Saturated fat: extraordinary claims require... - Healthy Eating

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Saturated fat: extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof

Subtle_badger profile image
Subtle_badger

Humans have been eating saturated fats since before we were human, before we were hominids, before we were primates, before we were mammals. Seed oils have been around in quantity for a little over 100 years. Rapeseed oil/canola was poisonous until the 1970s. The claim that a fat that we have been eating forever, the form of fat that our bodies choose to store is bad for us, and that we are better off eating oils that were never part of our ancestral diet is an extraordinary claim. There has never been proof the match that claim. For 50 years, it has been the dietary advice, and millions has been spent trying to prove it. It has not been proven. I think at this stage we can should agree it's not true.

The NHS tried to "debunk" a paper saying the the dangers of saturated fat were unproven, but they failed. They had to resort to "fat makes you fat" by then end, but as anyone has gone LCHF can attest, it doesn't.

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39 Replies

Too much fat makes you fat, of any type. As does too much of anything else.

And the fact that humans ate fat thousands of years ago is only encouraging if you also remember that at that time they were lucky to live past 30 and they spent loads of energy running after the animals that originally owned the fat.

It's amazing what you can convince people of if your "facts" are chosen carefully and very selectively.

Too much fat makes you fat, of any type. As does too much of anything else.

I am eating all the fat I want. I don't think I could eat any more. Maybe if I got a nasal/gastric tube I pass more fat into my stomach. Would that make me fat? I don't know. It seems likely it would make me vomit or it would unprocessed into my colon.And the fact that humans ate fat thousands of years ago is only encouraging if you also remember that at that time they were lucky to live past 30 and they spent loads of energy running after the animals that originally owned the fat.

Do you think that our ancestors were keeling over at 30 due to coronary atherosclerosis? They were lucky to live past 30 because they were lucky to live past 5 years old. Our ancestors died in infancy and childhood, as well as childbirth, violence and infectious diseases, as well as famine, pestilence and the other horsemen.

Those that survived all that often lived to old age. The idea that natural selection had favoured those who thrived on a diet that would not be available for eons is just bizarre.

It's amazing what you can convince people of if your "facts" are chosen carefully and very selectively

You have missed my point. I am not trying to convince anyone of anything. I am asking for evidence that justifies the directive to stop eating saturated fat. If someone can give me that evidence, then I will shut up.

But you seem to have invented the directive that you want evidence for. I can't recall seeing a directive to "stop eating saturated fat". Moderate, sure. Completely avoid, no. The 7 year old NHS paper you linked to was quite clear about that.

There was at one time quite a lot of evidence that seemed to be pointing that way though much of it looks a lot less clear from the distance of a few years. But that's how science is supposed to work. The evidence changes, the hypothesis changes. The thing we can reasonably worry about how slowly those changes make their way through our system.

I eat saturated fats and some unsaturated fats too, mostly monounsaturated. In fact I can't think of much that I do completely avoid except processed sugar ( "Pure, white and deadly" was a long time ago). It's all about balance.

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Hidden in reply to slipstick

They pretty much do tell people to avoid statrated fat. They don't say get a balanced ratio of fats to people. they say eat low fat don't eat cheese don't eat egg yolks they've got cholesterol and they do not mention the importance of saturated fat at all. They assume you're going to get too much so they say avoid it in the same way they say avoid salt. Avoid addwd salt because they know you're getting enough from bread cornflakes etc...however I don't eat those things so when I avoided added salt which would be the only salt I would get I ended up unwell. They have this idea that everyone's an idiot and eating crap so err on the side of just say no. Rather than explain the complexities which are the truth. So I'm sorry dietitians regularly tell people lies by omission such as avoid fat avoid salt etc. And even with prediabetics they don't tell them to avoid sugar or carbs because they known they won't and the LCD is to say cut down. They come at it with an assumption about who they're speaking to and what is the best way to put it to them rather than what is the truth however difficult to get your head around.

slipstick profile image
slipstick in reply to Hidden

I'm not sure who your "they" but they're not the sort of dieticians I know. Yours are 10-20 years out of date.

