Is Coconut Oil Bad For You?

Some who profit from coconut oil claim it has miraculous powers, curing everything from cancer to jock itch. The boldest claim may be that it is a potential cure for Alzheimer’s, based on a series of anecdotes and one study I profile in my 3-min video Does Coconut Oil Cure Alzheimer’s? Long story short, as the Alzheimer’s Association put it, “there is no scientific evidence that coconut oil helps with Alzheimer’s. The coconut oil promise has been around for more than three years. If the administration of coconut oil was, indeed, beneficial, it would presumably be shouted from every mountaintop.”

I don’t find that argument entirely convincing. For example, we’ve known for decades that our leading cause of death is preventable and reversible (see Our Number One Killer Can Be Stopped), yet the medical community continues to rely more on drugs and surgery. Why? Well they likely weren’t taught clinical nutrition in medical school (Medical School Nutrition Education), or after medical school (Medical Associations Oppose Bill to Mandate Nutrition Training), and the medical establishment has shown a disturbing inertia even when presented with convincing evidence (The Tomato Effect). The difference is that coconut oil doesn’t have the data to back it up. What’s the potential downside of giving coconut oil a try? I cover that in my 5-min. video Does Coconut Oil Clog Arteries?

Unlike other natural remedies, such as the spice saffron that was able to beat out placebo (Saffron for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s) and seemed to work as well as a leading drug without the side effects (Saffron Versus Aricept), coconut oil is one of the rare plant sources of saturated fat. Primarily found in animal-derived foods, saturated fat tends to increase LDL (“bad” cholesterol), the leading risk factor for our leading killer, heart disease. So hey, if you want to try it on someone with Alzheimer’s for a few days to see if it makes a difference, fine. I’d try almost anything! But if, as expected, you don’t see an improvement, I would be hesitant to keep anyone on it long-term.

Those selling coconut oil say one needn’t worry because coconut oil contains a type of saturated fat that doesn’t raise cholesterol. That’s a page straight out of the beef industry playbook:

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is always going on about how beef contains a saturated fat called stearic acid.  Unlike the cholesterol-elevating saturated fats (palmitic, myristic, and lauric acids), stearic acid has been shown to have a neutral effect on blood cholesterol. That’s true, and beef does have stearic acid, but it has twice as much of the palmitic and myristic, which they admit does raise cholesterol. That’s like coca cola saying they know for a fact that soda doesn’t make you gain weight because it contains water and water has a neutral effect on weight gain (which they actually did say!). Yeah, but that’s not the only thing in it, and the same with beef, and the same with coconut oil. Watch the video to see the saturated fat breakdown of coconut oil.

Years ago I profiled a study that found that cholesterol levels were significantly lower during a coconut oil diet—but only when compared to a butter diet. You know you have a bad product when the only way you can make it look good is to compare it to diets rich in butter. Yes, coconut oil made bad cholesterol go up, but not as bad as butter. But how much is that really saying? (Reminds me of the “compared to pork” study in Nuts and Bolts of Cholesterol Lowering).

That was all the science we had for ten years, but four new studies have recently come out: a population study and three clinical trials, all of which I detail in Does Coconut Oil Clog Arteries? The bottom line is that the best available evidence is that coconut oil significantly worsens our bad cholesterol levels.

What about those that say the cholesterol-heart disease connection is a myth? Allow me to quote from a medical journal editorial entitled “Cholesterol Myth Club on Par with Flat Earth Society,” which reads “as mixed up as Flat Earth Society members obviously are, at least you can laugh their dumb idea off, and if you want to believe the Earth is flat, this view is not going to cause serious problems like…coronary artery disease.” More in my book Carbophobia, now available free, full-text online.

More on meat industry hijinks in:

-Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my full 2012 – 2015 presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More than an Apple a Day, From Table to Able, and Food as Medicine.

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


686 responses to “Is Coconut Oil Bad For You?

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      1. Margarine is one molecule away from plastic. How is this good for you? Butter is better. If people ate real food instead of all this low-fat processed fat free crap and vegetable oil, people wouldn’t have all these health and weight problems.




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            1. Actually, I meant to say margarine is not one molecule away from PLASTIC. It’s not. It’s horrible stuff, no argument, but chemically, it’s not one molecule away from plastic. It’s just not. That’s a myth.




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              1. It’s a figure of speech Margaret. To say it’s essentially almost (represented by “one molecule away from”) as bad as eating plastic.




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                1. Perhaps, but…This is a meme that continues to be passed around and I’m not sure everyone who passes it on knows it’s a figure of speech.




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            1. Water is one atom away from being hydrogen peroxide, but that doesn’t make water bad for you. The ‘one molecule away’ argument is honestly meaningless.




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              1. It honestly is meaningless. Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are completely different from one another. Carbon dioxide being the waste product of cellular respiration, while carbon monoxide is a waste product as well, but toxic to humans and can bind to the hemoglobin. You should worry about the fatty acid structure of trans fats and how they cause inflammation and plaque.




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        1. Not only is that not right, that’s not even wrong. It’s a meaningless statement. Saying something is “one molecule away” from plastic is like saying a farm is one letter away from a fart. Water is “one molecule away” from being explosive hydrogen gas.




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          1. hmmm well this is a blast from the past! Just to clarify I was kind of being a smart a$$. But I see your point. However I still think it tastes like plastic hahahahahahaha.




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        2. That’s like saying hydrogen is one molecule away from water? Ever tried to drink hydrogen? Good luck with that. That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard on this blog.




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  1. What would you recommend as the ‘best’ kind of oil for cooking. A friend told me that coconut is better than olive oil for high heat. Being Italian, my go-to is always olive oil. Though I have found coconut manna to be the most tasty replacement for butter in recipes and on toast around!




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    1. Your friend is right. Coconut oil is excellent for cooking. It has a high smoke point and the fact that it is highly (not completely) saturated makes it stable and unlikely to oxidize at higher temps.




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    2. Canola oil is a good for cooking. It has a medium-high smoke point and a neutral flavor so it won’t overpower your intended flavors. It’s also a great source of heart healthy monounsaturated fats. If you are concerned about GMO’s in your canola, buy organic versions.




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      1. Actually, Canola oil is made with rape seed, from Rape Weed, a form of mustard weed. Only in the last few years since it was pointed out there is no such thing as a Canola plant, has fields of rape plants been renamed Canola Fields. Guess where the name derives, “Canada”. The oil has been used as an insecticide. Personally, I wouldn’t cook anything with it, let alone, ingest it.




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        1. Pretty sure it has also been GMO’d to have a higher oil content upon pressing.
          Not only that, as a liquid-at-room-temperature fat it oxidizes (rancidifies) in a matter of minutes and usually comes with you shot with deodorizers so you can’t smell it. (These additives are also used in other liquid cooking oils like corn oil.)

          I used to make biodiesel out of it as a waste oil – it’s garbage folks, I’d stay away.




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  2. I avoid baking or cooking with coconut oil because of the saturated fat, but have miraculous results when I apply coconut oil to my daughter’s persistent skin irritations. (They may be eczema, but have never been definitively diagnosed as such.) We slather some on her elbows and knees before bed, loosely wrap in plastic wrap, and put cut-up socks over to keep it all in place. Maybe any rich cream or oil would work, but I’m not willing to jinx it. :)




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      1. We had to cut out potatoes and oats for our daughters terrible eczema to go away. Weird, but it worked (oh we don’t eat dairy so I don’t know if that affects it or not). She has dry skin now, but otherwise is normal.




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        1. I would like to suggest trying a gluten free diet (you can get gluten free oats) and cutting out white bread in favour of wholemeal spelt or rye bread for a change if not gluten free bread.




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          1. Gluten intolerance has been scientifically proven to be a myth, and its not debatable. unless you have celiac disease , no reason to avoid gluten at all !




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            1. how the gluten is processed in industrial bakeries is the problem: gmo enzymes, extreme rpm kneading and other additives create a molecule diabolical to our guts. Remember prion proteins? It’s all in the structure rather than the chemistry…




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              1. There is no scientific proof that gmo’s are harmful as a matter of fact it’s quite the opposite, people have been eating gmo crops since the 1940’s . Eat bananas ? There all gmo even the organic ones . Every thing you mentioned about gluten is sudo science at best . This gluten free nonsense is nothing more than another fad diet that will blow over just like all the rest of the bad fad diets !




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              2. There is no scientific proof that gmo’s are harmful as a matter of fact it’s quite the opposite, people have been eating gmo crops since the 1940’s . Eat bananas ? There all gmo even the organic ones . Every thing you mentioned about gluten is sudo science at best . This gluten free nonsense is nothing more than another fad diet that will blow over just like all the rest of the bad fad diets !




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                1. Hello :=)_
                  I’d like to comment on “people have been eating gmo crops since the 1940’s.” This is inaccurate. Agriculturally we have been eating hybridized fruits and vegetables since the 1940. This is different from gmo crops.
                  Hybridization is pairing different or similar strains of the same species to select for a certain outcome. The outcome is a result that could potentially happen in nature. We just help it along to get the result we (the grower) wants.
                  GMO, genetically modified organism, is splicing in (or out) a gene that would not normally be found in the natural breeding of the plant or animal. It is inserting a gene from a completely different species that would not normally be able to mate. For example, splicing in the gene from the lightening bug that causes the glow into a sheep resulting in a sheep that glows. Ridiculous you might say? It has been done. A lightening bug and a sheep would not be able to mate naturally.
                  GMO corn, for example, can have a gene spliced into it that makes a poison toxic to insects that eat the corn thus killing the insects that try to feed on the corn when growing in the field. We, then, eat the corn. The question is, what does this toxic substance then do to our human gut? Given that our gut needs all of its probiotics, it is unclear what this poison does to us. This is what all of the hoopla is all about. There are other examples, this is just one.
                  So, no, we have not been eating GMO products since the 1940’s. But yes, we have been eating hybridized products.
                  It’s important to recognize the difference.




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    1. There is some evidence that a gluten sensitivity can also cause skin problems. You might try eliminating wheat (in all it’s forms) from her diet for 30 days and see if it makes a difference. Read Wheat Belly, by Dr. Wm Davis




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    2. No need to fear the saturated fat in coconut oil. It’s good for you. Getting some good fat from the inside might help your daughter’s skin condition, too.




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      1. The Weston A Price Foundation has been spreading hoaxes and baseless so-called “studies” for a very long time now, so NO, THANKS.




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      1. And how is Dr. Ravnskov any less qualified than the author of his page? Actually, Dr. Ravnskov is also a PhD and has studied the scientific literature extensively. The conclusions he came up with years ago are now starting to be confirmed by more mainstream professionals, such Sylvan Weinberg of the American College of Cardiology and others, many of whom are cardiologists. You might want to update your information instead of rolling your eyes.




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        1. Re: the points laid out on his site:

          1. Cholesterol is vital. It is not essential. Two different things.

          2. People with “low” cholesterol levels (<200) as defined by mainstream medical organizations, are indeed at risk for heart disease. This is why plant based docs have always recommended a level <150.

          3. Consumption of saturated fat induces cholesterol production.

          4. Plant based docs generally do not consider consumption of large quantities of non-essential plant-based fats, especially oils, as being healthy.

          5. "The only effective way to lower
          cholesterol is with drugs". Unequivocally false. Any mainstream cardiology journal article discussing the topic will tell you the two choices are drugs or a pure vegetarian diet. This is such a huge glaring error that while I do not doubt his intellectual capacity, he is being intentionally dishonest here, and perhaps that is related to selling books with the kind of dietary advice that people who want to keep eating lots of eggs and meat want to hear.

          6. This site does not promote statin use. Far from it. No plant based docs do.

          So there really are no meaningful conflicts here.




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          1. 1. Yes, I know the difference between vital and essential. 2. Studies also show that cholesterol higher than 200 is not a risk factor for women (at all) and men older than 65. Studies also show that low cholesterol is a risk factor for cancer All cause mortality is higher at both very low levels of cholesterol and very high levels (higher than 250 or 300.) . 3. True, but the idea that that is a bad thing is predicated on the assumption that higher cholesterol is dangerous. It isn’t always.




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            1. I had a heart attack at age 69 after years of eating the “healthy” mediterranian diet and maintaing a cholesterol level between 215 and 240 (which my doctor at that time did not find alarming).




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              1. And your point is? About half the people that have a heat attack have “normal” or even “low” cholesterol. Your cholesterol level at the time of your heart attack says nothing about whether it was a contributing factor or not. Current thinking by lipidologists is that it is the LDL-P (particle number) is the most predictive of development of CVD. The smaller your particles are, the more of them you are likely to have and the higher your risk. TC is pretty meaningless for assessing risk. A good proxy for LDL-P (and almost as good indication of risk) is the triglyceride/HDL ratio. Ideally, it should be under 2 and the lower, the less risk, the higher the greater the risk. How does one decrease trigs and raise HDL (which would lower the ratio)? One limits sugars and starches (which generate trigs) and eats saturated fats like coconut oil (which raise HDL.)




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          2. 5. Where does Dr. Ravnskov say that the only way to reduce cholesterol is with drugs? I have read many of his works and have never ever read that. I checked the link provided and it wasn’t there. He doesn’t promote statins, either. Neither do I. Quite the opposite, in fact. And there are mainstream cardiology articles that add a third choice to the two you mentioned: A low carb diet. A pure vegetarian diet is not the only way (besides drugs) to lower cholesterol. A low carb high fat diet also has been shown to do that. Of course, whether or not one considers that a good thing depends on whether or not one thinks higher TC inherently causes heart disease. The evidence more and more implicates certain kinds of cholesterol carriers–the patter b LDL to be specific, the ones raised by a diet high in sugar and processed grains. 6. That’s one thing we can agree on., for sure. Mm




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            1. I really don’t understand why you’re even on this site. Is it that you’re just argumentative? Living a frustratingly unfulfilled life? It’s easy to see why there’s so much domestic violence around. It’s quite obvious that your lacking in self reflection and introspection which is so common amongst carcass eaters.




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              1. Wow, Just wow. Way to further the discussion by bringing nothing to the table but insults. Hmmm. Not sure what I did to you to elicit such a virulent response, but whatever. I’m not frustrated, unfulfilled, or lacking in self reflection. Quite the opposite, in fact.
                Actually, I’m here because I’ve made it my mission to dispell the myth that saturated fat, in and of itself, whether from plant or animal, is harmful to one’s health. It’s that simple. People have been misled into avoiding something that’s been part of the human diet for as long as we’ve been human–and longer. I just want them to know that science doesn’t support that.




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                1. Thanks for your comments Margaret. I see many women with cholesterol under 150 having trouble making sufficient steroid hormones, most notably progesterone (throw stress, and living in a world full of xenoestrogens and its a big deal). The issue is not total cholesterol, but small dense oxidized LDL, which inflames the immune system and causes arterial damage. You can have all the cholesterol you want (within reason) as long as your diet is also high in phytonutrients, as well as good old antioxidants, (especially mixed natural forms of vit E), many of which protect LDL from being oxidized and triggering the cascade that leads to arterial plaque. Ask your doctor to go further than simply testing TC or HDL, LDL. LDL particle size after testing triglycerides and inflammatory markers are extremely important. You can have your cholesterol (and serum cholesterol lol ) but make sure its protected! The issue is most people with high cholesterol, have high cholesterol because they are eating an unhealthy diet or are under considerable stress (both of which are strong independent risk factors for heart dz and strongly contribute to oxidative stress). I personally am 100% plant based in my own diet and treat many other veg, patients but this low cholesterol and the ol’ suboptimal B12 status (which can increase the inflammatory marker homocysteine associated with heart dz ) do cause many issues in the undereducated but extremely well meaning person. I encourage vegans to also test Methymalonic acid as an accurate marker of B12 status (ie vs just doing a CBC).




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                  1. Another type of anti inflammatory diet is a low carbohydrate high fat ketogenic diet. It can include plenty of phytonutrients/antioxidants in the form of non starchy vegetables and leafy greens. Just saying…And let’s not forget that cholesterol and saturated fat are themselves both anti oxidants. Not saying not to eat a plant based diet, as long as it is heavy on the whole foods, light on processed foods like flour, veg. oils, and sugar. Saying it’s not the only way to get healthy. Remaining healthy on a 100% plant diet is possible, with supplementation, as you say, but difficult for most people to sustain. A low carb, high fat ketogenic diet is at least as healthy and, perhaps, alittle easier to sustain. To each his own, I say. Just don’t say that sat fat and cholesterol are not healthy. (and you didn’t.)




