I’m all for dumping canola oil. I happen to be a part of the population that possesses the genetic quirk that heated canola oil tastes like rancid fish. If I have french fries or fried chicken that was cooked in canola oil, I know it on the first bite.

    It’s the same kind of quirk that makes those paper strips taste bitter, or causes cilantro to taste like soap. Fortunately cilantro tastes fine for me, because I love Mexican food.

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  27. Thanks, Anthony. I’ll be sure to check it out! As I said, my challenge was burnout more than anything else. After the first week of my body getting used to it, my energy, alertness and fat loss were completely and positively off the chart, with little change to my exercise routine.

    Have to agree, Cody. It would be quite easy to follow here in Asia, at least in terms of unpackaged/unprocessed meat, versus in the States, though I can assure you it is quite possible, as that’s where I was living when I tried Atkins. I would also like some meal examples, but one can assume that lack of structure is one of the benefits of such a diet. I know when I did it, I liked the fact that I could grill up a bunch of beef and chicken in one batched effort, refrigerate it and eat the entire week with little preparation in between.

    Charles, you’re probably right about weight loss, but as someone who has always been challenged with losing fat while maintaining muscle, I haven’t found a better fat burner in my 42 years.

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  28. Tim,

    Nice post, I’m looking forwards to reading your book on the human body etc. I cannot think of a better name than “The all meat diet!” sounds like something I could stick to!

    @Marcie et al; Palm oils are mainly used for their cheapness (like you said extraction from the rain forest) and have limited health benefits. The only mention in the article is for proper nerve signaling, I am told that the disadvantages of palm oil outweigh its minimal benefits. Therefore I believe that we shouldn’t use nearly as much palm oil, especially if it is unethically sourced. Controversial issue!

    Cheers

    Like

  29. Better to be a vegan and drive a hummer the eat meat and drive a prius. Tim, there are so many ways to lose weight that have longer staying power. There are also many more ways to be healthy and not kick the crap out of the planet.

    Like

  30. A site worth looking at is: second-opinions.co.uk written by Barry Groves PhD. He’s put up a wealth of information about the myths about fat, food and vegetanarianism, with additional notes about Diabetes.

    Like

  31. Hi Tim

    Have you read Sally Fallon’s book ‘Eat Fat, Loose Fat’?

    http://www.eatfatlosefat.com/research.php

    Her work is inspired by Weston A. Price who went around the world in 1910 – 1920 and recorded the eating habits of indigenous people. He found that those people (at that time) were much healthier due to their traditional diets.

    A quote from his wikipedia page:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weston_Price

    “In his studies he found that plagues of modern civilization (headaches, general muscle fatigue, dental caries or cavities, impacted molars, tooth crowding, allergies, heart disease, asthma, and degenerative diseases such as tuberculosis and cancer) were not present in those cultures sustained by indigenous diets. However, within a single generation these same cultures experienced all the above listed ailments with the inclusion of Western foods in their diet: refined sugars, refined flours, canned goods, etc.”

    best regards

    Sambodhi Prem

    Like

  32. If you’re looking for a plant-based source of saturated fat, go for palm oil.

    Ever noticed how “natural” peanut butter separates and the peanut oil floats to the to? Makers use partially hydrogenated oil to thicken the peanut butter and thereby avoid separation in traditional peanut butter. Of course, they can’t use that in the “all natural” product. When you see “All Natural, No Stir” version, it probably uses palm oil in place of partially hydrogenated.

    Partially hydrogenated *usually* oils are made from mixtures of saturated and unsaturated oils that are sent through a catalytic cracking process. This results in the unsaturated oils being incompletely hydrogenated, and introducing “saturation.” Palm oil is a naturally occurring plant source of the saturated variety.

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  33. Nice post! I’m sure this might come as a surprise to many of your readers.

    @Reijo,

    Where is the evidence that saturated fat increased LDL? PUFAs may decrease LDL, but it seems that saturated fats have little effect on cholesterol. And where is the evidence that LDL alone is a marker for CVD risk? The ratio of LDL to HDL is a better indicator, and the number of triglycerides and the size of LDL particles if even better. It’s the small LDL that is worrisome, not LDL by itself.

    I’d be slightly wary of promoting fried chicken with the skin, since it has a ton of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) — see my blog for a list of AGEs in common foods. From a cholesterol viewpoint, it probably doesn’t matter, though.

    – JLL

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  34. Not all saturated fat is created equal (18 carbons is better than 12, 14, or 16 – the most commonly made one). The body is capable of producing any saturated fat it needs in a similar manner than more amino acids can be made from a variety of building blocks.There are only 2 essential fatty acids (linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid) that we cannot make.
    Where is the evidence that a diet low in saturated fats leads to a too few saturated fats in the body? It is akin to saying a diet low in simple carbohydrates prevents the generation of glucose for immediate energy stores and synthesis of various other polysaccrides necessary for normal functioning.
    Theories are all fun and good until they are tested. Sure correlations are nice, but they aren’t cause and effect.

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  35. Reijo

    Its good you are reading this post, and you highlight some of the pernicious untruths perpetuated by the nutritional/health establishment. Not your fault at all. I only discovered this by extensive research.

    “LDL-cholestrol which is extensively proven marker for cardiovascular disease (CAD) risk. They also tend to increase cancer forms of certain type. Both cancer and CAD are diseases that damage us most in western countries.”