Telling people to completely avoid things like carbs is daft advice because it's basically impossible. Reducing carbs on the other hand is very possible,a good idea and often recommended.

There's still too much emphasis on low fat but that advice is slowly and quietly going away.

Jerry profile image
JerryAdministrator

Hi Subtle_badger I think it depends why some one chooses an LCHF diet. As it’s effective for diabetes and some people find it good for helping to lose weight.

I drink organic whole milk and eat butter and full fat cheese, so I agree they are wholesome.

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Hidden in reply to Jerry

Hi Jerry and slipstick and anyone reading all I can say from experience is when I li.ited my saturated fat and turned to cold pressed rapseed oil for frying baking,and limited cheese butter etc no animal fat have skimmed milk my cholestrol went down from 5 to 4.2 I was ten stone now I'm 8 half struggling to put weight on 😊💪

Cooper27 profile image
Cooper27Administrator in reply to Hidden

Well done for maintaining the changes you made :)

Cold pressed rapeseed oil is definitely a healthier choice than the hydrolized rapeseed oil/canola oil I think subtle badger is meaning to compare to here - the process of heat extraction is very bad for the oil, and ultimately the body. My mum was a chemist with an interest in food science, she never let us touch the stuff!

Did you make other changes at the same time as reducing fat intake?

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Hidden in reply to Cooper27

Hi well i eat less sugar and sugary foods have actimol yogurt no extra mature chedder poss colon bacteria threat I'm ok now been in remisshion 6 years from ulcerative colitis, I don't eat nuts often well not at all now due to tooth damage going to dentist soon and I eat while at bread not wholewheat I try to look after my colon and not eat hard to digest foods or rough stuff, 😊

Cooper27 profile image
Cooper27Administrator in reply to Hidden

Ah, I know someone with ulcerative colitis too, it's pretty hard going. Can really knock it out of him.

I'm glad you've found a way that keeps yours in check :)

Hidden profile image
Hidden in reply to Cooper27

Hi I don't have it now I think.itvwas one off think may have been acid from.a stomache ulcer as when I went on the diet the bleeding all but stopped bit the meds for ulcer in tum cured it all my test showed it all heeled but colon thin I practically starved but gradually eat everything but now I don't I can't risk it I read Gillian mackeths book about thing tearing the colon I had shock today my niece's daughter age 12 had symptoms twice of heart attack they said she's ok but think we'll me n mam do that it's angina I think I'll ask on the heart site I don't trust hospital as they sent mam home saying she had indegestion 2 weeks later she had emergency surgery a 95 per cent. Block in heart I've had no tea no apetite sorry for the moan

Subtle_badger profile image
Subtle_badger in reply to Jerry

Thanks.

It's nothing to do with LCHF. It's to do with swapping saturated fat for PUFA. I did that, and it made me fat and sick. You haven't, so hooray!

Jerry profile image
JerryAdministrator in reply to Subtle_badger

Hi Subtle_badger I think we have to find what works for us and a healthy balanced diet works for me as I don't have high cholesterol and I don''t have weight issues. My ideal weight is between 145lbs and 150lbs and at the moment its stable at around 148lbs.

I only eat fat in moderation as my body doesn't like lots of fatty foods so I'm interested in an LCHF diet and see its use with diabetes and excess weight but it's not for me.

Thanks for your insightful reply Subtle_badger its annoying when just because someone is a known to be a scientist has the right to allow an opinion to become fact. Those that profit from a the alternative should be made to pay for the necessary science to prove I either way and this should be clearly published to allow others the right to challenge it. As a much a much simpler comparison I am an Engineer by profession. I invented a solution several years ago for automatically cleansing sewers, it has taken me years and significant expense to prove my systems capabilities and opportunities are regularly afforded for people to challenge. My system has no potential to make people fat, and unhealthy or shorten the life expectancy 🤔.