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                    1. A high fat ketogenic diet is a recipe for premature death and cardiovascular disease. Please provide some references to back up your dangerous claims. You’re providing information as if you have some qualifications – do you? You claim it’s difficult for most people to sustain a healthy plant based diet, but I think this is merely your excuse for justifying your current diet. Perhaps if you watched Dr Greger’s videos and made sure that you include everything in your diet that is required you’d find it easy to remain healthy as many people currently are……




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                    2. what is the point in asking a stranger on the net if they have qualifications? even the experts disagree and these are highly qualified peeps so why bash over something like that?

                      im vegan and i happen to agree with margaret. lets turn that around and insist that you provide the references that ketogenic diets are ‘recipes for premature death and disease’. most people i know on them reversed metabolic and cardiovascular disease but im going to assume that since you called her out for not having evidence, that you must have your own evidence shows that adults following a ketogenic diet (and ketogenic isnt defined as merely high fat) are heading down the fast lane to disease.

                      please dont piece-meal it. its easy to take isolated elements and try to apply them universally but what you need to show is evidence that people eating an actual whole food, ketogenic diet [low carbohydrate] have worsening risk factors for disease. this isnt the kind of thing you can prove with the micky d meal study.




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                    3. As reported in the International Journal of Obesity article “Cognitive Effects of Ketogenic Weight-Reducing Diets,” researchers randomized people to either a ketogenic or a nonketogenic weight loss diet. Although both groups lost the same amount of weight, those on the ketogenic diet suffered a significant drop in cognitive performance.After one week in ketosis, higher order mental processing and mental flexibility significantly worsened into what the researcher called a “modest neuropsychological impairment.”

                      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8589783




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                    4. seriously dude?

                      the study lasted 28 days- 4 weeks. and it takes at least 3 weeks to become fat-adapted so an average that includes those first 3 weeks is going to be particularly inaccurate. if they’d waited until the 28 day point and then started measuring the results would be something to look at. plus, it was a liquid diet made of fractured foods and we have no idea what the fat was.

                      show us a study of real people eating a real whole food keto diet where they had poor results.




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                    5. This was a short term study indeed, but I don’t believe that it is up to me to prove that a diet that is based on fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates is a healthful one. Ketosis is commonly seen with people in starvation or with severe illness so forgive me if I am not whole heartedly embracing the idea that surviving off of ketones which also severely strains the kidneys is a healthful way to live. You can read more about the short term and long term harms seen with a low carbohydrate diets here. It is up to you to indeed prove your radical idea and not for me to disprove it, as I have already shared harms with these types of diets.

                      http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/APJCN/12/4/396.pdf




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                    6. it is up to you to back your claims. if you cant, then dont make them. and FFS be honest, people on ketogenic diets arent starving or ill. this argument would be like me pointing to type i diabetics to prove all glucose is bad.

                      ketogenic diets do not strain the kidneys and the citation to another opinion piece[?!] neither makes that claim or offers evidence of it.

                      i think you are confused about where the burden of proof lies. it isnt in disproof but rather proof. no one is asking you to prove ketogenic diets are safe, youre being asked to prove ketogenic diets are not. you havent accomplished that so far. there are several cultures around the world that ate what is effectively a ketogenic diet for thousands of years. that alone proves the diet is far from radical.




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                    7. As shared by Jeff Novick

                      Ketogenic diets have shown some benefit in certain diseases, like epilepsy, but because of their high fat, high saturated fat intake, they are only used short term and those on them have increased risks for heart disease, stroke, etc

                      The consequences of a ketogenic diet on risk factors for heart disease are detailed in this study. This was in children with epilepsy who use this diet to control seizures so compliance was high. Though it reduces seizures, it increases their risk of dying young from heart disease a well known consequence of this diet therapy in children.

                      http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=197131

                      Conclusions A high-fat ketogenic diet produced significant increases in the atherogenic apoB–containing lipoproteins and a decrease in the antiatherogenic HDL cholesterol. Further studies are necessary to determine if such a diet adversely affects endothelial vascular function and promotes inflammation and formation of atherosclerotic lesions.

                      At 6 Months
                      Cholesterol went up 58 points
                      LDL went up 50 points
                      VLDL went up 8 points
                      non-HDL cholesterol went up 63 points
                      Triglycerides went up 58 points
                      apoB went up 49 points
                      apoA-I increased 4 points
                      HDL cholesterol decreased significantly




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                    8. dude, really?! even after pointing out that this is a therapeutic diet for treating seizure disorders and that its more than 80% fat, you still insist it represents a typical whole food keto diet? how many whole foods do you know of that contain more than 80% fat? those kids are eating heavy cream for breakfast.

                      keep it real.




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                    9. Threw all my research and listening to all the doctors so on. I have come to the conclusion science is full of it. One minute something is good for you . The next minute it is bad for you. Nature has given us every thing we need to live. If you follow a natural diet of every thing in moderation. You will find you will just start becoming healthier and loose weight . Eat organic non gmo foods. Bake your own foods. Nature gave us these things for a reason. Every persons body is different and needs different things. Listen to what your body is craving. After several months of husband on different meds for blood pressure being just one. With no help. I told him to get off of them. That the whole family was going to eat like I was. All his lab work came back perfect after 3 months. Daughter has no more skin problems and even lost weight. I bake brownies, cookies crackers, eat meat, eat carbs and all kinds of veggies. I use coconut oil, olive oil. Which I drink and eat both every day. Has kept my psoriasis away for over 15 yrs. used to be on 6 meds from doc. So stay away from boxed meals. Eat what nature has given us in moderation and you will be fine. I would also like to ad my blood work has been perfect all my life. I did show years ago low in some vitamins but ate more of them foods and blood work is great now. Unless you have something like a gluten intolerance you should eat a little of all natural foods.




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                    10. Science is not full of it. It is the most objective system we have for testing models. And the model of nutritional science, which describes the general features of a diet that is healthiest for the majority of people (i.e a fruit and vegetable based-diet), has been firmly in place for decades and is unlikely to undergo more than minor editing in future.




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                    11. Might I add, not to denounce your argument, that all science is not full of it, but rather people? Scientific method is what it is, but manipulation of statistical analysis as well as the motives of those patrons funding the research have a large affect on what knowledge and policies make it to the public knowledge as well as the scientific cannon. So far the discrepancies that I’ve seen come to light have been over the methods, time periods, sample size, etc. of the various studies. We are not only able to lie with “‘statistics”, but actually humans are very good at this sort of bias (a.k.a. systematic error).
                      [Need sources? Sure, let me look at the books I’ve read on this, as they list their peer-reviewed sources of research in the back.]

                      Science is a highly adaptive field and this can be frustrating, but kudos to all who are still finding the intricate wonder on this planet.




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                    12. did you read this line?

                      ‘The worsening in performance was observed primarily between baseline and week one of the ketogenic diet.’

                      so in the very 1st week of the diet where the body is still used to using glucose as fuel and hasnt adapted to using fat to any degree at all, this is where the decline was seen.

                      you really gotta be more honest in your claims dude.




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                    13. My qualifications are irrelevant, though I do have an advanced degree in Biochemistry (M.S.) My evidence includes studies (peer reviewed and published) by the likes of Drs. Phinney and Volek. Just search for them in Pub Med for numerous studies. They have spent their careers studying low carb, high fat ketogenic diets and have a couple of well referenced books out describing it as, among other things, anti inflammatory. You say a low carb high fat ketogenic diet is “a recipe for premature death and cardiovascular disease.” The onus is on you to provide evidence for that statement. I and many more qualified than I have scoured the studies to date and found none, so good luck.




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                    14. There is no point in debating this group of people here, their fingers are in their ears whenever evidence contrary to their ideology is shared.




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                    15. Who has fingers in ears? It’s not an ideology and we’re not the ones ignoring contrary evidence. We’re still looking for evidence that sat fat, in the context of a whole foods moderate to low carb diet, is harmful. I’ll ask again: how is it the French, who eat a diet high in sat fat, have the lowest rate of heart disease/cardiac death of any of the western nations?




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    1. The man was ahead of his time. I have his Cholesterol Myths book and have leant it out several times. It always reverses the unfounded fears in people who read it who’ve been brainwashed into believing that a food that human beings have eaten for hundreds of thousands of years is somehow dangerous.




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  3. I was always told any fat that is solid at room temperature is bad to eat. It is great to use on skin and hair. It had been used topically for hundreds of years in India and eastern cultures.




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    1. And did the coconut oil go solid on your hair and skin Meera? No, and it doesn’t do that on the inside of your body either, as is being claimed here. This is just a beat-up to discredit coconut oil and people should do their own research on it. I know several people who consume it on a daily basis and they are in peak physical condition. Also, model Miranda Kerr takes a couple of tablespoons a day – do you think she looks unwell?




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      1. I think its safe to say Miranda Kerr won the genetics lottery. Plenty of people look healthy on the outside but their insides tell a different story. I’d be more inclined to go with the science rather than a person’s appearance. But yes I agree that people should definitely do their own research, as long as that research comes from credible sources.




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      2. Hi Frida, no one is claiming that the oil will actually solidify once in the bloodstream. It is more complicated than that. Using the solid/liquid rule is simply a convenient rule of thumb for people who wish to avoid saturated fat, which happens to be solid at RT.

        I know several people who don’t consume it on a daily basis and are in peak physical condition. So now what? I think this is what they call broscience. Let’s stick with studies, not supermodels.




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      1. The physical state of a substance is a result of its molecular structure. No one is claiming that coconut oil or butter actually solidifies in the body. The structure is the issue. Its physical state at room temperature is obviously not relevant. But it is a very convenient indicator of its structure.

        Ice is a solid at 0C. But aha, our bodies are warmer than 0C, so it must be good for us. Does this line of logic make sense to you? Its physical state at any particular temperature is not the issue, its structural identity and its observable effects in the body are.




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            1. Sure. I’m the flat–earther. Because I refuse to (any longer–I did once) buy into the anti sat fat propaganda. Sure. But people like you who hang on to a hypothesis that has been disproven over and over again aren’t. Okay.




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              1. I don’t hang on to a hypothesis. I’m a scientist. I accept the way the scientific process works and when there is an overwhelming consensus, I accept it. People these days tend to accept science when they want and call it propaganda when they don’t. It doesn’t matter if you call it propaganda, it doesn’t matter if you accept it, it’s still the overwhelming consensus.

                I didn’t refer to flat-earthers because we disagree. If a colleague of mine disagreed with me and we actually discussed the chemistry of the statement, that would be a real discussion.




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                1. “People these days tend to accept science when they want and call it propaganda when they don’t.”

                  So true. Sadly, this seems to be happening not only in the science realm, but also in any realm where debates and discussions occur. People seem to becoming more polarized about science, politics, religion, food, etc.

                  I try to have hope that reason, compassion, and real discussions will prevail but sometimes I am not so sure.




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                  1. Sorry, but the anti sat fat campaign is propaganda. It was begun by a politician, is based on epidemiological studies, only some of which show a weak positive correlation (there are studies which show no correlation or even a negative correlation with disease). and it’s proponents refuse to accept any evidence to the contrary. How is that NOT propaganda? Whether natural sat fat is bad for us or not depends very much on the context of the diet as a whole. It isn’t inherently bad for us and I dare any of you to provide one single study showing that it is. I can and have provided links to many studies showing that it is not (inherently bad for us.) whereas the many studies those of you against sat fat have linked to do not show that is is inherently bad for us. Because there isn’t such a study. Those studies only show that it may be bad for us in certain contexts and I don’t deny that.




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                2. Well I have an advanced degree in chemistry. I can discuss the chemistry of butter and coconut oil all you want. What is it in the structure of butter and coconut oil (and other natural sat fats) that make them inherently bad for us? Because if it is something structural, then about half the fats that our bodies manufacture from our food are also bad for us. When we make triglycerides for storage in our adipose cells, they a mix of saturated and mono unsaturated fats. And that’s true no matter what you eat. When they are released, saturated fats enter the blood stream. If that were bad for us, evolution (and yes, I believe evolution, as well) has made a mighty serious error.




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                3. Well, there was an overwhelming consensus that the Earth was the center of the universe in Galileo and Copernicus’ times. But they chose to follow the evidence even though it went against the consensus. Now THEY were scientists. I don’t accept consensus because it’s consensus. You claim to be a scientists. As a scientist, you should know that, if evidence that is contrary to what one expects based on a hypothesis shows up, the hypothesis has to be discarded because it’s been falsified. now that is how science works. The hypothesis that consuming sat fat leads to heart disease has been falsified–by the French Paradox, for just one of many examples–yet you and others like you continue to cling to it. L




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                  1. Hahaha I was surprised no one brought this up yet and I was about to, but I’m glad you said it.

                    Even the idea of germs that were too small for the human eye to see was laughed at by the general population back in the day. Heck, the doctor who made his midwives wash their hands with a lye solution between birthings was even laughed at at first despite the resulting lowered rates of death-by-childbirth in his patients.

                    (I’m not going to bother googling any of these statements for anyone crying about sources because this info is so common it’s in textbooks. The sources are in the back of your book, you can look them up.)

                    (p.s. Not to cause confusion, this was not meant as an afront towards you, Margaret)




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          1. ha ha ha! good point. my coconut oil has been liquid since june and i imagine that in the areas of the world where coconut is native its always liquid at room temp too.




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            1. You imagine right. Tropical oils are called oils because in the regions of the world where they occur naturally, they are indeed liquid at room temp. And they are mostly saturated because, at those temps, any mono or polyunsaturated oil would go rancid mighty quickly. And cultures that include them in their diets are relatively free of heart disease and other chronic, western diseases. Go figure. :)




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              1. I wanted to mention that too. Darn, Margaret you beat me to it!

                Can I also mention that when my uncle and his family moved to America (they lived in India before) and partook in all of the highly processed foods of the western world, they ballooned in an almost comical but mainly sad way? They didn’t have this problem with their Indian diet. Some of it is portion control, some of it is content (like an exuberant amount of unsaturated fat and highly processed starches and sugars), and most of all EXERCISE. Since humans were humans they were bodies in motion – not something that’s very big in the western lifestyle. Somehow everything other than exercise is important in this lifestyle and I’m sorry to see it.




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                1. I, too, moved here from India, where I grew up. But I didn’t “balloon up” until I started buying into the low fat paradigm and cut fat out and increased my carbohydrate intake, mostly from processed foods high in sugar and starch. I’ve always been very active, so lack of exercise had nothing to do with it and I don’t believe lack of exercise has much to do with the rise in obesity and chronic disease. Yes, some Americans are too sedentary, but the plethora of thriving exercise joints would indicate that the vast majority aren’t and studies have compared our activity levels with those of healthy hunter gatherer populations and found them quite comparable. It’s mostly about switching out natural fats for man made ones, eating less fat and more sugar and starch,. Sadly, the Indian diet is changing and Met syndrome is on the rise there. They have one of the highest rates of T2 diabetes in the world. Since they have always been vegetarian, I blame vegetable oils PUFA) and increases in quantity of sugar and starch as the population grows more and more able to afford food a plenty.




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    2. It has also been ingested for hundreds of years in India and other eastern cultures. In fact, I didn’t see such terribly rising rates of heart disease in Indians until our switch to hydrogenated oils. (This also coincided with our switch to high fructose corn syrups and rises in diabetes rates, so the issues present do require further inspection, especially of the mutually exclusive variety.)

      I realize this response is an anecdote. Take it as you will. The records are graphs are out there for you although we need more empirical evidence before anyone feels comfortable changing the low-fat/high-carb paradigm.




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  4. Is there anything to be said for the high smoke point of coconut oil when used in cooking? Also since people on a plant based diet tend to have lower cholesterol levels would it be that bad to use a few times a week for cooking?




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    1. Yes, its high smoke point makes it ideal for cooking. And it is not unhealthy. Use it every day, if you choose. I’d be more worried about getting too much sugar and starch than about coconut oil and including coconut oil in your diet will help ensure that you eat less of them. It’s very satiating.




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    1. The bottom line is that the best available evidence is that coconut oil significantly worsens our bad cholesterol levels. <—unless that's what you're aiming for, I would consider this a bad thing.




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      1. “the best available evidence is that coconut oil significantly worsens our bad cholesterol levels.” Simply not true.