    In fact it is not total LDL that’s associated with rogue plaques but one of its subspecies – VLDL. Saturated fat diets raise the large fluffy LDLs and reduce (especially with low carb) VLDL.
    This was demonstrated way back with the development of the ultracentrifuge by Prof Goffman. He was uniquely able to analyses in detail blood lipids in healthy and diseased humans. He identified low HDL, high VLDL, high triglycerides, and high glucose and insulin as a Pattern B association. Guess what, the high carb, polyunsaturated diet recommended by the health police, and the Western diet, are exactly what produce these associations. A low carb, high sat fat diet produces Pattern A – the healthy profile.

    You have been bamboozled by the health authorities, they neglect to mention the whole picture because, as you see from above, it would totally discredit their position over the last 30 odd years.

    “say that it’s only saturated fats that are reason for good slimming results on such diets”.
    No, they say sat fats are healthier than the others, especially polyunsaturated.

    The Mediterranean diet is a myth concocted by Ancel Keys – it’s a shorthand for the kind of diet the health police want us to use, but resembles no actual diet in the Med… which varies and is often very high in sat fats.

    “decrease trans-fats and simple carbohydrates plus increase protein”
    yes – but all carbs must be controlled as they all end up as blood sugar. A plate of rice (brown or white) is pretty much the same as a plate of sugar.

    “Fiber” has never been confirmed as a protectant (at least not insoluble grain fibre) – in fact bran fibre is high in antnutrients (toxins) that attack the gut lining and prevent mineral absorption, and many new studies suggest it is cancer promoting, quite apart from it’s role in autoimmune disease.

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  36. Certainly a very intersting post. It’s most interesting the positive view of saturated fat- we often are bombarded with what many believe would be negative effects.

    There’s so much contradictory “facts” thrown out abut meat and other type of foods. Often times it is from someone, or organisations that have some bias based on their personal interested. Good to see an unbiased view of this and goes to show that where there may be darkness, there’s always light.

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  37. Well, saturated fat from meat is going to be a luxury in this century. One kg of red meat is about your entire year of shower water and the amount of energy involved is significant. I’m not vegetarian, but if you look at the way all meat is produced it’s not exactly something most humans will be able to eat very often.

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  38. Having almost effortlessly lost weight after decreasing carbohydrates and increasing the rest (vegetables, fruit, nuts, fats, etc) I’d warn anyone to be prepared for a wardrobe change if they do try this! At the same time, keep in mind that it is an excerpt/advert for a book and therefore subject to some conflict of interest. My concern is encouraging a knee-jerk reactionary swing from low-fat everything to high-fat everything when clearly the answer is ultimately going to be less exciting but more pragmatic; balance.

    There are a lot of sites including Mark Sisson’s (Primal Blueprint author, referred to in Anthony’s comment) discussing this and related topics but they do have a little more balance, which is I think what Reijo’s comment is suggesting. At the same time I don’t think it’s worth getting too hung up on it. Just find a few journal accounts of people trying all or heavy meat diets and you’ll realise that your natural inclination away from boredom is likely to kick in way before too many ill effects do.

    To expand a bit on point 2, stronger bones, I’d also suggest looking into the role of fat in the health of our teeth. For example, this article (excerpted)…

    “Dr. Price provides before and after X-rays showing re-calcification of cavity-ridden teeth on this program. … Both diets were high in minerals, rich in fat-soluble vitamins (including D), and low in phytic acid.”

    http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/03/reversing-tooth-decay.html

    …was probably what got me started properly questioning the logic of low fat eating (that and a tooth the dentist told me he’d be “watching”).

    There is definitely a need for more popular media balance in this area. One case in point is a series of public-service looking ads running at the moment in Australia with a “cardiologist” explaining how much bad saturated fat your kids would eat in a year (illustrated with the obligatory pile of butter) just from spreading butter on their toast daily. Cut past the recommendation to switch to a seed based margarine and don’t blink or you’ll miss the logo for “the largest supplier of edible fats and oils to Australian and New Zealand food manufacturers and wholesalers” at the end. Even better, wait for their margarine ads to appear in the next ad break. Now that’s clearly a conflict of interest!

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  39. I’ve read books and arguments by Eades and others before. And there is a lot of evidence for their position. But it seems to me that if we are talking about the best diet for health, then we should look at the diets that have brought people the greatest health. The studies I’ve read on longevity, and the traditional diets that support longevity, go in the opposite direction, where meat is more of a garnish than a main course. What do you think about this divergent evidence? Anyone know how Eades explains away these studies?

    Like

  40. I was a vegetarian for 15 years & became weaker and weaker with increasing health problems. I tried eating fish & chicken which did absolutely nothing for me. I was so brainwashed by the vegan’s and other so-called experts’ myths about the dangers of eating meat, that it took me years to get over my fears and try it, even though deep down I knew that’s what was missing from my diet. Once I brought beef back into my diet, ALL my health problems totally vanished. I now eat it daily in order to feel well. always buy organic, and also stick to a whole foods diet without sugar, dairy and processed foods. I have perfect digestion (never did as a vegan), need very little sleep, never tired or sleeping during the day, high energy, never catch colds or the flu, low cholesterol, and lifelong asthma has vanished.

    It’s a very powerful way of eating, and it’s too bad that so many people have bought into the myths and lies by so many who claim eating meat is dangerous. What I believe is dangerous is the sugars, chemicals, preservatives, artificial flavors and colors that are going into processed foods, along with white flour products. This is lethal to the human body, and is the cause for illnesses and diseases, including all the heart problems they attribute to meat. A shame that so many are afraid to try and it and suffering needlessly!