Cooper27 profile image
Cooper27Administrator in reply to Dave1000

I'm curious about your flushing system :) I'm also an engineer and every so often, it's a requirement for some of our site surveys.

I think the main difficulty with diet, is that people all respond differently to different diets, while the data tries to assume we're all one-size-fits-all. It can also take many years for the negatives of a dietary change to become apparent. It is awful that so many assumptions are allowed to become "fact" though.

Dave1000 profile image
Dave1000 in reply to Cooper27

Sorry for the delay n responding. By all means PM me an email address and I would be delighted to send you information. I look forward to discussing further.

Absolutely agree with you about one solution not fitting all. As very much s square peg I have found no round hole to suit. Bespoke all the way but finding a solution that works for you is worth all the effort 👍

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Hidden in reply to Dave1000

The guy who popularised the no saturated fat thing wasn't a scientist as I recall ...think he was a very influential person but can't remember his name..mensk maybe or merk? Something like that. It was his pet theory.

Dave1000 profile image
Dave1000 in reply to Hidden

That in my eyes makes it even worse Hidden don't you think. That's taking the whole following like sheep thing so far?

slipstick profile image
slipstick in reply to Hidden

It sounds like you're talking about Ancel Keys who has already had several mentions in this thread. He was in fact a university physiologist with a major research interest in human nutrition and health, inventor of K-rations and promoter of a Mediterranean diet. Of course that doesn't mean he was right. He wasn't.

But unless you're thinking of someone else very influential that we haven't heard of it seems that most your "I recall" facts"are wrong. Not unusual in this subject.

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Hidden in reply to slipstick

Sorry what facts are wrong? Cant even remember stating any facts about it...I only remember making one comment about the guy in america... Who was a business man can't remember his name except that its still the company name. Probably you wouldn't have heard of him he's not a celebrity. Lol.

slipstick profile image
slipstick in reply to Hidden

So there's a very influential American guy, in some sort of business, and none of us can remember his name except it might begin with 'm'. He's not well known despite being very influential and at some time he may have had something to do with popularising low fat diets. O.k. glad that's cleared up.

Hidden profile image
Hidden in reply to slipstick

Oh yeah I see further down some people have mentioned your guy No It doesn't sound like him...my guy maybe used your guys study....

No, there is little evidence against saturated fats, but there is evidence that polyunsaturated fats like refined grain oils are far more of a problem because they oxidise so much and cause oxidative stress to the body. This causes chronic inflammation in all cells in the body and could be responsible for our current epidemics of diseases like high blood pressure, athsma, mental health etc.

Subtle_badger profile image
Subtle_badger in reply to Eryl

I think I agree with you, but it's a bit garbled - autocorrect, I think.

Eryl profile image
Eryl in reply to Subtle_badger

No, trying to type on my phone in bed before my eyes had woken up!😂

Hidden profile image
Hidden

As someone who works in nutrition, I have often felt frustrated when ‘claims’ are made over ‘this or that’. In truth, no matter what the subject where food is concerned, the claimant will always find supportive and negative studies to substantiate their own stance, whether that be for fat, carbs, veganism, etc.etc...The bottom line is, no matter what you feel is the right food to consume, energy in = energy out, and if that is unbalanced, you will gain/lose weight depending on which end is higher. We all have our own way to lose weight/maintain/gain and to try and give ourselves the best chance of a long and healthy life, what may sit right for one, may not sit right for someone else, this doesn’t make a life plan less or more valid than another.

TheAwfulToad profile image
TheAwfulToad in reply to Hidden

Sigh. The intersection of non-judgementalism (there are no right or wrong answers, no true and false) with the destruction of science education is a terrible thing.

You're quite right that humans can eat a wide range of different diets and remain healthy. However this has little to do with the saturated-fats debate; Subtle_badger is correct that (a) there was no evidence in the first place to suspect saturated fats of being a health risk and (b) subsequent experiments have demolished the hypothesis.