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    2. You’re right, it failed to convince me of anything. However, it was a good reminder that I need to add coconut oil to my shopping list when I go to Trader Joe’s later today!




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    3. Article did say “…four new studies have come out..bottom line is that the best available evidence is that coconut oil significantly worsens our bad cholesterol levels.” I’m not supporting crappy article, just pointing out what it said, supporting its claim that C.O. is bad for you.




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      1. while it is true that after a year eating 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in my oatmeal, my bad cholesterol (LDL)went up from 80 something to 90 something(still optimal). However, my good cholesterol (HDL)went sky high to 80 something. I can think clearly now and that means the most to me. Has the author ever heard of type 3 diabetes? Ketones? Dr.Mary Newport?




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  5. I’m curious if this sort of concern is mitigated by a vegetarian diet that it also light on animal products. I’ve been taking about 2 teaspoons of coconut oil per day for my skin. I do like the result. But, obviously don’t want high bad cholesterol. Last time my cholesterol was checked both my good and bad were very low. So I wonder if the effect on someone like me is negligible.




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    1. If your vegetarian diet is high in sugar and starch, that is much more likely to lead to heart disease than consuming coconut oil.




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      1. The healthiest, longest living populations on the planet have had diets based on starch. Science goes like this: observation –> hypothesis. Not the other way around.




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        1. Yes, I’m aware of how science works, thank you. I should have been more specific. When I said starch I meant refined grains.




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        2. This only seems to apply to cultures that have been eating it right along and not to those of us who grew up eating processed and fractured foods and who may be metabolically broken.




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    2. You are surely at a lower risk than someone supplementing a much more unhealthy diet with coconut oil. But if you’re interested you could also look into flaxseed for skin benefits. Flaxseed can be beneficial for sensitive skin:

      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/flaxseeds-for-sensitive-skin/

      And rather than consuming an oil, which has had all of the nutritive portions of the plant removed, by switching to flaxseed you would be getting fiber, protein, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. On the other hand consuming whole coconut meat would get you about half of the iron compared to flaxseed but not much else.

      In addition to vitamins, minerals, and fiber, flaxseeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids to *improve* heart health and lower cholesterol (coconut oil has none) and powerful anti-cancer phytonutrients that have been shown to reduce cancer proliferation rates in both breast and prostate cancer in a matter of weeks:

      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/flaxseeds-breast-cancer-survival-clinical-evidence/

      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/flaxseed-vs-prostate-cancer/

      None of this can be said for coconut oil.




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  6. hummm so slathering it on my skin everyday as body lotion would be a bad thing then? Would it not get absorbed and cause the same damage?




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      1. This is absolutely not true. What gets absorbed through our skin does get into our bloodstream. It’s as if you know nothing about the largest organ in our body.




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    1. Parts of it may indeed be absorbed, but, since it isn’t going to cause damage even when eaten, it won’t cause damage when absorbed through the skin either.




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  7. I’ve been using coconut oil on my face at night as a cleanser and nothing else for 3 years. It’s called the oil cleansing method. Guess what! I haven’t had cystic acne since. I don’t know about consuming it but it sure has made my skin beautiful.




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  8. Is this about all versions of coconut oil? I’ll assume it is, though there are several. I have a giant tub of organic, cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil. I absolutely love it. I use it on my normally sensitive, dry skin, the ends of my hair, I cook with it, I bake with it, I feed it to my family several times a week, and since its introduction we have not seen higher levels of cholesterol. Maybe we’re magic.




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    1. You are better off cooking with the refined, medium to high heat coconut oil. Use the cold-pressed, unrefined for everything else though :)




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        1. The refined, medium to high heat oil has a high smoke point, so it does not create any carcinogens at the higher temps when used to cook with.




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  9. How about comparing coconut oil to other oils and not butter? It’s definitely more healthy than olive oil, vegetable oil, or anything other non stick spray you may cook with.




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  10. We cut out grains an switched to coconut oil and DROPPED my husband’s cholesterol over 50 points as a result. Mine did not drop (it didn’t need to) but my HDL went up quite a bit. This is not cut and dried, folks. Look at the inflammation caused by sugars (grains) and how that impacts cholesterol levels before you make a decision.




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    1. You’re on to it! Everyone else – eating any saturated fats as well as grains will raise your cholesterol – BUT if you cut out grains and sugar, you can eat a lot of saturated fats (good ones like organic coconut oil and organic butter with no bad side effects.) GRAINS and SUGAR do the damage..not fat…. :)




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        1. Processed grains, yes. Lets not confuse white flour with whole wheat, or white rice with brown. As described by Dr. Greger, Whole grains are more then just white grains with a fiber coat.
          The coat stripped from a whole grain provides the following benefit include increased satiety, reduced glycemic response,
          faster intestinal transit time, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants (like carotenoids and polyphenols responsible for
          cell signalling and gene regulation), methionine, betaine, choline,
          inositol, folates (which are all involved in heart and liver protection
          and fat metabolism), phenolic acid (aids the colon), B vitamins, oligosaccharides (which is a prebiotic), alpha-linolenic acid,
          policosanol, melatonin, phytosterols and para-aminobenzoic acid.
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20565994

          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/whole-grains-may-work-as-well-as-drugs/




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  11. I’d like to see studies on low fat vegan diets vs vegan diets with moderate amounts of “quality” plant derived fats on premenopausal – middle aged women and thyroid/hormone health. I think plant based doctors tend to be older men and so overlook this group when making low fat/no fat diet recommendations.
    As an athletic vegan woman in her 40s I have gone through thyroid issues, sudden large weight fluctuation, and mood disorder. I’ve noticed this is not all that uncommon in people like me (ie. female, vegan, 35-55, physically active/health conscious). Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t there a connection between healthy hormone health and fat intake? Does fat intake make a difference in middle age women endurance athletes with super low cholesterol levels?




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    1. There is, indeed. You need fats (good ones like coconut oil) and cholesterol to make hormones and for many other reasons. Whether you’re middle aged or not, athletic or not, you need fat!




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  12. Cholesterol is made by a liver – fact. Coconuts do not have a liver! So I would like to see the studies to prove that coconut oil raises cholesterol. Because it is a saturated fat, it is a better oil for frying or heating, as it doesn’t change it’s chemical state. Olive oil and other oils do change when heated and potentially become carcinogenic forming substances. The best is to learn to dry fry, or water fry!




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    1. Saturated fat intake can promote production of LDL cholesterol, this is well established knowledge and it is the reason why saturated fat is viewed as unhealthful, rightfully so.




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      1. According to the AHA data collected between 2000 and 2006, over 70% of heart attack victims had LDL-C levels below the recommended level, so why do we keep insisting that increased LDL-C is a precursor to CHD?

        And anecdotally, coconut oil and butter have been staples in my diet for two years and my LDL calcs have gone from 121 to 98, so SFA intake at high levels does not absolutely raise LDL.




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        1. Dr. Greger has acknowledged this point regarding cholesterol levels.

          The current standard for the optimal level of cholesterol may not be low enough; 75% of heart attack patients were in the “optimal range”

          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/heart-attacks-and-cholesterol-agribusiness-sees-it-differently/

          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/heart-attacks-and-cholesterol-dying-under-normal-circumstances/

          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/new-target-cholesterol/




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          1. Oh sure… that makes perfect sense! Cholesterol is vital for our overall health and well being… and in fact, the higher our cholesterol is, the lower our chance of death from heart disease. But let’s lower the recommended levels again, so that we can make people take more drugs, have poorer health overall and fear the natural foods that got us to this point in our evolution.

            Yup, makes perfect sense. How low do you want to go? People with a total cholesterol of 161 have heart attacks. Should we lower it to 150? 100? 50? How much lower does it have to go before you realize that heart disease is NOT caused by cholesterol?




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            1. From what I have read, you are likely to be safe below 150. For those who care about a healthy heart, check out Dr. Esselstyn’s book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.




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              1. Actually, there are a number of studies (I know of 101) that show that low cholesterol is linked with early death. Now, linked does not mean caused, I’ll be first to say that. Heart disease isn’t the only thing that kills. Cancer does, too, as do infections. Low cholesterol is linked to these. Perhaps it doesn’t cause it, but the same reasoning that has led us (falsely, I think) to the conclusion that high cholesterol leads to heart disease should also lead at least some to the conclusion that too low cholesterol is not necessarily a good thing! But that never seems to enter their minds. You may be safe from heart disease below 150, Thea, maybe, but are you safe from cancer? infection? Just a thought. Personally, I don’t mess with my cholesterol. It is what it is and I don’t worry about it.




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            2. Yes, that is exactly right. The current LDL target is under 70, which means about a total cholesterol under 150. Good job!

              You can learn more about that here:

              http://nutritionfacts.org/video/new-target-cholesterol/

              http://nutritionfacts.org/video/heart-attacks-and-cholesterol-dying-under-normal-circumstances/

              http://nutritionfacts.org/video/heart-attacks-and-cholesterol-agribusiness-sees-it-differently/

              The sources cited are included in theri for your reference and reading pleasure as well.




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            3. You got it right on your first guess. 150 is the accepted number based on epidemiological studies. This number is not hypothetical, it is based on observation.

              Your comment makes it sound as though it is the same party making an initial guess of 250 being the magic number, then when that doesn’t work, lowering the recommendation to 200, then to 150, etc. This is not the case. There are the mainstream recommendations, which are not based on the observable data but rather on pandering to the culinary preferences of our population, and thus are continually shown to be ineffective in preventing heart disease. And then there is a separate group of researchers who have based the level of 150 on observable and consistent data, and this recommendation has not wavered.




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              1. Perhaps you are not aware of this study which shows that, for women, the higher the cholesterol, the lower the risk of death from all causes, including heart disease, while for men,, death rate increases at both low and very high levels. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1111/j.1365-2753.2011.01767.x/asset/j.1365-2753.2011.01767.x.pdf;jsessionid=5E527E029108E594887F2069BCFFA5A9.d04t01?v=1&t=hl14b1yq&s=5d9c2a332eecfeb6dd368fa2a099d0ad53901856 I also so this study on NCBI, so it’s peer reviewed. When evidence crops up that contradicts a hypothesis or theory, it doesn’t make sense to hold on to the hypothesis/theory. Choesterol, whether in the blood or in the diet, does not cause heart disease–or any other disease. Cholesterol is vital to life. No, it’s not essential–the liver can make it–but vital.




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  13. I read the article, and read all of the comments, I am so confused..I know that butter is pretty evil, Margarine is even worse, But is coconut oil better than say… olive, grapeseed, vegetable, or corn oils?..Or are all oils bad?




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      1. Lightly refined, with low heat and no chemicals, is fine too. I use expeller pressed whenever I don’t want the taste of coconut in the food or beverage.




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    1. All oils in general are unhealthful. Look up any oil on the USDA database and you can quickly see that oil fits quite accurately the definition of junk foods

      http://nutritiondata.self.com/

      One of themost concentrated sources of calories while adding no nutritional quality to ones diet.




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      1. You are quite mis informed. Not all oils are unhealthful/junk, regardless of what the USDA data base says. We need fats–to absorb fat soluble vitamins and minerals, to provide raw materials for many structures, and for energy. The best fats and oils are the ones that require minimal processing to produce and are stable and resistant to oxidation, such as all those high in saturated and mono unsaturated fatty acids, like Olive, coconut and butter. Vegetable and seed oils like grapeseed, corn and vegetable oils, are highly processed, as is margarine, and are bad news for health.




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        1. There is enough fat found in whole plant foods to absorb soluble vitamins and I know of no evidence of a health epidemic among low fat plant based diets in which they are not absorbing enough vitamins or phytonutrients. In fact, we are absorbing plenty.

          Again, from Jeff Novick

          “Absorbing more doesn’t automatically equate to better health outcomes.

          Speaking of health outcomes, which is what really matters, lets put all of this into proper perspective.

          From
          “‘Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids’, Food and Nutrition Board. Institute of Medicine. National Academy Press, Washington D.C. Pp. 343-344 (2000)”

          http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9810&page=353

          “These data, although in varying populations, suggest that 3 to 6 mg/day of β-carotene from food sources is prudent to maintain plasma β-carotene concentrations in the range associated with a lower risk of various chronic disease outcomes (see Table 3).”

          Table 3:

          http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9810&page=341

          As just detailed, plasma and tissue concentrations of carotenoids have been associated with a variety of health outcomes; that is, higher concentrations are associated with a lower risk of cancer, coronary heart disease, and all-cause mortality. This could be used as a possible indicator for establishing requirements for carotenoids. However, the limitation of this approach is that it is not clear whether observed health benefits are due to carotenoids per se or to other substances found in carotenoid-rich foods.

          Thus, these data are suggestive
          of prudent intake levels, not required levels of intake. Recommendations have been made by a number of federal agencies and other organizations
          with regard to fruit and vegetable intake. Nutrient analysis of menus
          adhering to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines and the National Cancer Institute’s Five-a-Day for Better Health Program, for example, indicates that persons following these diets would be consuming approximately 5.2 to 6.0 mg/day provitamin A carotenes on average if a variety of fruits and vegetables were consumed (Lachance, 1997). Similar levels would be obtained by following Canada’s Food Guide for Healthy Eating which
          specifies a minimum of five servings of vegetables and fruit (Health Canada, 1997). Other food-based dietary patterns recommended for the prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases would provide approximately 9 to 18 mg/day of carotenoids (WCRF/AICR, 1997).

          NOTE: this is 3-6x the amount recognized as being enough to lower disease risk

          It is also based on the WCRF/AICR report from 1997. In many other discussions here, I have quoted the WCRF/AICR newest report from 2007 saying that they now more than ever, recommend dietary “patterns” over recommending specific “individual foods”.

          So, in other words, if Americans would just get in the recommended amounts of fruits and veggies, it would not only provide carotenoids, but more than enough of all of them to produce the beneficial health outcomes, including reduced
          risks of cancer. And anyone following a Whole Food plant based diet, as recommended here, would already be consuming WAY more than enough.

          Of course, the real issue is why do you have to increase the absorption of raw veggies (which are very low) when you can just eat tubers, which have almost the highest absorption rate, as is.

          http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9810&page=354




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        2. Hi Margaret, No one is saying that fats are unnecessary. However some people prefer to get fats in the form of the whole food: olives instead of olive oil, flax instead of flaxseed oil, etc. Even kale has 12% fat, so perhaps you imagine that people that do not advocate consumption of coconut or other oils are advocating a fat-free diet, but this is not the case. In response to a comment below, while certain nutrients may in fact be found in a particular food in trace amounts, that doesn’t necessarily make it a good source. “Good” is a quantitative term and requires 10% of the RDA to qualify. Comparing calorically equal amounts of flax to grass-fed beef, the nutrition data for grass-fed beef shows only 1% of the recommended Adequate Intake of omega-3 content, while flax countains 145%.This is why someone may refer to grass fed beef as being nutrient deficient in terms of the omega-3 content.




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          1. The omega 3 in flax has to undergo a conversion process to be usable and it’s not very efficient. Whereas the omega 3 in GF beef is usable as is. And a lot of times “calorically equal” doesn’t mean one could actually consume the amounts. I don’t know what serving sizes you are comparing, which is more relevant than caloric ally equal portions. Flax is mostly fiber, so I imagine one would have to eat a lot of it compared to beef to get calorically equal amounts. And it’s my understanding that whole flax seeds go through the digestive tract unchanged, yielding none of their nutrients anyway. I know that was just an example, but still…sure, I have no problem with the concept of getting your fats from whole foods. I have a problem with a blanket statement that all fats and oils re unhealthy. Most cultures traditionally include natural fats and oils in their foods and they are not unhealthy.




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            1. Hi Margaret, yes there is indeed some debate about the conversion rates, with one plant based doc (Furhman) recommending algae-based supplementation in addition to flax, though most seem to agree that with the proper ratio of 3:6 in the diet, there is sufficient conversion.

              In regards to caloric comparisons, they can often be very useful. Based on the servings I used, you could consume 1 tbsp of ground flax (37 calories) to get the 147% of the daily value or about 5400 calories of grass-fed beef. Even accounting for possible differences in conversion rates, I think it is still obvious that grass-fed beef is a relatively poor source of omega-3. The best option of course if one were looking for a *good* source of *long-chain* omega-3s without the need for conversion would be to get them from from algae.