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  41. Interesting article. What I find most appealing is that this shows us how to “hack” the body just like we do computers. The process is the same. You spend time observing the system discerning how it works. Once you have a good idea of how it works, you start thinking about ways to use the built in systems in an unintended manner.

    However, just like computer hacking, I don’t think this is a long term solution. Nature likes balance and people are a part of nature. This is just the yin to veganism’s yang. Lean too far in one direction and you lose the other and that conflicts with nature’s tendency towards balance. Just make sure you consider the costs associated with your decision.

    Finally, the note at the end regarding canola oil surprised me. I know it has one of the higher smoke points and is used in stir fry quite often because of that property. Is this the context you’re using to describe “sensitive to heat”?

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    • Hi Matt,

      It just means that you don’t have to cut the fat off of your meat or avoid higher-fat content, as long — and this is important — that you source your meat from sources that won’t contaminate it. I encourage people to purchase locally grass-fed when possible, or organic at least. The grass-fed has as a different taste and can take some getting used to, but you’ll find that you don’t need to eat as much when the meat is nutritionally-dense, as grass-fed/grass-finished is (CLA, etc.).

      Happy eating!

      Tim

      Like

      • Hey Tim,

        Curiosity question. From your travels, where would you recommend I go for the best beef? I remember from 4HB you mentioned eating a ton of steak in Nicaragua I think?

        I’d love to go somewhere that has massive amounts of delicious beef on the cheap. A month vacation where I can eat 1lb ribeyes for breakfast/lunch/dinner and 8 oz strips for snacks in between sounds sublime. But I’d prefer not to spend $15-20/meal as that takes away from the awesomeness.

        So where’s the best beef?

        Like

      • You can buy grass fed beef in bulk and it can be quite reasonable. I recently ordered a 1/4 of a steer for $575. It should feed my family for at least six months or more.

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  42. This article doesn’t really delve into the meat of the substance ( pun intended ), which is something called “all cause mortality”. Without citation, it is hard to judge this articles contentions. It should be clear , however that , although the human body has a wonderful capacity to adapt to a wide array of diets , all cause mortality for men ( for which most of the studies have been done ) is lower in a COMBINATION of a high fruit and vegetable intake and a low saturated fat intake. ( J. Nutr. 135:556-561, March 2005 ).

    Many factors affect all cause mortality. We shouldn’t minimize the importance of such things as ETOH intake ( can be positive or negative ) smoking ( invariable negative ), activity level , baseline weight as an independent risk factor, genetics, and perhaps even a psychological component and spiritual component that can affect the duration of one’s life. We should also recognize that all cause mortality is not an end all be all – the quality of one’s life is equally important. But my experience with over 100,000 patients under my belt has made it crystal clear to me that a typical diet rich in high fat, highly processed foods results in devastating blow to peoples health including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, general fatigue, and joint problems.

    Anyway, I think this a great discussion. Just look at this graph from the Center for disease control and you will see what I mean:

    http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html

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  43. John:

    As far as hating all meat after few weeks – try Cyclical Ketogenic Diet developed for bodybuilders – you may eat carbs two days per week, which helps fat loss and muscle preservation and also refreshes you from all that meaty stuff. ;)

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  44. @john

    Like some others have suggested, there are low-carb diets that allow for you to mix in carbs either at certain points in the day or at certain points in the week. Tim has a post along these lines that some work consider TKD(targeted ketogenic diet) where he eats carbs after working out. In it he also references and links to the outline of a CKD diet, where people eat carbs usually for 1.5 days out of the week to replenish glycogen, and the rest of the week they eat less than 20-30 carbs per day, and go into what’s known at ketosis to convert fat into energy rather than sugar.

    Here is the link to Tim’s post: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2007/04/06/how-to-lose-20-lbs-of-fat-in-30-days-without-doing-any-exercise/

    And here is a post I did that is a shopping guide for CKD, to aid people at the grocery store that are looking to stock up food for this kind of diet:

    http://perfectmike.com/2009/07/12/the-ultimate-ckd-shopping-guide/

    Hope this information helps you.

    Mike

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  45. thanks tim, in addition to the primal blueprint (mentioned in the comments somewhere above) i highly recommend fats that heal, fats that kill by udo erasmus. also if you have the patience to deal with a truly moronic and repetitive writer, some similar thoughts to your post are discussed in death by diet by robert barefoot.

    Like

  46. Thanks for the surprising and eye-opening information. I think most foods are okay or beneficial, but our consumption amounts are what tend to lead us down paths of obesity.

    Thanks again…

    Dave
    LifeExcursion

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  47. I works! I’m the living proof!

    Oddly enough, I read the Eades’ original book, ‘Protein Power’, just recently. As a result, I’ve been on a high protein diet (incorporating lots of green vegetables) for exactly two months.

    I’ve so far lost 2 stones (28lbs) and counting, and my previously bloated stomach has all but disappeared. I also possess infinitely more energy and am never hungry. In fact I enjoy my food more than ever before. And the best bit is I continue to drink as much wine as I like and still the weight drops off. This is my kind of diet!

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  48. I applaud you for your risk-taking of advocating an all-meat diet… that’s about as socially faux paus as wearing fur. But I have to question your heart as to the killing of so many animals. It is simply not necessary to eat meat to have a strong and healthy body.

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  49. @Charles is right. And Tim has said this before in a video somewhere – a food choice that is better for the planet is going to be better for you – (Jose do you have the link to that vid?)