Disproof is the cornerstone of science. Given a reproducible falsification of any given hypothesis, it's reasonable to discard that hypothesis. Yet TPTB are still blathering on about dietary fat as the worst thing ever.

"Calories-in, calories-out" has likewise been disproved, and it was highly dubious in the first place (there's absolutely no biological or physical reason to believe that it might be true). There are better hypotheses that fit experimental observations far more closely and (perhaps more importantly) don't contradict basic physiology. But they just can't let that go either.

This is all particularly distressing given the death toll of COVID-19, which disproportionately affected people who are overweight and diabetic. It could have been prevented; lives could have been saved, simply by telling people the truth. Instead, people died, unnecessarily, because of a silly religious war over fats and carbs. Even if there isn't One True Way, there certainly are things that are objectively Wrong.

Hidden profile image
Hidden in reply to TheAwfulToad

I don’t feel this forum is a place for such an argument, or being condescending to others. I also do not think it terrible to be non-judgemental of different thought-ways, etc... Bringing covid into the debate is too close and upsetting for many ( myself included having lost a few close family to it, and having others left with long term/permanent health issues). So I wish you good health and a good day, but I won’t respond to any further comment. I hope that whatever way you are choosing to be healthy works for you, as I do for anyone else choosing their own pathway to health 😊

Hidden profile image
Hidden in reply to Hidden

In fairness to the guy he isn't talking about covid but using it as a very relevant example. I don't think its fair to pull the offended card out on him for judt using the word. And all the more reason that you don't ignore the point he has made. All the berries in the woods aren't the same. Even if they're read and shiney. I know as a nice person you want to make everyone happy by saying everyone is right and avoid conflict. But telling allt he children all the berries are equal just to be nice and not offend anyone is a dangerous idea. And fair enough if you don't know or you don't have the capacity to diferentiate between different things god knows its hard work but its the work that people do to keep others who can't, safe. It'd very nice to be non judgemental. But its also very important to have the capacity to judge well. And not everyone has that capacity and thats OK too. But its not condescending to explain the importance of judgement and discernment to others its very kind of him to spend his time and patience to explain something important just as someone would take the time and patientce to explain to someone not all berries are OK to eat. But the person who doesn't know not all berries are OK to eat might be upset that the other person knows more about berries I guess. And yet one has to risk offending people to inform them. How else can teaching and sharing knowledge function.?

Hidden profile image
Hidden in reply to TheAwfulToad

Ya know I got half way through sighing and the first sentence and realised there's probably no point ... well done to you for getting in the ring. I don't know how you have the patience. You'd make a good school teacher. I just can't even with the barney clause.

Eryl profile image
Eryl in reply to Hidden

Energy in does not equal energy out as the body metabolises carbs differently to the way it metabolises fats. Carbs, especially refined carbs, cause an insulin spike which leads to fat storage through de novo liopogenesis.

Hi,

When you started off by saying that “humans have been consuming sat fats before we were primates, and so on” is suggesting the big bang theory is true and we evolved from apes.

Some folk don’t believe in evolution and actually I used to be a believer of the big bang theory as the fact that a creator made us I found hard to grasp.

That WAS my thoughts anyhow.

I wouldn’t say I am religious in any way, I don’t go to church, I’m not a christian and do not belong to any religious cult or anything but I do believe the creator/god put us here.

You say rapeseed/canola oil WAS poisonous until the 70s but I think that they are still poisonous in my book, especially canola.

I do agree when you say that we have all been eating sat fats since we have been living and is an extraordinary claim when we are told that rapeseed oil/ and the like, is a better, healthier form.

There is a lot of misinformation going around today.

I did read once about a guy called Ancel Keyes who did a study on fats. A poor study as he never actually completed it giving a sloppy result.

Anyhow, he was supposed to visit a number of countries and observe the diets of the locals.