              Regarding oils, there is clinical data to support the premise that they are unhealthy, and the nutrition data itself does not support the claim that oils are a good source of nutrients. However, epidemiological evidence is incredibly important, and while certainly many healthy populations include oils in their diet, that still leaves the question of whether they’re healthy because of the oils or in spite of them.

              Personally I think if someone has an otherwise healthy diet and really enjoys oil, then go for it. For someone like me though, I find the balance of evidence suggests that my diet is healthier without the oil. When I first went no-oil I actually went through a period of fatigue and realized I wasn’t getting enough calories. So I had to up my intake of whole foods to compensate, and my micronutrient intake is much higher as a result. Also after I adjusted to not eating it, frankly it tastes kind of icky :P

              Cheers!




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    1. In a country where the base of diet are foods that should be eaten in moderation, we need to drastically rethink this dietary approach of eating things in moderation. Lets rid ourselves of lifestyle diseases that are strongly influenced and dictated by nutrition before we discuss moderation.




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      1. I find the idea of moderation psychologically messy. I like to eat whatever I want, whenever I want, and as much as I want, which I can do on a low fat whole foods plant based diet.

        If the word moderation were used in the context of say, once in a while at a special event, you eat something rather unhealthful that you wouldn’t normally make yourself, that seems normal to me.

        But to plan to intentionally include unhealthful, high-fat, high-salt, high-sugar, etc hyper-stimulating foods in your diet on a regular basis, knowing you’ll have to limit how much of them you eat, to me sounds unpleasant. And I think that’s how the word moderation is typically used.




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        1. I also like to eat whatever I want, whenever I want, and as much as I want, which I can do on a low carb, moderate protein, high fat diet…and in so doing, I’ve also lost 30 pounds in the last 90 days, plus decreased my blood pressure and improved my cholesterol. I have a jar of coconut oil at my desk which I eat by the spoonful. And I feel better than I have in years!




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                1. If there is a similar book regarding the paleolithic diet (Paleo Exposed! haha) I would like to see that as well.

                  (That wasn’t meant confrontationaly – I actually really would like to read it and I’ve been scouring my library system for more information, much to my disappointment.)




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                  1. Jackie_Chanly: re: “Is there is a similar book regarding the Paleo diet?”

                    It’s not a book per-say, but I highly recommend taking a look at the work done by Plant Positive:
                    http://www.PlantPositive.com
                    (It’s on YouTube too.)

                    He has 3 video series with translations. So, you can read the translations if you want, but the video shows sources and tables, etc. So, you might want to actually watch.

                    Plant Positive covers paleo diet, cholesterol denialism, Ancel Keys, Gary Taubes, Weston Price etc. He also covers populations like Eskimos and Masai and what the mummies really tell us.

                    It’s hours worth of material that delve pretty deeply into the science. But he chose to make this work free to the public. It’s impressive, and I’m thinking it will answer your questions about the “paleo” diet.

                    Hope that helps.




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            1. Exactly how much is high, moderate, and low anymore nowadays? Is it grams? Is it portion size?

              I ask because I LOVE filling my plate with colorful and dark green vegetables with about a palm-sized amount of protein usually. I feel generally satisfied.

              Throughout my fitness endeavors, I’ve had to keep extensive food logs and I have to say… the amounts and portions of carbs/proteins/fats needed are typically already in your (whole natural) food without needing supplementation… (Although I do enjoy a small dollop of coconut oil with my baked squash.)

              p.s. exercise has been the most important thing I’ve noticed in improving my overall health




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            1. When I eat processed oils now they have a strong taste and have a really gross mouth feel. Like really bad greasy Chinese restaurant food that makes you want to use some mouthwash and brush your teeth.




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              1. I agree! I can even taste the oils mainly when I burp later and it just irritates me!
                (I don’t usually experience this issue with tropical oils though, mainly with canola oil or corn oil. To each his own, I suppose.)




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          1. Happily Satiated: My comment was in response to someone advocating moderation as a desirable practice. You are listing results of a particular diet. Sounds like you’re doing well, that’s great, but these are separate discussions.




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        2. You are right, that IS unpleasant and I tried it for too long before my willpower broke and I eventually gave up. (And I tried this stupid approach more than once!)

          However, you also said that you can eat as much as you want on your low fat whole foods plant based diet. I noticed this very same thing when I made that switch! (I didn’t sustain the low-fat switch, though. It made me depressed and very irritable and I was acting mean towards my family. I added back the fat but cut down on the sugar/starch sources – yes even the whole grains and pulses – and found that I was nicer, my mind-fog cleared, and my muscle/joint pains in the mornings also subsided, as did inches around my midsection, thighs, and arms.)

          Isn’t that the point, though? In eating this diet you’re consuming far more fibers which have been shown to lower cholesterol/lipoprotein/triglyceride issues as well as keep you satiated for longer, and (maybe this is from personal experience) release endorphins and generally make you feel happier and accomplished. You’re also getting these vitamins and minerals from whole foods that you can’t easily get from those processed foods even when the foods have been enriched. That was something that I didn’t understand while I was in college even though I made a concerted effort to eat mainly plants, less starch, and stay vegetarian – college dorm food often comes out of a can, even the vegetables! I was having strep throat infections and colds left and right until I realized this.

          Evolutionarily speaking, we are prone to seeking out high-salt, high-fat, and high-sugar (and even high-protein) foods and get a great endorphin release from consuming them. Everyone here knows why – these are the macronutrients needed for survival and likewise we are rewarded for having found them and consumed them. This was also back before grocery markets existed where you could just drive your car and buy food any day of the week. (That’s another thing – inactivity. Yeah cavemen hunted… and their women and children gathered. Everyone was moving.)

          I think you and Margaret Cihocki are both making pretty much the same point with the only MAJOR discrepancy being the amount of oil. Both of you have been supporting whole and naturally derived foods throughout the majority of this debate. (Yes she points to research on other types of diets, like that ketogenic diet, I think as a way to prove a different point that she was trying to make.)

          This discrepancy is ok – everyone and every culture is different. I’ve tried your diet and it has worked for me (save for the low-fat being really depressive after a long time). I tried her coconut oil-philic diet and it has also worked for me (and still does). Maybe it’s because I’m of Indian descent and have a propensity to handle tropical oils very well. Maybe this is the same reason why my German-descended boyfriend can handle beer and bagels far better than I can.

          p.s. No, I don’t think that’s how the word “moderation” is typically used – at least not to my understanding or any curriculum that I’ve learned/reviewed/taught to other students. My understanding of the word “moderation” (and what is typically taught in schools) is exactly what you said: Once in a while at a special event. I also want to add that “moderation” defined as a limited amount of these terrible foods is pushed and perpetuated by and to people who simply do not want to give up the potato chips/twix bars. Having a whole bag of potato chips and only limiting myself to eating 17 chips at a time? That would (DID in the past) DRIVE ME NUTS!




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    2. I can’t stand it when I see the moderation argument, I look at it like this, crack cocaine is not OK in moderation, neither is GM veg oils or man made fats, stick with Coconut oil, grass feed butter or some good ol (real) lard. People need to learn the truths about animal fats and stop listening to the people who have been brain washed by the food pyramid.




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      1. Exactly. Even doctors nowadays are writing books on nutrition with their own custom (well-informed) food pyramids that look NOTHING like the one our government recommends. However, they also develop a plan to change your nutrition to eventually look a little more like our current pyramid with the right choices (whole foods) instead of the mistaken choices (processed carbs). This sounds like a win-win to me as it is hard to live the no-grain lifestyle in a country that just can’t get over its obsession with grains. Besides, we know how to make those grains taste really really good, even as a whole food, so I sympathize further with the inability to get over carbs.




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    3. I prefer to eat the right kinds of foods (including coconut oil and other natural fats) and let my body and my appetite moderate for me.




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    4. A very wise man once said, “moderation works for … people with “moderate” personalities”. We do not live in a moderate culture, and I do not see the moderation mantra as an effective way to get people to eat healthier and change their habits.




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      1. Wrong, wrong, wrong. You don’t want to eat fats and oils, that’s your choice. It’s probably wise, considering you eat a lot of carbohydrates. But there is no scientific basis for your argument and much against it.




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        1. How am I wrong, there is little evidence to conclude that consuming one of the most calorie dense and nutrient poor foods on the planet is beneficial at all. The only fat you need are essential fats found in abundance in the plant kingdom.

          In the words of Jeff Novick, world renowned nutritionist:

          “Due to very effective marketing and advertising, we have become convinced that oil is not only food, but a health food. This is crazy. To be a food, something must be able to support healthy life and
          be of some benefit.

          Oil is a highly refined processed and extracted food “product”. It
          has no protein or essential amino acids (which we need), it has no
          carbohydrates, or sugars (which we need), it has no fiber (which we need), it has no minerals (which we need) and has virtually no vitamins (which we need) except for a small amount of Vit E and some phytosterols.

          But, on the other hand, it is pure fat and the most calorie dense
          food on the planet. While all oils have a mixture of mono, poly and
          saturated fat, most oils are very low in the essential fat omega 3
          (which some of us may need more of), very high in the omega 6 (which most of us need to lower) and most oils also have high ratios of omega 6 to omega 3 (which most all of us need to lower).

          So, basically you are getting lots of calories (oils has almost 2.5 x
          more calorie per TB than sugar). lots of omega 6s, some saturated fat (depending on the oil) and virtually no nutrients.

          The definition of a junk food is a food that is high in calories (and/or fat, sugar, salt) and has little if any nutrient value at all. Oil, is more of a junk food than sugar. And, I hope that in a few
          years, we will all come to understand it and see it, as such.”

          Dr. Vogel conducted a study that compared different fats and oils (olive oil, canola oil, and salmon) and how they impaired our endothelieum cells. Our endothelieum cells are within our blood vessels lining their walls. They keep clots from forming and keep our blood running smoothly. It also helps our blood vessels dilate and contract when needed. The participants of the study ate a meal containing 3.5 tablespoons of olive oil and the examiners measured their arterial
          damage after 3 hours. “Contrary to part of our hypothesis, our study found that omega-9 (oleic acid)-rich olive oil impairs endothelieum function postprandially.” They also make note that “In terms of their postprandial effect of endothelieum function, the
          beneficial components of the Mediterranean and Lyon Diet Heart Study diets appear to be antioxidant-rich foods, including vegetables [and] fruits”
          http://content.onlinejacc.org/cgi/content/full/36/5/1455

          It was even noted that “In a clinical study, olive oil was shown to activate coagulation factor VII to the same extent as does butter. Thus, olive oil does not have a clearly beneficial effect on
          vascular function.”
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9409274

          Another study looked at different oils (olive, soybean and palm oils). They had their patients eat a potato soup. The soup either had 3 tablespoons of each oil OR they fried the potatoes in the oil. They too examined the extent of damage on the volunteers’ arteries. this is what they found “All the vegetable oils, fresh and deep-fried, produced an increase in the triglyceride plasma levels in healthy subjects.”
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17174226

          This 2 year study looked at coronary artery lesions of the heart after consuming different types of fat. Polyunsaturated fat (omega 3 type of fat) Monounsaturated fat (75% of which makes up olive oil) and Saturated fat (the kind found in mostly animal products). They looked at angiograms a year apart after intervening with increasing one type of fat in each group. All 3 fats were associated with a significant increase in new atherosclerosis lesions. Most importantly, the growth of these lesions did not stop when polyunsaturated fats and
          monounsaturated fats were substituted for saturated fats. Only by decreasing all fat intake including the polyunsaturated and
          monounsaturated fats did the lesions stop growing.

          http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/263/12/1646.abstract?sid=47d1d016-3c15-43f4-a013-0d10144ef8e3




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          1. Calorie dense? Yes. Nutrient poor? Hardly. It would take up far too much room to list all the nutrients found in natural fats like olive oil, butter and coconut oil, so I’ll pick one example: butter. Real butter from grass fed cows is rich in vitamin A, CLA, n-3 omega fatty acids, just to name a few. Can you get those nutrients elsewhere? Sure, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are in butter. And butter, like other fats and oils in the diet are satiating, thus reducing the chances of eating too much of anything, including fat. Butter does indeed “support healthy life” and is of great benefit. You don’t want to eat delicious natural fats and oils, that’s your choice. But that doesn’t make them unhealthy for those of us that do.




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                1. The omega 3 found in butter is not an appreciable source of this nutrient. At the risk of consuming unhealthy animal based saturated fats, the cost/benefit is not worth it.




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                  1. You still haven’t proven that animal based saturated fat is unhealthy. Posting more links to more misinformation doesn’t count. Saturated fat has never been the problem.. it’s our thinking and believing the information that we’re so carefully spoonfed.




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                    1. The links i posted above is clear evidence, I am not sure what more you want. You can’t put your fingers in your ears and shade your eyes just because it goes against your doctrine. I am open to studies showing that saturated fat is healthful, but none exist. There are plenty showing the opposite, and a sample of these studies are shown above.




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                    2. I’ve read a lot of studies already… and every study I’ve read that concludes “saturated fat = bad” is flawed: based on observation and food surveys. Show me an RCT that proves your position.




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                    3. How are the above studies flawed? I have shown you the evidence, it is not up to me to continually prove my point, it is up to you to disprove it. This is not a philosophical debate, peer reviewed studies are required when debating such a topic.




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                    4. Don’t even get me started on the peer review process. Just because a study is “peer reviewed” doesn’t mean a damn thing.

                      I stated how the studies are flawed: they are based on observation and at best only prove correlation. As you should know, correlation does NOT equal causation. Studies relying on data from food surveys are even more deeply flawed and shouldn’t even be put forth as evidence of anything.




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                    5. When a number of studies show the same correlation, we begin making educated decisions based on this evidence. If I was arguing for a single study your point is valid, but we are talking about a mass of studies, the few I posted were a small piece of the many. This is how science is conducted, and the scientific method is the best system in place currently. Here are a few causative studies with saturated fat

                      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2281930

                      http://jcem.endojournals.org/content/95/9/4455.long

                      http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/35/2/375.full

                      and Dr. Greger has many more regarding endotoxemia with animal products.




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                    6. “When a number of studies show the same correlation…” True, but the problem with sat fat in the diet is the correlations, when present, are weak, and they’re not always present. Consistency and reproduciblitiy are important, too. With smoking, there is always a strong correlation, so it’s reasonable to argue that smoking can cause lung cancer, especially since very few who don’t smoke get it. But that’s not the case with sat fat. There are lots of people who get heart disease and die of it who do not eat a lot of sat fat and, conversely, people who eat a lot and don’t get heart disease, nor die of it. So when a correlation does show up, one needs to look at other possibilties to explain it. When A and B are linked, it can mean A causes B, B causes A, or something else causes both. The fact that, in some studies, sat fat and heart disease are (weakly) linked doesn’t say in any way shape or form that sat fat causes heart disease. If it did, everyone who ate sat fat would get it, and there would be a dose response curve–people who eat more would get worse CVD and die sooner. That doesn’t happen. Exhibit A: the “French Paradox” A high sat fat diet, not a high rate of heart disease or death from it. There are many other “paradoxes’ that aren’t paradoxes at all if you realize sat fat doesn’t cause heart disease.




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                    7. The first study doesn’t show anything except what happens to blood lipids when one eats a high percentage of calories as fat. Doesn’t show that those consequences are harmful in any way. and the study subjects dideat other things, so how much of the effect is due to the fat and how much to anything else they ate is unknown.




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                    8. Oh, and the first study–at least in the abstract–doesn’t even say what kind of fat the subjects ate, so how do you know it was sat fat?




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                    9. In the second study, the meal included a considerable amount of carbohydrates as well as the fat. You have to control for one variable or you can’t know which variable(s) caused the observed changes. You also have no idea what the long term effects of those changes in blood lipids are.




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                    10. The third study was looking at the rise in endotoxins from gut bacteria in T2 diabetics following a high SFA meal. Of course, nowhere in the study could I find what the subjects actually ate. Since at one time SFA and trans fats were considered equally bad, color me skeptical. And how are changes in endotoxin levels in diabetics relevant to anyone who is not diabetic? Just curious.




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                    11. No scientist will state that peer-review is perfect, but it certainly is the best method we have to put forth quality research. Vague generalizations from a non-scientist that supposedly negate thousands of studies on the other hand…




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                    12. “[A peer-reviewed study] doesn’t mean a damn thing?” That is a perplexing statement, indeed.