    It’s important to eat foods/meats that were raised responsibly:

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1917458,00.html

    or rent Food, Inc. from Netflix: http://digg.com/u3C8go

    And a good article on palm oil since I mentioned that above: http://digg.com/d312TKz

    Thanks!

    Like

  50. The body has an incredible ability to take whatever you give it and use it to whatever goals it currently has (goals are based on inputs like e.g. the food itself, exercise, temperature, stress). If you believe it takes a long time to dramatically re-program our genes, and that our food supply HAS changed dramatically in the last 2 generations, then you only need to look at how man lived in the past to see what “diet” might work. All-meat probably qualifies. Mostly/all-meat plus lots of aerobic exercise probably turns on the “hi-ho hi-ho, off to hunt we go” body program which makes you lean and strong for persistence hunting (“Born to Run” – great book even if you hate running).

    There seem to be quite a few books out there these days about how our distant ancestors lived that have quite interesting perspectives on how to be healthy. Anyone have a favorite one to recommend?

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  51. This post shouldn’t be accepted uncritically. Here are some challenges:

    First: The weight of evidence for a controversial hypothesis should be proportional to the controversy it stirs. If you do a PubMed search, you’ll easily find evidence published in peer-reviewed journals indicating that reductions in saturated fat intake correlate with an increase–not a decrease–in Lp(a). (I’ve provided an example below.) The American Heart Association still recommends that you limit (not eliminate) foods high in saturated fat from your diet (http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4582).

    These rules of thumb were not concocted from the armchair or from anecdotal evidence. They are the result of a lot of controlled experiments and epidemiological research. It would be nice if a diet high in saturated fat were good for you, but where’s the evidence?

    Second: Biological systems are highly nonlinear. A complete deficit of some nutrients might be catastrophic. But that doesn’t mean that there will be a linear increase in benefits from the intake of that substance. There are dose responses. More is not always better. There is an enormous literature on this phenomenon under the topic “hormesis”. The typical American diet is already rich in saturated fat. Telling people to eat more saturated fat might be similar to telling people who already drink a lot of alcohol that they should drink more because a glass of wine a day is good for you. Of course, if you go hard enough on the booze, you get brain damage (Korsakoff’s syndrome) and liver failure.

    Third: There is increasing evidence that biological effects are highly conditional. Differences in genotype affect the way that we process food, because those differences affect the expression of the digestive enzymes we carry. (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/10/science/10starch.html)

    Fourth: The typical American diet is loaded with processed sugar. The reduction in processed sugar intake is an obvious confounding factor to explain fat loss in people who switch to an all meat diet.

    Example of a recent paper showing that reductions in saturated fat intake correlate with an increase in Lp(a):

    Silaste et al (2004) Changes in dietary fat intake alter plasma levels of oxidized low-density lipoprotein and lipoprotein(a). Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 24(3):498-503.

    OBJECTIVE: To assess the effects of dietary modifications on oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL). METHODS AND RESULTS: Thirty-seven healthy women were fed two diets. Both diets contained a reduced amount of total and saturated fat. In addition, one diet was low in vegetables and the other was high in vegetables, berries, and fruit. The dietary intake of total fat was 70 g per day at baseline and decreased to 56 g (low-fat, low-vegetable diet) and to 59 g (low-fat, high-vegetable diet). The saturated fat intake decreased from 28 g to 20 g and to 19 g, and the amount of polyunsaturated fat intake increased from 11 g to 13 g and to 19 g (baseline; low-fat, low-vegetable; low-fat, high-vegetable; respectively). The amount of oxidized LDL in plasma was determined as the content of oxidized phospholipid per ApoB-100 using a monoclonal antibody EO6 (OxLDL-EO6). The median plasma OxLDL-EO6 increased by 27% (P<0.01) in response to the low-fat, low-vegetable diet and 19% (P<0.01) in response to the low-fat, high-vegetable diet. Also, the Lp(a) concentration was increased by 7% (P<0.01) and 9% (P=0.01), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Alterations in the dietary fat intake resulted in increased plasma concentrations of lipoprotein(a) and OxLDL-EO6.

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  52. Good to know! We often forget the important role healthy fats can play in our diet due to all the negative media coverage of fats in different foods. It was good to see a list like this, which I think serves as a reminder that even things like saturated fat can be healthy in some form in moderation.

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  53. Sorry, but I think the article is only market making (Buy the book! Buy the book!…)

    If you eat a lot of meat, you also eat a lot of sulfur which increases your bodies need for calcium.
    So most of the articles statements about the need of calcium is clueless.
    Informed vegetarians who do body building know that they have no need for extra quantities of calcium because their body generally needs _less_ calcium than the average carnivore.

    Osteoporosis is especially present in societies who eat a lot of (raw) meat (e.g. look for studies on Inuits or other mainly carnivore tribes).

    But I strongly agree that the fear of saturated fat intake is highly overrated.
    There is a reason why a lot of research on the positive effects of cholesterol never gets published (look for “increase risk of heart failure” in combination with “cholesterol medication” and you’ll know why…)

    Regards,
    occasionally body building vegetarian with very strong immune system since avoiding meat from medicated animal cadavers — lucky you, if you can hunt your meals yourself.

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  54. @JLL

    Evidence for saturated fat (SFA) and LDL is well established. SFA also raises HDL. To keep it short:
    – Annu Rev Nutr. 1993;13:355-81
    -Am J Clin Nutr. 1994 Dec;60(6 Suppl):1017S-1022S. Review.