He only visited 4 countries but had more to go but he noted that most of the locals ate saturated fats and were in good health.

It was something along those lines anyhow, I can’t remember it all, I haven’t read the papers in ages now :).

I read an article once, this was a Harvard study as well.

A HARVARD STUDY. So that means we are supposed to believe it apparently.

Remember how I said a lot of information goes around today... even from top universities and such.

I think more and more people should be making up their own minds on certain subjects really and not expecting the big wigs to give you the answers

Anyhow, this “study” was saying coconut oil was basically poison.

Now if that were true I would be dead by now.

90% or more of coconut oil is pure saturated fat.

According to Wellness mama (American lady), she uses coconut oil all the time and lists 101 uses for it externally and internally on her website.

Cooper27 profile image
Cooper27Administrator in reply to Matt2584

This made me chuckle a bit Matt, because Ancel Keyes is largely considered the father of modern nutrition by many! And I thought everyone knew his name :D

His study was the 7 countries study, it's the reason we consider fat=bad and carbs=fine, it's really the reason products like canola ultimately came to the market. I've heard he gathered data on 50 countries or so, but ultimately based his research on just 7 of them :)

slipstick profile image
slipstick in reply to Cooper27

Those are the sort of numbers we see too often in "scientific" studies in this, and a few other, areas. The cynic might suggest that only 7 sets of data supported the hypothesis he wanted to prove. Of course both sides of the debates often do similar, but rarely with quite as much success.

Cooper27 profile image
Cooper27Administrator in reply to slipstick

Yes, the frustrating thing about the whole subject is how easy it is to argue for or against the side you wish to take on it. For example, many say that whittling data from 50 countries down to the 7 is selective and misleading, yet you can also find a huge number arguing that the data for the other 43 countries were excluded because they weren't as complete.

There are also arguments he was selective about the regions of the countries he visited, but others argue he chose them based on longevity and disease instances.

I certainly think we can all agree, sugar shouldn't be let off the hook when we look at the carbs Vs fat debate!

slipstick profile image
slipstick in reply to Cooper27

Ah now we're back to John Yudkin "Pure, white and deadly". He was definitely right there.

Matt2584 profile image
Matt2584Star in reply to Cooper27

Thanks for explaining a bit better, Coops :).

In a nutshell, Ancel Keyes cut corners, hence the sloppy work, and people then believed that sat fats were bad fats but aren’t really.

Saturated fats is brain food :).

Really excited by the engagement I have got. I think a lot of you have not understood my point. I will reply to individual posts, and try to do so with kindness and respect. Forgive me if I come over as unkind or disrespectful. It is not my intention.

Hidden profile image
Hidden

Haha yes I have been wolfing down butter all my life and not fat. Put on a bit of weight this year as I ate a ton acre of crisps cooked in oil and probably highly trans fats. But also not moving about as much. I go through a lot of butter. In Ireland growing up in the 80s we had a surplus of butter and poor people got butter vouchers to help get rid of the " butter mountain" it was called. So we have all always had an ample supply of butter. Having said that it is high in calories and I don't in general go over the RDA for calories. Despite how much of those calories are coming from butter. But yeah sewms the whole cholesterol low fat thing was one guy with a lot of influence and some not so good studies and he just got his ideas in because he was influential. Its not what you know but who you know. I do like olive oil tallow fat fat on meat and hemp oil as well. I mean I'd rather eat the fat and gristle off meat than the lean fillet ...I've been at dinners where the dog bowl was filled with the skin fat and etc and the humans serves the meat and I'm looking at the dogs dinner wanting their plate instead. I guess that my ancestors were pretty poor hard workers and if they hadn't have had fat and girstle left over from the masters gouty table and scrambled in the dirt with the digs for the scraps they wouldn't have made it. I love to gnaw a bone as well. My friends always joked that I was the cave man at the edge of the hunt getting the skin and fat and scraps and they had the red meat. Lol! Probably true.

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