                      I am curious then, what are you basing your beliefs and opinions on? How are you coming to your conclusions? What are the standards you use the assess the credibility and veracity of the studies that you and those of your ilk have cited?




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                    13. There must be some better method his research group uses that the entire scientific community has not discovered yet. I eagerly await finding out what this might be.




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                    14. You quoted me out of context and YOU are the one perplexed?

                      If you’re going to argue with what I said, then at least be honest about what I said and don’t put words in my mouth.

                      I look for randomized controlled trials for actual evidence of causation, not observational studies most frequently quoted here and then passed off as “proof”. As for the peer-review process… it’s not much more than a rubber stamp in most cases… which is why the fact that a study is peer-reviewed doesn’t lend that much more credibility to the study. I’m more interested in how the study is conducted rather than whether or not it got the rubber stamp of approval.




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                    15. No, peer review isn’t perfect. But yes, it is the best method we have to put forth quality research. But sometimes less than quality research slips through and that is the case when it comes to the study that began the war on sat fat–Ancel Key’s cherry picked 7 countries study so nicely demolished by @Real World Vegan in a different comment–and by Zoe Harcombe in a peer reviewed article linked in blog entitled “Saturated Fat causes heart disease, and the Earth is Flat” that I provided a link to in one of my comments. That fraudulent study, which somehow survived the peer review process, is the foundation on which all subsequent research on this matter has been built.




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                    16. So far you’re the only one I’ve seen consistently bring up phrases regarding fingers-in-ears and shades-over-eyes…
                      Methinks, thou doth protest too much.




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              1. Coconut oil is almost 50% Lauric acid, a medium chain triglyceride that, as I already said, breaks down to mono-Laurin, which has anti. Bacterial, anti viral and anti fungal properties. All the fats in coconut oil supply a good deal of energy and fatty acids for structural maintenance. Just because something doesn’t have a ton of micronutrients in it doesn’t mean it’s not nutritious. Nutrition is both micronutrients and macronutrients. Fats and oils, including coconut oil, a good source of the latter. Seriously, people you need to be less fat phobic. Fats are tasty, satiating, and nutritious.




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                1. The fact that you keep mentioning that coconut oil is anti fungal and anti microbial shows that you have little understanding of how our immune system works. This is irrelevant information. A food that is a single macronutrient does not make it nutritious, quite the opposite. I would say the same for a pure carbohydrate source and a pure protein source.




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                  1. Actually, I understand very well how the immune system works. And I’m not saying coconut oil is anti fungal, etc. I’m saying that, mono laurin, a fatty acid derived from Lauric acid, a major component of coconut oil but also found in butter, mother’s milk, and some other (animal) foods, has antibacterial etc. properties. Search for mono laurin in WebMD. It is not irrelevant. And no fat or oil is a single macronutrient. All are made of many different types of fatty acids which perform various functions. But again, as I said above, I’m not arguing that any oil or fat is a better source of anything than the whole food from which it comes. I’m merely saying if someone chooses to include them in the diet, it is not harmful or wrong to do so. you all seem to (mistakenly) think I’m saying people should eat coconut oil to be healthy.




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                2. Margaret: “Nutrition is both micronutrients and macronutrients.”

                  All whole plant foods are a mixture of carbs, fat, and protein.

                  Macronutrients are not something you have to try to consume. If you eat enough food, you will automatically consume enough of all of them.

                  Micronutrients on the other hand, are not found to a significant degree in animal products or processed/refined foods. Hence the focus on these in discussion. You can not simply eat food and get a reliably sufficient intake.

                  Whole food plant based eaters are not fat phobic. We get plenty of fat in our diet, we just don’t eat refined, isolated fat.




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                  1. Actually, I would argue that animal products like eggs, liver, bone broth, and dairy are quite rich in micronutrients. But plants are rich in them, as well. The micronutrients in animal foods, however, are more easily extracted by the body. Not saying not to eat plant foods, not saying that if you eat a variety of whole foods you don’t get enough fat. Not saying you have to eat refined fat products. Just saying they’re not bad for us. They are sources of energy and, yes, micronutrients–vitamin E in olive oil, n-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, CLA, vitamin K, and others in butter, and so on. You don’t want to eat them, I’m fine with that. I’m just not fine with people saying we shouldn’t be eating them if we want to. Natural fats and oils have been a part of traditional diets all over the world




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                    1. There is plenty of evidence that does suggest they are bad for us. You may not agree with this evidence, but it still exists.

                      Just because there are trace amounts of a micronutrient in a food, does not mean they are rich in them. When compared to the amounts in whole plant foods they are negligible.

                      Sure, a culture can use oils and be healthy despite them, provided the rest of their diet is very healthy and based heavily on plants. Based on the incredible medicinal qualities of plant foods, I could probably add in a couple cigarettes a day to my extremely nutrient-rich diet and still enjoy good and lasting health. But that wouldn’t tell us whether cigarettes are bad for us or not.




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                    2. “Suggest” is a far cry from proving they are bad for us. Context is everything. Virtually all the studies that suggest natural saturated fats are bad for us are epidemiological,, often lump trans fats (truly bad for us) with natural sat fats, and look at populations/people whose diet is also high in sugar and refined grains. If you know of any other kind, I’d be interested in seeing it. In the context of a low carbohydrate, real food diet, no such harm has been demonstrated anywhere. In fact, both anecdotally and in studies, people who eat a low carb high fat (including sat fat) diet consistently improve their CVD risk. Please check out the A to Z diet study out of Stanford for just one example of such a study. And for the record, I don’t agree or disagree with evidence. I agree or disagree with conclusions based on the evidence. There was a time when I, too, swallowed whole the conclusion that sat fat is bad for us in any context. I’ve since learned better. And also for the record, I know the Earth is round and I have an advanced degree in science–Biochemistry, to be exact. I have no problem with what anyone chooses to eat and I believe there are more than one healthy ways for people to eat. In fact I think any diet based on real food that is minimally processed is far better than the highly processed diet high in sugar and refined grains that most Americans eat.




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                    3. Let me rephrase that. I know the Earth is not flat. It’s not exactly round, either, more like ovoid…don’t want anyone thinking I think the Earth is a perfect sphere, LOL.




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                    4. “I would argue that animal products like eggs, liver, bone broth, and dairy are quite rich in micronutrients.”

                      How “rich” in micronutrients are they? And, “rich” in which micronutirents?




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                    5. Rich enough to supply all the micronutrients one needs as much as one needs. People who live on almost/exclusively animal products suffer no deficiencies or I’ll health. There are many examples of cultures past and present who eat almost no plant foods and remain healthy. The Maasai in Africa, Plains Indians, Inuit….




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                    6. re: “There are many examples of cultures past and present who eat almost no plant foods and remain healthy. The Maasai in Africa, Plains Indians, Inuit….”

                      Again, I would refer people to Primitive Nutrition on YouTube for information about the health of these cultures. Primitive Nutrition even looks at the health indicators in at least one ancient mummy, prior to any possible corruption of diet by modern societies.




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                    7. You Tube is not my go to source for information. However, perhaps I’ll check it out some time. But if their diet were unhealthy, why would they continue to follow it generation after generation? The Inuit kind of have to–plants are scarce most of the year where they live. But the Maasai? Plants are plentiful where they live in Africa, yet they (men especially) eat no plants. Just the blood, meat (probably including organ meat) and blood of the cattle they herd. And those who survive infectious diseases and other such threats live just as long and healthy as we do and are relatively free of the chronic diseases of our society–




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                    8. re: “But if their diet were unhealthy, why would they continue to follow it generation after generation?”

                      Humans are stupid and often follow tradition whether it makes sense or not. After all, look at what Americans have been eating for a couple of generations.

                      re: “You Tube is not my go to source for information.”
                      Makes sense. However, this particular set of videos is no different than Dr. Greger’s videos on this site. Primitive Nutrition also includes source scientific information/referenced (in the video, though, not in links like here). The biggest difference is that Primitive Nutrition doesn’t have his own website the way Dr. Greger does. I don’t hold it against him that he has to share on YouTube. It’s free. And his work is such a high quality that I considered it worth my time. Especially so that I had answers to the questions that people raise about societies like the Inuit and others.




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                    9. This is SO outside the scope of this discussion and even this site. Still when I read, “Humans are stupid and often follow tradition whether it makes sense or not. After all, look at what Americans have been eating for a couple of generations.”

                      First, I laughed. And, then the thought of clitordectomies came to mind. (Told you WAY outside the scope of this discussion.) Talk about a nonsensical tradition that persists despite its horrific consequences.




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                    10. I’m not defending all traditions. There are certainly some horrific ones. HOwever, humans and all other organisms have a deep seated survival instinct and that undoubtedly shaped ideas about foods that became part of the traditional diet–or didn’t. Just saying…




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                    11. Just to be clear, Dr. Gregor’s videos aren’t my go to sources, either. Yes, humans can be stupid. I’m not by any stretch defending all traditional practices. But lets’ be clear, Americans eat the way they do now not because of tradition, but because of a misguided acceptance of faulty science and dietary guidelines based on it. They have only been eating this way for a couple of generations at most and are already paying the price in terms of decreased life expectancy and chronic disease. I don’t expect that to continue for too many generations more. At least I hope not. Traditional diets evolved in the absence of scientific guidance and depended on observations of the effects of various foods on over all health and well being.




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                    12. re: Margaret: I respect your posts on this site in that you keep it civil and mostly stay on topic. So, while we disagree on so much, I wanted to express my appreciation of you.

                      To respond to the particular post above: re: “But lets’ be clear, Americans eat the way they do now not because of tradition, but because of a misguided acceptance of faulty science and
                      dietary guidelines based on it.”

                      I have to strongly disagree with this. As an example: I have a co-worker who is a nurse (smart, educated, etc). She eats at fast food places at least 4 to 5 times a week. She brings her grandkids to one fast food joint or another *at least* once a week (when she watches them on weekends). She knows perfectly well that fast food is bad for her. I’m not aware of any body of science or diet telling people that eating at McDonnalds is good for them (whether whole plant based or even paleo). But people like my co-worker do eat those things in large quantities that they know/believe themselves to be bad for them. Their parents ate this way some. They eat this way more. They feed this food to their kids who feed it to their kids.

                      To take this real life example one step further: After years of talking to me and then doing her own research, this co-worker (a good *THREE* years ago) came right out and said that she is thoroughly convinced that eating a whole plant based food diet is beyond doubt the healthiest diet to have. (This shocked me given what I know about her eating habits.) And yet this obese person has since made almost no changes in her diet or in what she feeds her obese children and grandchildren. Her family members are dieing of diet-related diseases. Yet, she still brings the traditional ham to extended family gatherings, believing that the ham is bad for them, but it’s tradition… (Whether you personally believe that ham is harmful or not is irrelevant. The point here is that my co-worker believes the ham is harmful based on her understanding of the science and still not only consumes it herself (along with chicken, bacon, etc.), but feeds it to her loved ones because it is tradition and it is what she knows how to prepare and she doesn’t want to change.)

                      Most people know that eating sugar is bad, but we do it anyway. This has absolutely nothing to do with, “…faulty science and dietary guidelines based on it.”

                      The examples go on. Bottom line: What many people eat often has little to do with our understanding of the science, whether that science is accurate or not.

                      ————————————
                      re: “…depended on observations of the effects of various foods on over all health and well being.”

                      This would only apply to immediate effects, like: Ooops, ate that berry and got a tummy ache. In that case, I agree that observation plays a big role.

                      Your theory does not apply, however, to diseases that appear after decades. How would a traditional society prior to scientific exposure relate a heart attack at 40 years old to 40 years of bad diet? They wouldn’t be able to. If everyone around them were dieing of the same general issues at the same time – after raising families – then a pre-modern society would have no reason to ever suspect diet. The diseases would just look like the natural process of aging or “bad blood”.

                      This is much like heart attacks look to Americans in the recent past. For decades we had thought that getting heart disease was a natural part of aging. I remember being taught that in school. So, no wonder so many Americans eat their traditional diets (even knowing now that it isn’t so good for them).

                      Note: I don’t believe that tradition is the only explanation. It’s just one of many good ones. Other people have posted other reasons. I can’t remember if it was on the list or not, but dairy (and meat too I think) are believed to have addictive effects. So, there’s another reason for you on why a traditional society would eat foods that are bad for them.




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                    13. First of all, thanks for the compliment. I do not see any reason to be nasty. It doesn’t further the discussion in any way. When I said people in America and the west eat this way because of faulty guidelines, I was not talking about the people like your co worker who eat a lot of fast food. that is, of course, not good, but the USDA guidelines do not tell people to eat at McDonalds. It tells them to eat a low fat grain based diet and many people have done that. We’ve lowered our consumption of fat, particularly sat fat and increased our grain consumption. We’ve also increased our consumption of low fat high sugar and starch, high veg oil and trans fat processed foods that industry has only been too happy to supply us with based on our desire to follow the misguided USDA guidelines. And look where that has gotten us–fatter and sicker than ever before. I will most happily concede that a whole foods plant based diet is far better than a diet of McDonalds and/or processed foods. I submit, however that it isn’t the only diet that is healthier. As I already said, I believe any diet based on whole, minimally processed foods is healthy, whether or not it includes meat–at least healthier than the diet currently followed by the majority of Americans.




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                    14. I would also point out that diseases that take decades to develop are a relatively new phenomenon. Primitive cultures that eat a traditional diet are comparatively free of them, so do not have to make a connection. Heart disease, for example, was quite rare until recently and is most common in countries and people where the traditional diet has been abandoned in favor of modern processed foods high in sugar, refined industrial oils and refined grains.




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                    15. I’ll concede that many factors were probably involved in the development of various traditional diets–probably all the ones you’ve mentioned. However, I submit that to say that the health and well being of the people had nothing to do with it kind flies in the face of logic, no? Just as we are beginning to figure out after only a generation or two that the current diet of fast food, processed food, highly refined vegetable oils and trans fats is detrimental to our health (so that many are returning to a diet of real foods prepared in more traditional ways). Again, I highly recommend the book: “Deep Nutrition: why your genes need traditional foods” to understand that there are common threads among many traditional diets and how these foods are linked to robust health.




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                    16. re: “But if their diet were unhealthy, why would they continue to follow it generation after generation?”

                      There are many answers. I believe that that the three most prevalent reasons are:

                      1- taste addiction;
                      2- fear of change; and,
                      3. social conformity (i.e. the “tomato effect”).

                      Some other reasons are:

                      4. faith in the supernatural;
                      5. the propensity to take risks;
                      6. optimism when making wagers;
                      7. apathy, and
                      8. denial.




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                    17. @BPCveg, @Thea listed another reason why folks continue to do what they have always been doing elsewhere on this discussion board. Similar to you #3, @Thea mentioned “tradition” as another factor that prevents people from changing their habits.

                      So: 9. Tradition

                      I’d also like to add a #10: Cultural identity

                      Social conformity, tradition, and cultural identity are perhaps a variation on the same theme, still I think they are different enough to deserve there own bullet point here.

                      Food defines who we are in more ways than one; it’s not just our taste buds that are at play, psychology and sociology are powerful forces that sway our decision making as well.




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                    18. @WholeFoodChomper:disqus , thanks for adding some very good points to our list. I agree that cultural identity is actually quite different from social conformity and deserves its own point.




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                    19. @WholeFoodChomper, I have combined our ideas to create a second draft of our list of why people resist dietary change:

                      Personal factors, including:
                      – taste addictions
                      – fear of change
                      – apathy
                      – the propensity to take risks
                      – optimism when making wagers
                      – lack of time

                      Belief systems, including:
                      – denial of relationship between diet and health
                      – faith in the supernatural

                      Social factors, including:
                      – social conformity (i.e. the “tomato effect”)
                      – tradition
                      – cultural identity

                      Have I missed/misclassified anything?




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                    20. BPCveg, looks great to me!

                      I think “motivation” could be listed under “personal factors,” as well.

                      I’ll “chomp” some more on the topic for a bit to see if anything else that we can add to the list comes to mind.

                      Nicely done.




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                    21. Again, I ask, why would a traditional diet that was less than optimal evolve in the first place? Cultural identity doesn’t precede the evolution of a traditional diet, it probably evolves side by side with it. I simply cannot accept that a culture would stick with an element of diet that showed itself to be unhealthy within a few generations. Traditional diets evolved over the course of thousands of years, shaped by many factors, including food availability, There’s actually a very good book about traditional diets the world over: “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Foods” by Cate Shanahan, M.D.