    Evidence for CAD and LDL is also well known.
    – abundant clinical evidence: See Am J Cardiol. 1998 Nov 5;82(9A):3Q-12Q or Am J Cardiol. 1986 Feb 12;57(5):18C-23C
    – statins lower LDL and do not affect extensively HDL -still dramatic results in CAD trials, cardiac outcomes have decreased
    – familiar hypercholestrolemia (extremely high LDL) patiens die young (due CAD) if their LDL is not treated down.

    LDL/HDL ratio is indeed a good risk marker.

    Like

  55. @Cody

    There is a video I made recently on youtube titled “The Dream Shake”. It’s not a perfect example, but it is a meal I have nearly daily (frequently changing the ingredients as well, often times adding more fat via grassfed butter, coconut, etc). If you search for it, it should pull right up.

    Beyond that the meals I eat are usually very simple, but people tend to drool over them none the less =). A recent favorite is canned tuna /w avocado and shredded carrots (/w spices on top). Another common item is a dozen whole scrambled eggs with hot sauce, salt/pepper, and a few veggies.

    Steaming vegetables (carrots, broc, cauli) and adding a bunch of coconut oil or grassfed butter is always delicious. Also, any food I fry is ALWAYS cooked in coconut oil- which is over 90% sat fat. It is by far the best oil to cook with.

    @Tisha

    There isn’t a whole lot of risk involved eating against the norm, no matter how it appears (or what our peers say).

    The fact is humans have eaten lots of meat for millions of years. Considering this, I believe it is not possible to live a healthy life (long term) not eating meat. Not only is vegetarianism impossible without modern civilization/agriculture- but we have been designed to eat animals, over the course of those 2.5 million years of evolution.

    At no point in time were our ancestors purely vegetarian- you simply could not extract enough energy/nutrients from plants at the time.

    Considering this, is it really so “bad” to eat in accordance with our evolution, and put your health first? Coming from a former vegan, I strongly encourage you to do more research at sites like beyondveg.com or even on blogs such as Mark Sisson’s (he has a few sections on veganism and has as much respect as anyone else for that kind of moral choice).

    -Anthony

    Like

  56. @Cody

    There is a video I made recently on youtube titled “The Dream Shake”. It’s not a perfect example, but it is a meal I have nearly daily (frequently changing the ingredients as well, often times adding more fat via grassfed butter, coconut, etc). If you search for it, it should pull right up.

    Beyond that the meals I eat are usually very simple, but people tend to drool over them none the less =). A recent favorite is canned tuna /w avocado and shredded carrots (/w spices on top). Another common item is a dozen whole scrambled eggs with hot sauce, salt/pepper, and a few veggies.

    Steaming vegetables (carrots, broc, cauli) and adding a bunch of coconut oil or grassfed butter is always delicious. Also, any food I fry is ALWAYS cooked in coconut oil- which is over 90% sat fat. It is by far the best oil to cook with.

    @Tisha

    There isn’t a whole lot of risk involved eating against the norm, no matter how it appears (or what our peers say).

    The fact is humans have eaten lots of meat for millions of years. Considering this, I believe it is not possible to live a healthy life (long term) not eating meat. Not only is vegetarianism impossible without modern civilization/agriculture- but we have been designed to eat animals, over the course of those 2.5 million years of evolution.

    At no point in time were our ancestors purely vegetarian- you simply could not extract enough energy/nutrients from plants at the time.

    Considering this, is it really so “bad” to eat in accordance with our evolution, and put your health first? Coming from a former vegan, I strongly encourage you to do more research at sites like beyondveg dot com or even on blogs such as Mark Sisson’s (he has a few sections on veganism and has as much respect as anyone else for that kind of moral choice).

    -Anthony

    ps- sorry if this was a double comment, I believe the first one got held for moderation

    Like

  57. There are a few problems with eating a lot of meat. First, meat in general is an expensive food when added up over the years, and can a burden to those of us who are more income challenged, or don’t like wasting money where we don’t have to. Eggs are a good way around this as they are one of the cheapest foods out there, and still have the protein and saturated fat content of meat.

    Secondly, commercial meat, particularly beef, is loaded with antibiotics and dangerous steroids. When eaten in large quantities, carcinogens add up, while consuming antibiotics on a regular basis likely has an overall negative effect on our immune systems, damaging the good bacteria we all have and need, while allowing strands of harmful bacteria to build resistance to our drugs.

    The quickest solution to both of these problems is consuming organic eggs. These eggs aren’t 1$ per dozen, like I saw non-organic eggs last night at my local Trader Joe’s were, but they are still quite a bargain compared to basically all other forms of meat at around $3 per dozen. Plus, you get the added benefit of knowing that the chickens were treated a good deal nicer than at an industrial agriculture facility. Investigate this if you dare, it isn’t a pretty story.

    Anyways, that’s my two cents. Hope you enjoyed the food for though (yeah… pun intended :)

    Like

  58. @Cody

    There is a video I made recently on youtube titled “The Dream Shake”. It’s not a perfect example, but it is a meal I have nearly daily (frequently changing the ingredients as well, often times adding more fat via grassfed butter, coconut, etc). If you search for it, it should pull right up.

    Beyond that the meals I eat are usually very simple, but people tend to drool over them none the less =). A recent favorite is canned tuna /w avocado and shredded carrots (/w spices on top). Another common item is a dozen whole scrambled eggs with hot sauce, salt/pepper, and a few veggies.

    Steaming vegetables (carrots, broc, cauli) and adding a bunch of coconut oil or grassfed butter is always delicious. Also, any food I fry is ALWAYS cooked in coconut oil- which is over 90% sat fat. It is by far the best oil to cook with.

    @Tisha

    There isn’t a whole lot of risk involved eating against the norm, no matter how it appears (or what our peers say).

    The fact is humans have eaten lots of meat for millions of years. Considering this, I believe it is not possible to live a healthy life (long term) not eating meat. Not only is vegetarianism impossible without modern civilization/agriculture- but we have been designed to eat animals, over the course of those 2.5 million years of evolution.

    At no point in time were our ancestors purely vegetarian- you simply could not extract enough energy/nutrients from plants at the time.

    Considering this, is it really so “bad” to eat in accordance with our evolution, and put your health first? Coming from a former vegan, I strongly encourage you to do more research at sites like beyondveg dot com or even on blogs such as Mark Sisson’s (he has a few sections on veganism and has as much respect as anyone else for that kind of moral choice).

    -Anthony

    ps- sorry if this was a (triple) comment, I believe the first one got held for moderation, and the second one I may have messed up with my browser.

    Like

  59. @tisha

    My favorite response to vegetarianism is from Maddox. Unless you grow all your own food, the number animals killed to provide your food can be much higher as a vegetarian. In growing vegetables many more animals are killed by farming equipment and loss of habitat (think mice, gophers, rabbits, insects, etc.) A single grass fed cow provides massive amounts of food with only a single death. Is the cow’s life more precious than the twenty moles?

    Like

  60. Interesting to see the comments fall into about three buckets:

    1) It sounds great, but it doesn’t do X and Y like my diet does.
    2) It may work, but doing it requires something that violates one of my heartfelt philosophies.
    3) Absolutely, now let me tell you my story.

    Responding, in reverse order…

    3) Hey dude, that’s great. What else, aside from a story, do you have to contribute? Any studies or science to back up your experiences?

    2) That’s interesting, but the point of the blog post was about a diet and its effectiveness. Philosophical discussions about the right to take an animals life, the rape of wetlands and rainforests, aren’t really relevant are they?

    1) Actually, it’s relatively unlikely that a single diet will ever produce the same results good or bad for everybody who tries it. The human body is simply too complex to reduce to a set of hard and fast rules that always apply. What structured comparisons (including double blind statistical analysis with control groups) between your diet and others have been attempted and reported on?

    I know this is meta-sniping, but almost everybody I know is worried about their health and diet and almost everything they think they know is based on press releases and half- or mis-information. Diets, supplements, and fitness aids are a multi-billion dollar business in just the United States. It’s time that some of that was subjected to objective scientific scrutiny.

    What works and what doesn’t? What can be replicated by different researches using meaningful samples from real world populations? Do men respond differently from women? Do different diets produce varying effects based on the age of the dieter?

    And those are just the questions off the top of my mind…

    Like

  61. Interesting post. I see where you are going with this.

    There is so much more to help others distinguish good fats from bad fats and am sure your book will outline that.

    I agree not all fats are equal. It’s important to have moderation. A balanced diet, cardio and weightlfiting will heavily weigh in to help increase bone density, stronger immune system, healthy lungs, etc. A mid-section fat loss solution takes more than “saturated fats and all meat diet” and am confident you know that. You’ve done a great job on hitting on those key points before.

    I’m a Vegan : -). Yet, I think this post is great opportunity for people to explore and learn more about the subject of Fats (trans, saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated).

    Hope your elbow is better. Take care.

    Like

  62. Tisha : Recommending an all-meat diet is hardly a faux paux, since we live in a predominantly meat-eating society. Also, you would be hard-pressed to find a vegetable equivalent for the nutrients of whole eggs, or even chicken. The fact is, that while we *can* live without meat, there is very little real evidence that we *should.*
    We raise the animals we eat – for food. It is a symbiotic relationship. We don’t raise ‘em ’cause they are cute =)
    Tim : great post. If nothing else, it should instigate a fresh discussion about nutrition and what we “know” about it.

    Like

  63. Just from personal experience, I know the leanest I’ve ever been without trying really hard at it, was when I ate whatever meats I wanted and lots of vegetables. I didn’t eat many starches, like pasta, french fries, or sweets, simply because I’d never cared for them that much. When I got married, my wife who is a fitness professional and could eat whatever and stay thin due to the amount of calories she burned, would eat pasta and sweets and so did I since it was in the house. At that time, I also tried to watch what I ate in terms of meats as well. I gained 40 pounds. That extra weight is gone now, but I exercise a lot. I think I’ll experiment and go back to eating whatever meats I want and see how it affects me. Good info in the post to consider.

    Like

  64. I was a vegetarian for 15 years & became weaker and weaker with increasing health problems. I tried eating fish & chicken which did absolutely nothing for me. I was so brainwashed by the vegan’s and other so-called experts’ myths about the dangers of eating meat, that it took me years to get over my fears and try it, even though deep down I knew that’s what was missing from my diet. Combining grains, beans, tempeh, and seitan is does not make complete protein, contrary to vegan BS. There is also something lacking energetically in fish & chicken. Once I brought beef back into my diet, ALL my health problems totally vanished. I now eat it daily in order to feel well. always buy organic, and also stick to a whole foods diet without sugar, dairy and processed foods. I have perfect digestion (never did as a vegan), need very little sleep, never tired or sleeping during the day, high energy, never catch colds or the flu, low cholesterol, and lifelong asthma has vanished.