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                    22. “Again, I ask, why would a traditional diet that was less than optimal evolve in the first place?”

                      Hi Margaret,
                      from what i have read (mainly Dawkins books), evolution doesn’t work that way. Evolution doesn’t care about “optimal”. It only cares about “good enough”, i.e. living long enough to have kids and protect them until they’re old enough to protect themselves. In my view, if a certain dietary practice has longevity in a healthy group of people, then we can form a hypothesis and run the tests, rather than just conclude that it is healthy BECAUSE of the longevity. In other words, it should be the beginning of a conversation rather than the end of one.

                      I’d like to know your opinion.

                      Cheers,
                      Shane.




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                    23. You are right about evolution of species (I read a lot of Dawkins as well:)) for sure. But I am talking about the evolution of traditional diets, not people. It’s more and more apparent that diet can affect the epigenomes of individuals and (I’m speculating), but if a diet or component thereof conferred poor health, the effects would tend to show up earlier and earlier in succeeding generations and would, I would think, be abandoned sooner rather than later. Just for example the prohibition against pork in some cultures. I suspect it has it’s roots in th fact that eating less than completely cooked Pork could have had some nasty consequences. There are, indeed, multiple factors influencing the evolution of traditional diets–religion certainly plays it’s part–but I can’t help but think that a truly unhealthy diet would not last in any culture. I’m not saying every traditional diet confers optimal health, just that if any dietary practices that showed themselves to be unhealthy would be abandoned and not perpetuated generation after generation. IMHO that’s why more and more people are ditching the low fat paradigm that our government has convinced us to eat–to our detriment–and with it processed foods that are clearly not good for us, reverting back to more traditional real foods.




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                    24. Ok Margaret, now you’re stretching, I’m sorry to say.
                      You make some valid points when it comes to chemistry or genomics or biochem, but you clearly aren’t understanding the gravity of the anthropology that Guest brings up and the evolutionary short cuts that Shane mentions here. There are island cultures that could and would benefit from fish as a food source – but they won’t eat it. Fish-shaped effigies all facing north suggest a sort of holy reverence towards fish in these cultures. There are cultures that show wealth through overabundance, including food. In these cultures, traditional unhealthy food practices are sustained in order to show and retain their social capital. Furthermore there are cultures in which asceticism was the defining factor of wealth, and thus social capital. In these cultures, the unhealthy practice of malnutrition was valued and upheld traditionally.
                      People do not typically care about what is “best” (hunter-gatherer men would probably save most of the meat for their pregnant wives if this was the case – but they don’t. They eat a lot of it on the walk back to the village.) People care about what they care about.
                      Evolution doesn’t care about what is optimal. Evolution distills out what is optimal, anatomically, for us. Evolution does only care about what’s “good enough” when it comes to outer resources.

                      Anthropology is my bread and butter, and I just had to stop you right there before you made a lot more, although systematically rational, ultimately flawed claims.




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                    25. I did say I was speculating. I also said truly unhealthy practices would be weeded out, not every somewhat unhealthy practice. I can understand that a traditional diet may or may not be optimal. It depends on availability of food as well as many other purely cultural aspects, as you point out. Not every population on earth is known for its longevity. But in the end, there has to be health robust enough to promote reproduction enough for the group (and their diet) not to disappear. That has to be at least a factor in the development of traditional diets. Anthropology may be your bread and butter, but Biology is mine. Natural fats and oils have been part of healthy traditional diets throughout our history. The saying goes, it doesn’t make sense to blame something that’s been part of our diet for millenia for relatively new chronic diseases. And there are certain elements that are common to those traditional diets that are truly healthy (as evidenced by the health and longevity of the population) and natural fats and animal foods are among them.




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                    26. II seriously doubt ill health as a population over repeated generations would be overridden by taste addictions, fear of change, social conformity, or any of the other reasons you have listed. Traditional diets evolve and no doubt elements of the diet that compromised health would be ultimately, for the most part, weeded out. Faith in supernatural is generally used to explain observations, not the other way around.




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                    27. The ill health that we are referring to is insidious. For this reason, I believe that historically most people did not make the connection between diet and health. People are waking up now.
                      There are two senses to the word evolution that should not be confused. One sense refers to patterns of behavioural change. The other sense refers to genetic evolution. When you speak of weeded out and I feel that you may be mixing the two senses of the word. For natural selection to operate, there has to be a significant reproductive advantage. Effects of diet are insidious and typically operate on a much longer time scale than needed to hinder a person’s chances of passing on their genes.
                      By listing “faith in the supernatural”, I meant that I think that people who strongly believe that there is a supernatural force that entirely controls their destiny would probably not believe that they themselves could control when they die by changing their eating patterns. I’m sure you have come across people who argue it is all decided by the guy upstairs.




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                    28. I am aware of the distinction and I wasn’t talking about genetic evolution. I know exactly how that works. It’s kind of my field. I am talking about the evolution of the myriad traditional diets that exist worldwide. People who stick to the traditional diets of their culture are by and large free of chronic “western” diseases, no matter what their diet. That’s why scientists love to study them to find out what it is in tradtional diets that keeps them free of the diseases that plague us. I’m not a sociologist or anthropologist, so I don’t pretend to understand all the factors involved in the evolution of any traditional diet and I do understand that it’s not just about health. But I find it difficult to believe that, somehow, knowledge of the effect of different foods on health and well being didn’t play some part–as did food availability, religious beliefs, and others. The fact is they did evolve and they are, for the most part healthy.




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                    29. it is possible that the inuit caught and fermented sea birds in seal blubber for the tantalizing[!] scent and flavor, or that the swiss pulled the livers from cod and fermented them in a barrel to later squeeze out the oil for the same, but prolly not. most of these cultures had medicine men and healers who were knowledgable about the impact of herbs, etc. these people believed in a higher power and appear to have known how diet impacted health.




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                    30. I’m aware of the discovery of signs of heart disease in one or more mummies. However, the diet of said mummies probably (based on study of ancient Egyptian culture) included processed grains and honey, so pretty difficult to say that it was the meat or sat fat in his/their diet. Heart disease–or at least death from it worldwide was pretty rare until the advent of highly processed vegetable oils, refined sugar, and refined flour in our diets. Likewise, other “diseases of modern civilization.” Butter and other natural saturated fats have been consumed since long before heart disease was on anyone’s radar. And they still are in many healthy cultures.




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                    31. And archaeology has shown (by human remains) that farmers were malnourished compared to hunter-gatherers.




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                    32. What? No one besides WAPF do bone broth? Bone broth is a component of many healthy traditional cuisines! Not especially a fan of WAPF. Huge fan of bone broth.




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            1. You have already taken up a lot of space on this discussion board trying to make your points. So, I hardly think anyone would mind if you listed “all the nutrients found in natural fats”. In fact, you have our interest piqued and we are eager to see the evidence, so please do share.

              B/c despite what you may think about butter, it seems like the scientific nutrient analysis and data indicate there is not much there, there. See for yourself:

              http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fats-and-oils/508/2

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butter#Nutritional_information

              http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/131?qlookup=01145&max=25&man=&lfacet=&new=1




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          2. There’s also no evidence that consuming natural, minimally processed fats and oils like coconut oil, is harmful or “unhealthful”. I don’t consume fats and oils because of real or perceived benefits over and above the whole foods they are found in. I consume them because they make food taste good (a benefit) and there is no evidence of harm from doing so. You said “All oils in general should be viewed as unhealthful and diminish the quality of one’s diet.” I’m simply saying that is not correct. If you think it is, you need to provide evidence that it is. Coconut oil and other natural fats and oils do ” support healthy life” and are of “some benefit.” Not necessarily more or even equal benefit than the whole foods they are found in, but of some benefit.




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      2. 0_0 Now you’re starting to sound like the flat-earther.
        If cell membranes are made of lipids, our brain being one of the organs needing a large amount of such, how in the world is oil not necessary? (You didn’t say that in this comment, you said it in others.)
        It’s in the nuts, seeds, grains, plants, fish you eat because it is NECESSARY FOR LIFE.




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  14. Why does this article fail to mention that coconut fat is medium chain fatty acids that are used differently by our body and has many benifits? Or body needs fat for proper brain function and to protect our vital organs.




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    1. Jen: re: “Why does this article fail to mention that coconut fat is medium chain fatty acids…”

      Partly because coconut fat also contains long chains. You don’t just eat the medium chains. As the article *does* mention, you have to take the entire food into account. For example, you can’t say that coca cola is healthy because it has water in it.

      re: “…body needs fat for proper brain function and to protect our vital organs.”
      That is irrelevant. You can get all the fat your body/brain needs from whole plant foods. You don’t need to get any from oils – coconut or olive or whatever. So, the only reason to eat oils would be if they provided some special health benefit or are at least neutral. They are not even neutral.




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      1. Don’t need to, sure. But I’m not afraid of the long chain sat fat in CO so I will continue to consume it. Because I like the taste of things that are cooked in fat.




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  15. I am a Filipina and I’ve lived around coconuts my whole life. Bicol, a province here, has the lowest rate of heart disease and it is also the province with the highest consumption of coconut milk and oil. My grandparents who ate, used and slathered on coconut oil died healthy at ages 92 and 104. I myself, have higher HDL and I am taking 2 to 3 tablespoons of VCO each day. The late Dr. Conrado Dayrit, a former Secretary of Health, conducted a study in which was shown that coconut oil lowered the viral count of HIV patients. I respectfully ask for a review on your facts.




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    1. Exactly, @michwave. Thank you for your input. If you notice in one of my comments, I also brought up the fact that cultures like yours eat a lot of coconut (including the oil) and have low rates of heart disease.




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      1. True, Margaret. Coconut is all-natural too. It is naturally pest-resistant and does not need chemical fertilizers to grow. It is also non-GMO. Lipidologists know how good it is. Medical doctors lack in-depth education on nutrition.




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  16. There are a lot of things that are good and bad. There are studies in progress regarding coconut oils. If there are any ads out there that is stating CURE run from it. There are testimonies that claim a cure but it is false. Let the research speak for itself. Make sure you look at the benefits as well as the potential side effects. If coconut oil raise sarotoinin levels thenwhat milligram strength should we say enough is enough. To much coconut oils can cause mental impairment, confusions, and as in homeopathy calcium deposits on the nerves which causes Alzheimer’s. Take care and be in good health.




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    1. calcium deposits on the nerves and caues Alz? reference please? Alz is likely in part due to cell death and/or insulin resistance in the brain




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    2. “To much coconut oils can cause mental impairment, confusions, and as in
      homeopathy calcium deposits on the nerves which causes Alzheimer’s.” Seriously? Evidence, please.




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        1. I don’t have to provide evidence to prove a negative. It’s up to the people claiming sat fat is unhealthy to provide evidence to back up their claims, none the less, I have cited numerous studies in comments noting the lack of evidence as to the dangers of natural sat fat. Here I’m asking for evidence of a rather outlandish claim that too much coconut oil causes mental impairment, confusions, and causes Alzheimer’s. I guess all those people in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, not to mention Kerala in India, where coconut oil is a big part of the diet must be confused all the time and have a high incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease. Oh, wait…




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  17. I would be curious to see your references and where you are getting your information from. Show me the conclusive studies that show that saturated fats and cholesterol contribute to heart disease. Better yet, the conclusive studies that show that PUFA’s, by lowering your cholesterol, have reduced heart disease. If this were the case, then the incidence of heart disease should be going down (with all the increases in consumption of Canola Oil, margarines and Oilve Oil and the progressive decreases in consumption of lard and butter, and reduced red meat intake that have taken place over the past century). A recent meta-analysis revealed that the effects of saturated fats on heart disease was neutral, with no clear link. I am not interested in any references that tow the party line, and have manipulated numbers to reach a pre-conceived conclusion. I, as a physician myself, take issue with the use of a forum like this being used by a physician that claims to have some special knowledge, and chooses to spew misinformation. There will never be a randomly controlled trial on the uses of coconut oil (or any other nutrient, for that matter) for the treatment of Alzheimer’s or any other condition, because there is no money in it for the pharmaceutical industry to entice them to pay for such a study. You and I could probably agree on one thing, that our nutritional choices and lifestyles lead to the diseases that we then subsequently identify and treat (with drugs and toxins that are mostly ineffective anyway). As traditional physicians, we often create greater harm than good with our advice and treatment.

    As for the coconut oil and Alzheimer’s Disease… maybe it works in some way, maybe it doesn’t. Case reports will be anecdotal or in small individual trials, and it may show greater benefit in some than others. You can’t reverse decades of damage to the brain. It is not a curable condition. Any improvement in cognitive function would be gladly accepted by any family member of people with this horrific disorder. I don’t think Aricept can claim that it truly performs any better. Anyone look at the Side Effects of Aricept recently? The continuation of this anti-saturated fat campaign, and choosing to recommend that it should not be attempted for longer than a few days (as if that is some magic number for a neurodegenerative disorder) because of the risks associated with saturated fats is outrageous. Maybe you should rely less on your lack of nutritional training and focus more on history of disease (or lack thereof) and history of food consumption by native peoples throughout history rather than using a cross-section of a fast-food eating, sugar-intoxicated nation that is disease-ridden from modern day foods (HFCS, vegetable oils, synthetic hormones, artificial dyes and flavors, and genetically modified staple foods).

    This is your playground, and you have the right to misinform at will.




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    1. Dr. Gomes, I don’t know where you practice, but I would LOVE to be one of your patients! I agree with everything you said. If only there were more doctors like you!




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    2. Thank you, Dr. Gomes! Well said. He has a right to misinform, but you have done a great job of showing it for what it is. I hope his readers pay attention. What @Just Me said…




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    3. “I would be curious to see your references and where you are getting your information from”
      -You do realize that this website has hundreds of videos with thousands of sources?

      “I am not interested in any references that tow the party line”
      -Then what exactly are you requesting? Basically you don’t want any references he has that disagree with your opinion?

      ” I, as a physician myself, take issue with the use of a forum like this being used by a physician that claims to have some special knowledge, and chooses to spew misinformation”
      -You take issue with a doctor who uses a forum with the most comprehensive detailing of the latest peer-reviewed journal articles that basically promotes eating more vegetables?

      You claim to be a professional, and yet your tone is quite unprofessional, disrespectful, and your argument is full of antagonistic straw-man tactics. This is generally not the tone one uses to elicit genuine discussion.




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  18. If you allow a dissenting point of view, I found that since I have switched to coconut oil, ghee, and olive oil as my primary sources of fat (in that order) that my triglycerides are below 100, my HDL is above 75. I have lost weight and feel great. A recent heart scan showed no blockages. No, I am not a doctor so I can only speak from my personal experience and what I have observed. I also am not a believer in the pseudo science of the lipid hypothesis. Heart disease/attack happens all across the spectrum of cholesterol levels. Studies also show that people with ‘elevated’ cholesterol levels tend to live longer, considering all cause mortality rates. Naturally occurring fats will always be healthier than those produced in a laboratory. As to the the biggest risk factor for heart disease, hopefully your readers will consider this before buying off on your opinion as gospel. http://dietheartnews.com/2013/06/triglycerides-not-cholesterol-is-the-bona-fide-risk-factor-for-coronary-heart-disease/




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  19. Yes, coconut oil raises LDL. but it also raises HDL. And there are now known to be at least two types of LDL: large (pattern B?*) fluffy, which is not atherogenic and small (pattern A?*), which is. Guess which kind saturated fats in the diet like coconut oil raise–that’s right, the large non atherogenic kind. If coconut oil is something that raises risk of heart disease, how is it that cultures that have been eating it for a long time have low rates of heart disease–like the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, etc. Silly to blame an ancient food for a modern disease. Seriously.
    Perhaps coconut oil doesn’t reverse or prevent Alzheimer’s Disease–IDK, a lot of research needs to be done on that. However, science has done a lot of work with MCT and the treatment of another brain disorder, Epilepsy. Coconut oil is high in MCT (medium chain triglycerides.)
    Finally, Lauric acid, which coconut oil has a lot of, breaks down to Monolaurin, which science has shown to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity. Mother’s milk is also high in Lauric acid–higher even than coconut oil–and it is one of the things that helps nursing babies resist infection.




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      1. Straw man. The question posed isn’t “should we consume lots of coconut oil for health.?” The question posed is “is coconut oil bad for you?” It’s not, and my facts show that. Actually, neither is it unhealthy to consume alcohol in moderation.