    It’s a very powerful way of eating, and it’s too bad that so many people have bought into the myths and lies by those who falsely claim eating meat is dangerous. What I believe is dangerous is the sugars, chemicals, preservatives, artificial flavors and colors that are going into processed foods, along with white flour products. This is lethal to the human body, and is the cause for most illnesses and diseases, including all the heart problems they attribute to meat. A shame that so many are afraid to try it, since many of their health problems would improve.

    Like

  65. there’s so many different opinions when it comes to healthy food, and studies that say this is bad are refuted years later with new studies saying it’s good. maybe there’s no good or bad food, as long as we eat in moderation and live an active lifestyle.

    Like

  66. Tim’s posting will generate a lot of controversy. I hold that the great majority of this “controversy” is based on an overarching problem. America has a neurotic “food-phobia”.

    Depending on whatever guru or diet plan to which you subscribe, you become neurotic over calories, fat, fiber, animal protein (or absence thereof), sugars, sodium, and the list goes on. We obsess over micro/macronutrients according to the study-du jour.

    The problem is that we don’t eat nutrients, we eat food.

    Foods contain necessary nutrients, but Americans need to grasp a holistic sense of our diets. There are more synergistic and unknown biochemical processes that occur between our bodies and our food. This primevil relationship between nature and our bodies goes beyond the laboratory.

    We get instinctual and cultural pleasures from our foods. Our level of scientific knowledge may have changed over time, but our physiology is as ancient as the natural world. Animals consume the food they are designed to eat. I doubt whether they sit there contemplating the fiber level of a piece of food.

    Humans need to use a common sense approach to our diet. Eat things that are real foods: foods that are recognizable as food. Many people wisely recommend moderation in food consumption. However with the manic oscillation of the food wars, how can any semblence of moderation exist? We pour more psychological guilt and worry than sodium all over our food. How can this be healthy?

    Tim does present sound data. The digestive tract is, anatomically, that of an omnivore. It is a biological fact. Anthropologically, humans have consumed meat for millenia. Your nervous system (including your brain) demands good portions of fat in order to function.

    Listen deeply to your body and what it truly needs. Seek out balance and moderation knowing full well that your incredible, biological machine is just as mysterious and complex as the natural world in which it exists.

    Like

  67. Having done Atkins before, I can say that a high protein, high saturated fat diet does indeed make you shed pounds, I dropped 30 in less than 6 months without doing any exercise really.

    The concern I believe is that high saturated fat leads to a heavy acidic diet, which possibly leads to other nastiness like cancer.

    Like

  68. This is a potentially dangerous message to send to the masses…especially in the US where looking good already trumps actually being healthy. I’ve been a vegetarian (except for cold water fish) for over 17 years and am very healthy with outstanding blood work. While I’m not necessarily touting a vegetarian lifestyle is for everyone, telling people to increase their intake of meat (which will naturally decrease their intake of fruits & vegetables) will only further expedite the decline in the quality of health of the people here. If Obama succeeds in socializing healthcare in the US be prepared to have your wallet emptied if more people buy into this advice.

    Like

  69. It’s a great post but I wouldn’t recommend an all-meat diet though.
    Red meat can take up to 4 days for the digestive system to totally do its work and there’s other great alternatives like nuts such as almonds which are rich in protein,efa and saturated fats,in fact early in the year,I went to see the doctor and I’ve never been
    in better health and I was eating a lot of nuts…lol
    Eggs are a great source of protein and fat so does legumes and I’m not advocating
    a vegetarian diet as I love meat but I eat it in moderation but I truely believe that eating more saturated fats can help in losing bodyfat and can be a great fuel for working out.
    And eating “good fats” makes me full quick and I do a great job to avoid high glycemic
    carbs and processed foods,but for butter,old cheese,full fat yogurt,it’s fair game!!

    Like

    • Robert,
      There is absolutely no truth that it takes 4 days for meat to digest. A healthy body processes and eliminates within 24 hours. Of course if you are a glutton and overburden your system it may take longer.

      Like

  70. @Reijo

    You claim that saturated fat has been linked to higher risk of cancer. I also urge you to look a bit deeper into the scientific nuances..

    Find me a non-retrospective study that sufficiently isolates the variable of saturated fat intake from trans-fat intake and nitrate/nitrites and tell me if it still shows a positive correlation to cancer risk.

    Find that for me, then we’ll talk.

    Like

  71. @Anthony

    Great reference to the Primal Diet. Mark’s Daily Apple is always an interesting read! It’s similar to Tim’s “no white food” diet (I do eat the legumes for caloric density–too expensive for my fiance and I to eat only meats, veggies, fruits right now). He wrote a “Definitive Guide to Saturated Fat” that was incredibly informative.

    ———–
    Another important use for saturated fats: To repair tissue damage or to grow, you’ll need to produce lipids for lipid bilayers, which make up a cell’s semipermeable membrane. And to make lipids, your body needs…Saturated fats! Kind of a Bio 101 explanation, but relevant.

    BTW, cashews are a good “snack” source of myristic and lauric acid. I know, snacks are bad, but when I’m teaching all day, I can’t eat a bunch of small meals :).

    Like

  72. Great post, Tim. Humans are omnivores. We can eat so many different foods, meats and veggies alike. With all the debates of what to eat and what not to eat, doesn’t come down to how you feel about yourselves. If you look at different tribes around the world, they all have different diets. Some meat, some veggy. But the overall consensus is that the tribes that are content with life are the ones that live longer, no matter their diet.

    Like

  73. Tim,

    So someone has “MD” at the end of their names. This really doesn’t mean much in today’s free information world.

    “Good saturated fats” are more prevalent in things like avocados, nuts and coconut oil.

    Meat is a very bad source for these fats – in more ways than one.

    Meat does not support overall health in the body.

    Do some looking and you’ll find that there are far better things you could fill your stomach with. Especially if you are interested in losing weight.

    Want better neural signaling, liver health, and immunity while losing weight and feeling full of energy? Try Vegetables.

    Not too mention, meat production in the U.S. creates more earth warming emissions than every car and truck on the road.

    Like

  74. I have personally followed an all-meat diet for just over a year now. In that time I have lost about 90 lbs and feel better than I ever have in my adult life (I’m 35). Don’t take my word for it.. research “Zero Carb” and you’ll find some interesting, paradigm challenging information.

    Like

  75. Good post. I agree that there is a lot of good fats out there. Eat that avocado! I have found that different people seem to do well on different types of eating plans. I have veggie friends that eat an all raw diet and look fantastic-young and skinny with glowing skin. They have also healed themselves from various health issues. I also have friends that stay very fit and energtic on an atkins style high-protein diet. While everyone’s metabolism and chemical makeup is different, I think a common dominator is leaving out all the flour, wheat and processed sugar. Packaged food doesn’t seem to make anyone feel or look good. Being skinny is great, but if you age your face and colon in the process (all meat)-maybe you need a little more balance. Fruit makes me feel good, so I am not ready to pass on it for bacon.

    Like

  76. @Jay Marrs … right on.

    No matter how hard the medical profession tries to convince us that eating meat is good, it is a huge fail when it comes to optimal health. Sure you can survive on meat, but what are the side effects? Fruits and veggies provide us everything we need to thrive, not just survive.

    Good luck to those on the all meat diet.

    Like

  77. Hello,

    Population data studies paint the picture: higher saturated fat intake = less heart disease (it’s a large photo)

    What’s an interesting visual is the confidence interval:

    Since it is Ferriss the data geek’s blog, the confidence interval commentary:

    ” All statistics done in MATLAB. I found that if I define

    SF = % saturated fat intake

    CHD = # heart deaths per year per 100,000 men

    then

    CHD = (-4.734 +/- 2.003)*SF + (144.5 +/- 21.4)

    +/- errors are standard deviations (i.e. one sigma) with an R^2 = 0.13 (terrible) between the fit data and experimental data.

    The plot I provided shows the baseline along with a top and bottom curve which are the 95 % confidence interval lines (~1.96 sigmas).

    Although the statistics appear fairly poor, we can make one statement of interest. A positive slope is equivalent to a positive correlation between CHD and saturated fat (i.e. saturated fat bad!) and a negative slope is a negative correlation (i.e. saturated fat good!). Evaluating that statement using confidence intervals we have a 0.9 % chance of a positive slope and a 99.1 % chance that the slope is negative.

    In other words, increased saturated fat intake is 99 % likely to be correlated with decreased incidence of death from heart disease.

    As it’s understood now inflammation, specifically high levels of C reactive protein, is a better indicator of heart disease risk. The work of Dr. Paul Ridker (and others) can be thanked for bringing this to the forefront:

    “Dr. Ridker wrote:These data suggest that the C-reactive protein level is a stronger predictor of cardiovascular events than the LDL cholesterol level and that it adds prognostic information to that conveyed by the Framingham risk score. ”

    Which isn’t to say LDL shouldn’t be watched, but the tiny oxidized LDL is the “bad” lipoprotein while the big fluffy LDL are just doing their job: taking cholesterol to the cells that need it. Unfortunately a simple blood panel doesn’t show us which is which.

    Indigenous populations being introduced to a western diet see rates of heart disease (and just about every other disease) increase. However, a western diet, specifically our diet, isn’t just high in sat fats. It is high in junk: Omega 6 fatty acids and high GI carbs in abundance. Both have been demonstrated to dramatically increase systemic inflammation. Couple that with chronic stress that many westerners have and you have a recipe for chronic inflammation soup…the perfect environment for heart disease. We try to reduce it to just diet when of course it’s not that simple. We’re also the nation of the magic bullet, so asking a person to change their diet and reduce their stress and get more exercise…doc, just give me a pill!

    I do, however, feel most people would be served moving to a Paleo diet if only for one thing: real food. Nothing processed, nothing boxed, just shopping the outer rim of the grocery store. Real food. The romanticism is inaccurate at best; the only thing in common is the real food aspect.

    One more thing about indigenous populations: they often consume high levels of saturated fats. In fact the the Masai consume massive amounts (~33% of their calories come from saturated fat) and the Tokelau consume even more (Tokelauans traditionally obtained 40-50% of their calories from saturated fat, in the form of coconut meat.) Rather than try to condense, you can read all about it here:

    http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/01/tokelau-island-migrant-study-background.html

    That’s not to say that all indigenous populations eat high fat: Okinawans and Kitavans come to mind, but again their diet is fresh, their carbs are real and they do eat fat. In fact, the Kitavans typically get 21% of their calories from fat (hardly low fat!) and Okinawans eat pork and use lard for cooking. Hardly the soy and veggies one hears about!

    The take home message? Eat real food that doesn’t come from a box 90% of the time and you can stop worrying about getting mired in minutia when it comes to health.

    Best,
    Skyler

    Like

  78. Great post. Whatever one chooses to eat, the idea that a grain-based diet is health-promoting is rapidly falling apart. Mark Sisson (www.marksdailyapple.com) is great source for information about eating a more “paleolithic” diet.

    Like