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        1. Consuming alcohol in moderation may have benefits for someone who is unhealthy but for someone who is already healthful then consuming alcohol is only harmful, even in moderation. Also, you have not posted any facts, id like to see some studies.




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          1. Um, are the people in, say France, unhealthy? Italy? They consume alcohol as part of their traditional diets. Japanese, too. They also have low rates of heart disease despite a fairly high intake of sat fat, at least in France. There are plenty of studies extolling the heart healthy benefits of alchol in moderation, but I don’t really care whether or not you believe that. That’s not what this is about. So I’m not going to waste my time finding them again and linking them.




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            1. No they are not healthy. They are also dying of heart disease and cancer, our rates in the US are just higher because we eat more processed foods.




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              1. They have one of the lowest rates of heart disease in the western world. The Mediterranean diet, touted for it’s healthfulness and ability to prevent heart disease, relies heavily on olive oil.




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                1. This is false, if you looked through the European report which you supposedly looked thorough, France and Italy have one of the highest rates of coronary heart disease in europe.




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                  1. I did look through it and France has the lowest rate of death from heart disease in both men and women of all the European countries studied. Italy wasn’t as low as France, but it was lower than more than half the other countries. I don’t know where you are getting the idea that “France and Italy have one of the highest rates of coronary heart disease in Europe. That is patently false. Ever heard of the French paradox? That’s such common knowledge, it has a name. It’s stumped the lipid hypothesis proponents from the beginning. They eat a high sat fat diet yet have low rates of heart disease. Of course, there are no paradoxes in science, just hypotheses that are incorrect.




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                2. I finally found the information about saturated fat in the report, my apologies, it was there. It seems as though that those with the most saturated fat intake compared with other European countries also had the highest mortality as well as the highest rates of heart disease compared with the other countries. Therefore, I am not sure what the graph is citing.




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                  1. I’ve since deleted the 110 page download, but you are likely not looking at the same publication I was. The only info I found on sat fat consumption was as % of energy. Even so, unless the people in those countries highest in rate of death from heart disease (who also had the lowest percent of calories as sat fat) were eating an astronomically higher number of total calories than countries like France that had the highest % sat fat intake and the lowest rate of heart disease, there is no way mathematically for what you say to be true. Assuming overall calories to be not that different across countries (and I doubt they were) those who ate the highest highest % of calories as sat fat most likely also ate the most sat fat and, yet, had much lower rates of death from heart disease than countries consuming a lot less.




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                    1. Just to be clear, I only looked at deaths from heart disease, by the way, because it’s generally heart disease that sat fat is always linked to.




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  20. Not sure if my one post went through.

    There is nothing wrong with coconut oil, it’s not miracle food, but it is food and can be part of a healthy diet.

    It raises LDLa and HDL, this is a win…

    My dog even loves it.




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  21. Just because someone in the medical community, a doctor, doesn’t agree that anything natural works, and heals, and is perhaps better in many ways than traditional medicine, doesn’t mean it isn’t true. I mean what do they even study, in the way of herbal medicine, supplementation, vitamins and minerals, eating healthy, exercising, during their stint in medical school? Oh, that’s right, NOTHING!




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  22. Never trust a doctor that puts a link to the McGovern report on his site. He obviously doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about if he needs to quote anything a politician says.




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  23. Plenty of studies showing health benefits of coconut oil. I’d be interested in your take on these studies, Dr. Greger.

    http://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil/

    Just because something contains saturated fat, that doesn’t automatically make it harmful. Saturated fats primarily raise Large LDL particles, which are not atherogenic.

    In this study here, coconut oil raised HDL cholesterol and improved the LDL:HDL ratio, while also reducing waist circumference:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19437058

    “It appears that dietetic supplementation with coconut oil does not cause dyslipidemia and seems to promote a reduction in abdominal obesity.”

    Overall, there’s no proof that coconut oil or other saturated fat cause harm.




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    1. Did you even read the study you posted or did you just copy and paste this from an appealing author?

      Your study shows this:

      Forty obese women cut their food intake by 200 calories a day and exercised four days a week. Half of them used two tablespoons of coconut oil (about 240 calories’ worth) every day in their cooking and the other half used soybean oil.

      After three months, both groups had lost the same amount of weight, about two pounds. To me this is not at all significant, and it could very well be attributed to the loss of calories as well as the exercise, not the oil.

      I have seen this study as well as others which are similar in value promoted as evidence for the use of coconut oil when it is not, this tells us nothing.




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      1. But according to the study, it does not cause dyslipidemia, so it supports the statement that it isn’t bad for us, at least.




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      1. How about all the cultures that eat a high sat fat diet and don’t have a high rate of heart disease? That’s evidence enough for me. It’s not the sat fat. It’s the vegetable and seed oils, combined with sugar and refined starch.




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        1. This study shows the saturated fat is not healthful. It pretty much says what I have been saying, in that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat is better. The carbohydrate source compared with saturated fat is non specific, and can related to free sugars and processed grains.

          “Based on consistent evidence from human studies, replacing SFA with
          polyunsaturated fat modestly lowers coronary heart disease risk, with
          ~10% risk reduction for a 5% energy substitution”




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          1. “Public health emphasis on reducing SFA consumption without considering the replacement nutrient or, more importantly, the many other food-based risk factors for cardiometabolic disease is unlikely to produce substantial intended benefits.”

            You only read the part you thought would support your stance and ignored the rest, didn’t you? A MODEST reduction in risk is not a significant reduction in risk. And considering most risk percentages are stated in relative risk, I’d say that the ACTUAL risk reduction is miniscule.

            It’s time to stop demonizing saturated fat and look for other factors… because clearly if it’s only a 10% reduction, then there are other factors involved.




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            1. I already discussed this earlier, it was never ignored. One of the few reasons the meta-analyses was not portrayed accurately is that when comparing saturated fat with another source, the other source was usually highly processed or contained trans fat. Read the studies I post.




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          1. You saw the word “blog” and immediately ignored anything presented there, didn’t you? You demand that I have an open mind reading your links (most of which I have already read)… yet you completely dismiss this out of hand? How utterly open-minded of you.

            Besides, is this not a “blog”? That is essentially what this page is, and yet you gobble it up as if it were gospel.




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            1. Of course I did, because blogs are the opinions of someone else regardless of what they are saying. I have no interest in reading the fluff, I want the hard studies.




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        1. A book written by an author who can easily misconstrue scientific data is a second hand resource and does not count as evidence. I am not planning on reading any books on this subject. Studies are required




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                1. You represent what is currently a major problem, in that people blindly trust author’s of books and articles without self checking the facts from actual studies themselves. I urge you to raise your standard of evidence.




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                  1. You can feel free to refute all of his references if you want, as they are actual studies themselves. I was just trying to make it easier on you.




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          1. I could barely get through this article. A whole “article” on coconut oil and no mention on the anti-microbial effects of lauric acid. Not to mention he’s still stuck in the cholesterol count dogma. LDL-C as a risk factor? What is this the stone age?




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        2. I have carefully studied Gary Taubes’ magnum opus titled “Good calories, Bad calories”. It is a deeply flawed book for the following reasons:

          1- Taubes’ starts off as an arm chair critic poking holes into nearly every human trial that attempted to link cholesterol and saturated fat intake to heart disease. While he does an effective job in pointing out limitations of these studies, he totally misses the point. These human studies grew out of highly controlled trails performed on rabbits (followed by various other herbivores) that clearly showed the precise mechanism by which cholesterol intake leads to plaque formation. It was even shown that carnivores with suppressed thyroid function develop plaques in the same way as herbivores. The goal of the human studies (which are too expensive to conduct thoroughly) was simply to provide an argument for showing correspondence with the animal studies. Taubes persuades his readers by glossing over all that foundational animal research!

          2- after shooting down the cholesterol argument, Taubes then persuasively argues that refined carbohydrate intake can lead to insulin resistance. So far so good. But then, he astonishingly (and with almost no good data to support him) speculates that ALL carbohydrates are the cause of the main diseases of affluence. He uses this belief as a launching pad to argue in favour of the Atkins diet. Taubes’ like Pollan is a writer and not a scientist. The basic problem with Taubes is that he doesn’t apply the same standard of criticism to his own point of view as he does to the mainstream perspective on nutrition. He is guilty of oversimplying a complex subject and of using sophistry to persuade others to buy his books.




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          1. I agree with your points. He completely oversimplifies insulin and carbohydrates in general. My point was only to show that saturated fat intake in HUMANS is not bad. Which you admit he has successfully done, unless you mean something else by, “While he does an effective job in pointing out limitations of these studies…”

            Though other animals may generally be good test subjects for finding out human data, it didn’t work in this case, which is illustrated by the failure of the human data.

            Again, we’re only talking Saturated Fat here, I’m not backing the insulin hypothesis.




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            1. True- you read me correctly that I am skeptical about claims that saturated fat is harmful to humans. I am actually undecided on the subject and feel that we need to understand the mechanisms better in humans before taking sides.
              Just to be clear on my overall position, I am still a supporter of a whole-foods plant-based diet for three main reasons:
              1- nutrient density is far higher in plant than animal foods;
              2- toxin density is far lower in plant than animal foods;
              3- all required nutrients can be obtained from plants (with the exceptions of vit. B12 and D that can be safely obtained through supplementation).




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              1. That is a much more realistic position, however I have never heard of #2 being the case. What toxins are you referring to?

                As for #1, I would have to disagree in a sense for two reasons. 1)Organ meats are higher in nutrient density than plants unless you count dried herbs and spices. With muscle meats, I would agree. 2)The bioavailability of animal nutrients is much higher than in plants, especially plants consumed raw. So while there may be more nutrient matter in the plants, less of it is being used by your body.




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                1. By toxins, I am referring to industrial toxins (e.g. PCBs) that bio-accumulate in organisms that are higher up on the food chain.
                  As for nutrient density, we should move beyond considering only nutrients listed on food packages and look at the vast array of antioxidants that are health-promoting. These antioxidants are on average 50-100 times more concentrated in plant products than animal products.
                  Bioavailability seems to depend on multiple factors, though in some cases (e.g. iron) you may be correct.
                  My argument #1 assumes that it is better to get too many nutrients than too few…this is based mostly on the fact that the normally functioning human body likely flushes out excesses better than it deals with deficits.




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                  1. I’m thinking animals raised on pastures in a manner consistent with their evolutionary origins will have less toxic build up and more nutrients. But that’s just me.




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                    1. Biomagnification can’t magnify something that’s not there. Cattle that spend their lives roving protected grasslands are not likely to accumulate toxins as there is no reason for toxins to be there. PCBs are found in fish and sea food–mostly farmed ones, no? Just saying…




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                    2. You make a pretty interesting argument! Certainly it is a possibility that cattle eating off of protected organic grasslands might have lower toxin concentration that ordinary cattle, though I haven’t seen any numbers to support it.
                      Dr. Greger has presented data comparing PCBs in different types of meat with plant products:
                      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/food-sources-of-pcb-chemical-pollutants/
                      I guess your argument hinges on the diet of the cattle being free of contamination. If the protected grassland was a truly isolated system, then that would probably be the case, but in practice we know that no biological system on earth is perfectly isolated (even rain transmits pollution to plants).




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                    3. The leading source of dioxins in the environment is the burning of plastics. Burning in back yard barrels is the leading source. So without testing the products directly you don’t know what you consuming. It is true that dioxins are slowly decreasing in our environment but flame retardants are increasing. Of course even without man made chemicals in meat meat contains many harmful ingredients. Other considerations are the environmental impacts of raising and bringing meat products to market plus the risk of food borne illnesses. For me it gets down to risk reward. An article in our local Coop pointed to a website that showed which fish had low mercury. I certainly would rather eat low mercury fish then fish with higher mercury but those aren’t my only choices. I know that mercury is cleared by my body but why expose it to a neurotoxin when it can be avoided. Likewise I could also recommend that pregnant women restrict their weekly tuna intake as recommended but why eat any tuna at all when you are pregnant. I appreciated VegatHeart’s comments but would mention that Vitamin D is best derived from sun light and not supplementation. Isolated nutrients especially fat soluble ones have been demonstrated to be correlated to increased morbidity/mortality ( see videos on Vit E/Vitamins).




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                    4. regarding mercury, the current data shows that the fish highest in mercury are also highest in selenium, which binds mercury and prevents it from being assimilated by the body. previous studies didn’t look at the mercury levels of fish eaters, only the levels found in the fish itself. turns out that we dont absorb the mercury we eat with fish.




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                    5. Regarding the environmental impacts of raising and bringing meat products to the market, how detrimental it is depends very much on how the animals are raised. I am no proponent of industrial farming that wastes fossil fuels, fills the animal with antibiotics and other toxins, and causes intense cruelty to the animals, including feeding them with food they are not evolutionarily designed to eat. However, if you google Joel Salatin, Allan Savary, and Africa Holistic Project or AfricaHolistic Center, you will learn that there are ways to raise animals for food that has a positive impact on the environment–and on the food supply.




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              2. the mere fact that we must consume so much plant food as vegans is evidence that they are not more nutrient dense than animal foods. they dont even come close. if youre trying to lose weight, we vegans are the first to point out that the extra bulk of a pb diet will make you feel fuller, but bulk isnt nutritious, thats why its called bulk.




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                1. Weight change is not a valid indicator of total nutrient density consumed since it only reflects macromolecules that contribute calories to the diet (i.e. energy coming from carbohydrates, fat, protein and alcohol). Total nutrient density refers to all compounds that are beneficial to health including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.




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                  1. nutrient density is determined by looking at the ratios of essential nutrients to the energy contained in a food. you can see the breakdown done by Harvard PhD’s Matt Lalonde using the USDA’s nutrient content information. meat is more nutrient dense.




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                    1. In terms of phytonutrients which meat has none of, it does not hold a finger in comparison with plant foods. That is why fortified breakfast cereal containing all of the vitamins and minerals is still not a health food, yet it can be considered nutrient dense.




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                    2. nobody considers breakfast cereal nutrient dense.

                      animals foods do contain phytonutrients. in 2008 a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry analyzed 115 animal foods and every single one contained phytonutrients. that makes sense when you consider that the animals are eating plants. tho that isnt really the point.

                      we call certain nutrients ‘essential’ because we need them. there is no established requirement for the group of nutrients you are referencing. i believe that many are quite good for us, and many are toxic or at the very least, anti-nutritious. but you cant insist on rigorous science and then use something so nebulous as your yard stick. animal foods are the most essentially nutrient-dense food source whether we like it or not.




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                    3. This argument is weak, as we both know that the animals get these antioxidants from the plants they eat.

                      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/antioxidant-power-of-plant-foods-versus-animal-foods/

                      No we have no dietary requirement for antioxidants but does that not mean they are essential for longevity? I would disagree that they are not. Phytonutrients have many known roles in preventing chronic disease. You can read about many of the functional roles that antioxidants and phytonutrients play in one of your favorite foods, whole grains.

                      http://www.healthgrain.org/webfm_send/251




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                    4. Are we talking about phytonutrients or anti oxidants? many animal foods have excellent anti-oxidants components all on their own.

                      where the nutrients originate is moot. plants get their water and minerals from the earth. but plant foods are praised for both so we are able to see that there is value in the middle man.

                      animals foods contain phytonutrients too. but like i said, that isnt the point. a few weeks ago you chucked an argument over animal based omega 3 saying,

                      ‘The National Academy of Sciences does not recognize EPA and DHA as essential.’

                      now either essential matters or it doesnt, dude. i cant be the only vegan in this community that is able to see how your definition of valid seems to change depending on the point you are trying to prove.

                      im not interested in a hypothesis opinion piece on grains from a publication without peer-review. the author is a french agro-food industry engineer [http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Anthony_Fardet2/] and he has significant financial interests in selling grain. its stinks that you dont produce any peer reviewed whole food data. every bit of junky or irrelevant science gives fresh intelligent eyes another opportunity to see the wfpb as a bunch of voodoo.

                      you keep getting patted on the back by your fans, but i think you make us look bad. there is a lot to love about pb diets, if we’d stop making sh*t up about them people might actually trust us.




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                    5. Your misunderstanding several of the points.

                      1. Animal foods contain significantly less antioxidants then when compared with nearly every other plant food. Even grass fed beef is oxidative in part to its heme iron content so I don’t know why you are arguing this point.

                      2. The national Academy of science recognizes that one can get adequate DHA and EPA through ALA alone. There were no changes in what I said.

                      3. It would be best if you actually READ the study instead of finding ways to needlessly poke holes in every argument you come across. I know of no study showing the ill effects of whole grains.




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                    6. And I know of no study that shows that whole grains have any benefit over other, more nutrient dense plant foods or animal foods, for that matter. All the studies that show benefits of whole grains compare them to refined grains. That’s like comparing filtered cigarettes to unfiltered cigarettes and concluding filtered cigarettes are good for us.




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                    7. you are correct. every single study done that shows a benefit to eating whole grains, looks at replacing processed grain with it and not at how it compares to a grain-free diet.




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                    8. there are no misunderstandings.

                      1. you wrote that animal foods dont contain phytonutrients. they do. im not arguing for eating animal foods just pointing out the false statement and keeping it honest.

                      2. im not disputing what the NAS wrote at all. im pointing out that you dismissed DHA and EPA as non-essential but insist that plant foods are more nutrient dense even tho those specific nutrients are also non-essential. is that only important when it boosts your argument dude?

                      3. ive read all of the studies. but youll have to be more specific if there is one in particular youre referring to.

                      your claims dont hold water as it is, dude, so there is no need to poke holes. i dont know what whole grains have to do with this thread, but id prefer to stay on topic. if i missed how grains tie in i trust youll clear it up.




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                    9. “nobody considers breakfast cereal nutrient dense.”

                      I wish that were really true. I have been in so many forums where someone was talking about the nutritious bowl of steel cut oats or bran cereal they had for breakfast, but the only nutrient they can claim to be rich in is manganese; which can be found in richer concentrations in other far more nutritionally-dense foods (like pecans for example).

                      We have all fallen prey to the light cigarette argument at one time or another I think.




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                    10. im quite familiar with the ANDI rating system and tho i think there are a number of important phytonutrients, his scoring excludes the following extremely important and essential nutrients-

                      preformed vitamin A
                      vitamin D
                      vitamin B5 & 12
                      vitamin K1 & 2
                      biotin
                      taurine
                      iodide
                      sodium
                      chloride
                      potassium
                      sulfur
                      phosforus
                      copper
                      manganese
                      boron
                      molybdenum
                      chromium

                      all essential fatty acids
                      all essential amino acids

                      these are fuhrmans only criteria- pigments including carotenes, glucosinolates, fiber and something known as ORAC… times 2.

                      ask a biologist or a chemist why these compounds are important and they’ll tell you that there is no evidence that they are and that current science has no evidence of their role in any working mechanisms.

                      lalondes analysis is based on the essential nutrients found in foods as measured and reported by the USDA.

                      which of the above two analyses is scientifically sound, dude?




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                    11. Different metrics will lead to different interpretations. Instead of all of your needless obfuscation, you could have simply asked which metric I was referring to.




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                    12. my mistake mr. vegatheart, and my apologies. yesterday you wrote, ‘Science is not full of it. It is the most objective system we have for testing models.’ so i was under the impression that what science has determined is essential was the metric you were referring to. please forgive the misunderstanding and the needless obfuscation.




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                    13. I started watching Lalonde’s presentation (btw: neither a research faculty at Harvard nor does he have a PhD on nutrition; he is, in fact, a chemist) and I made it to 14:22 of the video before losing interest. His line or argument is as follows:

                      1. Several metrics (including ANDI, NRF9 and NUVAL) to describe nutrient density have been devised by plant-based advocates (who unlike him can be dismissed as biased) because they leave out various important nutrients from their calculation.

                      2. Therefore, Lalonde will do his own calculation and only leave out only the following unimportant nutrients from the USDA excel spreadsheet [see 14:22 of movie]:

                      sodium, fibre, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, cholesterol, fatty acids, lipid total, water, protein, ash, carbohydrates and sugar.

                      My reaction: Different metrics for nutrient density have been devised. Depending on what nutrients are included and what plant versus animal products are compared in final analysis, one will obviously arrive at a different final answer. I highly doubt that this video disproves my statement that “nutrient density is far higher in plant than animal foods”. All Lalonde has argued is that there are limitations in metrics like ANDI, NRF9 and NUVAL. Ironically, Lalonde’s own metric has essentially the same type of limitation.




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                    14. mr. vegatheart,

                      ‘btw: neither a research faculty at Harvard nor does he have a PhD on nutrition; he is, in fact, a chemist’

                      you seem to be challenging the dudes qualifications which is valid enuf i guess. he is on staff at Harvard where he both trains and teaches. both of his degrees including his Phd in organic chemistry come from harvard which makes him a ‘Harvard Phd’. Organic chemistry overlaps both medicinal chemistry and biochemistry. tho even if it didnt, as an organic and inorganic chemist he is certainly qualified to graph the nutrient content of specific foods. [the content was determined by scientists at the USDA.] dr. greger doesnt have a degree in nutrition or a degree from harvard. [mcdougall, campbell and fuhrman arent harvard graduates either] and you havent called them out for it. it isnt clear to me what offends you.

                      lalonde states that he used essential nutrients for the analysis. the analysis is titled “Sticking to the Essentials”. essentials are the nutrients that -science- has determined are necessary for life and that we cant make ourselves. we could debate the reasons why lalonde left out -un-essentials like fiber and lycopene but since theyre -un-essential, its sorta moot. the real head-scratcher is, why do the other ‘metrics’ leave out the essentials?

                      im proof, mr vegatheart, that you can love wfpb without believing its perfect or magical. i swear the universe wont implode if you admit that animal foods are superior in some areas. that doesnt mean you have to eat them, you can just let them be loved while they nourish someone elses, while you enjoy the diet you love. so true that vegatheart, there are different metrics being used here. the scientifically accepted, standard metric that includes the essential nutrients, and the rest. where the scientifically accepted, standard metric is concerned, animal foods are more nutrient dense than plant foods. i dont know what the foods are that are densest in -un-essential nutrients [and im really trying to understand why that should be important to me] but since i dont know and cant challenge it, ill give it to you.

                      he has a newer, more detailed and comprehensive analysis publishing soon. mayhaps we will revisit the subject then.




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          2. 1. There’s a good reason to gloss over studies done on animals that either don’t normally eat any cholesterol as part of their diets or b) have a pathology that normal humans don’t. I don’t see the problem there. And if you look at the rabbit studies closely, you realize that a) they used hydrogenated coconut oil, so that doesn’t correlate to a use of coconut oil in its natural state and b) even though the rabbits developed plaques, they didn’t have heart attacks.
            2. Like many of his detractors, you missed the part in GCBC where a) he clearly said he was proposing a hypothesis and suggested it be studied and provided tons of evidence to support it and b) no, he didn’t indict all carbohydrates, only sugar and refined flour.




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            1. If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend that you read “The Cholesterol Wars : The Skeptics versus the Preponderance of Evidence” by Daniel Steinberg.

              #1: In Chapter 2 of this book, Steinberg provides Table 2.1 listing species (and references to studies) for which atherosclerosis has been experimentally induced through dietary experimentations including: Baboon, Cat, Chicken, Chimpanzee, Dog, Goat, Guinea pig, Hamster, Monkey, Mouse, Parrot, Pig, Pigeon, Rabbit and Rat. Of course, the relevance of any one study to humans is debatable, but this is a consistent finding.

              #2: I didn’t miss the part where Taubes said he was proposing a hypothesis. I just followed the rest of his book where he argues as his points with the absence of doubt. The main problem is that he doesn’t apply the same standard of criticism to the studies that he cites as he does to those that scientists doing cholesterol research cite. This point was articulated clearly by Dean Ornish in his debate with Taubes:

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCgTlC8PE0Q




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              1. And studies in humans, like the famous Framingham study, have found, if anything, a negative association between cholesterol intake (and sat fat intake) and atherosclerosis. Associations need to be consistent and strong before one can even begin to conclude any kind of causative relationship. They are neither, when it comes to cholesterol (and sat fat) intake and atherosclerosis. And atherosclerosis is a common and normal consequence of aging, no matter what the diet. Whether it leads to a heart attack or not is an entirely different matter, dependent on many things, a key one of which seems to be chronic inflammation–and the size and number of LDL particles. Both the size and number of LDL particles have an inverse relationship to the amount of sat fat in the diet and a direct relationship to the level of triglycerides, which in turn have a direct relationship to the amount of sugar and starch in one’s diet. And, since saturated fatsand cholesterol are anti-inflammatory, why is it I should believe they cause heart attacks again? It defies logic.




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                1. It does not defy logic. It is the consensus opinion of millions of scientific experts and medical practitioners who, in many cases, have spent their entire careers immersed in this subject that intake of cholesterol and saturated fat are two of the major culprits in the progression of atherosclerosis. Just because YOU don’t understand their arguments, does NOT mean that it defies logic.




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                  1. most of those whove spent their entire carreers immersed in the subject also have a significant financial investment in their original conclusions. people are fallible and even the best scientists get caught up in making the results say what they want them to say.

                    forget about consensus and look at the data, and stop assuming that just because someone comes to a different conclusion than you do that they dont understand.

                    even amongst the experts there is little agreement. compare fallon to cordain- both embrace pastured animal food but are at complete odds over the remainder of the diet. or campbell, mcdougall and cousens. all vegan and all with very different ideas about what makes a person healthy. high carb, low fat- low carb, high fat. all raw, part raw, all cooked, etc.

                    where is the evidence that a whole food diet that is high in saturated fat and cholesterol causes disease? if there is as much of it as the ‘general consensus’ here claims there is, why cant anyone produce any of it?




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                    1. I haven’t assumed that just because she came to a different conclusion than me that she doesn’t understand. You have made a strawman argument out of my discussion with her.

                      I am simply challenging her notion that just because she pounds out a series of arguments that run counter to mainstream opinion, that the mainstream opinion “defies logic”. Healthy skepticism includes questioning authority. But it is an act of hubris to say that just because one doesn’t understand something that “it defies logic”!!




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                    2. dude, i think you just accused me of a strawman while building one of your own. it defies logic because the claims being made aren’t backed by the data. it isnt the claims she doesnt understand, its the ‘act of hubris’ it takes to claim a study shows something it doesnt. that it what defies logic.




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                    3. You and I are clearly not on the same wavelength at all. I also find it rude that you address me as “dude” on a regular basis.




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                    4. i dont mean for ‘dude’ to be insulting, its the ‘Universal Prounoun’. but since you asked so nicely, im cool with not using it. before you get set off on a series of insults in the future tho just try telling people something bothers you rather than expecting them to read your mind. i wont apologize for jumping into the debate tho. ive read in this very forum that this is what the point of a public forum is.

                      we are definitely not on the same page. but thats ok, we dont need to be. i like that there are other arguments presented here that offer evidence more solid than ‘the general consensus’. as i said, scientists are just people and they are swayed by many things including ideals, money and ego. im sure this doesnt apply to you, but to everyone else it definitely does.




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                    5. I have no problem with you having a different point of view then us, but I really think that you should consider changing your alias. To advertise the fact that you are vegan…oh, NOT just ANY vegan, but the “REAL” vegan and then to spend countless hours promoting meat eating on a website devoted to plant-based diets makes you sound like a BIG Loser.




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                    6. ‘you’ and ‘us’? mr. vegatheart, there is no you and us, there is only we and you seen hell bent on polarizing everyone. I am BIG, no doubt. [i work hard to be] but I can still tell the diff between honesty and promotion. if you think calling out a myth or a lie is the same as promoting its opposite, theres the root of your confusion. ill take being a loser over being a liar in a heartbeat.

                      my user id seems to be a real bug up your butt so maybe this will help. It isnt “real” world vegan, mr. vegatheart, its “real world” vegan. id love for you to join me in the real world where its ok to be honest about the pros and cons of our choices and where veganism is just one good choice among many. carrying on about my id makes you sound like a small whining child.




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                    7. I believe that you are misleading people by labeling yourself as vegan while attacking veganism in the most shrill manner possible. Your behaviour on this forum has been contemptible.




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                    8. ‘I believe that you are misleading people by labeling yourself as vegan while attacking veganism in the most shrill manner possible. Your behaviour on this forum has been contemptible.’ mr. vegatheart

                      like i said before, posting abusive comments and then deleting them is lame and far more worthy of our contempt than an inconvenient insistence on truth.

                      FFS get over your infatuation mr. vegatheart. i love veganism but it isnt divine. for the peeps its ideal for, it doesnt need the lies. its you who does it a disservice by believing it needs embellishment for people to investigate it. if the vegan side of the dialogue here was actually honest there wouldnt be so many errors to counter.

                      it is the lies that make veganism look bad. so if youre as concerned about dr. gregers message as you claim to be, ask your board mates to quit making sh*t up and no one will have the opp to point out that it was a lie.




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                    9. Hahaha…okay, I will work on getting over my infatuation and maybe (in a cooler state of mind) you can consider my request that you change your alias. Thank you. :)




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                    10. Okay, thanks for making it clear that you are not against veganism. I am pleased to hear that you are not trying to persuade people to eat animal products.




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                    11. I understand mainstream opinion very well, actually. There was a time when I agreed with it. However, it actually does defy logic because it blames substances that we as humans have been eating for most of our existence for some relatively recent health issues. It also does not explain (except with terms like “paradox” of which there are none in science) how cultures that consume a large portion of their diet as sat fat and cholesterol consistently have low rates of heart disease, while there are cultures that consume very little sat fat and cholesterol that have high rates. So logic demands that I be skeptical of mainstream opinion. Call it an act of hubris all you want, but don’t assume that I don’t understand something just because I call it into question using logic.




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                  2. sunshine and food are two of the major culprits in skin cancer. we should stop eating and going outside. or not?

                    they aren’t culprits, theyre factors. if we dont get in a car we wont be in a car accident, but we wont get anywhere quickly either. the bodys inflammatory response is the primary ‘culprit’ but the answer isnt something that suppresses the response, its something that eliminates the inflammation.

                    saturated fat and cholesterol do not cause inflammation. cholesterol rises when the body is inflamed. it is supposed to.




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                  3. Science is not decided by consensus opinion. It’s decided by evidence. Just because millions of scientific experts and medical practitioners have somehow, despite the lack of evidence, convinced themselves that cholesterol and sat fat are two of the major culprits in the progression of atherosclerosis (which doesn’t necessarily mean death by heart attack, by the way) doesn’t make it true. A lot of that “expert opinion” is based on faulty studies which lump trans fats in with sat fats, incorrectly define things like biscuits and donuts that contain other things besides sat fat in them–and more of those things–and further muddy the waters, drawing conclusions re causation from weak correlations, and much more. They are a minority, but there are scientific experts and medical professionals who are beginning to reveal the holes in the “evidence” that your millions have based their careers and opinions on, some of them cardiologists like Dr. Sylvan Weinberg, once president of The American College of Cardiology. While your assumption that I don’t understand their arguments (your millions) may or may not be true, I think it’s safe to say he does. And he, like I, disagrees.




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                    1. I am a scientist myself with a PhD in biophysics and with several publications over the last few years. I think science today is a lot more sensible than you and he make it sound.




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                    2. With all due respect, if it were, there would not be so many experts continuing to claim that sat fat and cholesterol in the diet cause heart disease and heart attacks. “Just because science doesn’t say what you want it to say, doesn’t mean it’s not true.” Exactly my point. I have no desire for science to say any particular thing. Science is what it is and says what it says. It does not say that cholesterol or sat fat in the diet cause heart disease. It does say that humans have been eating both since long before heart disease became the problem that it is now and has been for the last few decades–while consumption of sat fat and cholesterol consumption has been declining. Sorry, but it’s not about what either you, with your many qualifications and peer reviewed publications, or I with my M.S. in Biochemistry and no publications, wants. It’s about what the evidence says–or doesn’t say.




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                    3. Veg, your efforts are admirable, but there is really no point in debating this group of people. Any contrary evidence will simply be ignored by them. It is best to save yourself of the frustration and be content with the fact that any neutral party that would see this debate would find your points more sound and solid.




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                    4. Thanks, I really appreciate your positive feedback. The main worry that I have is that Dr. Greger’s very important health messages may be getting diluted by all the rhetoric in this discussion.




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                    5. Indeed, but there will always be people who vehemently disagree with his recommendations, and it is up to us to share what science we can without getting caught up in circular arguments or with people who have no interest in listening.

                      I enjoy these discussions as well because I learn more for myself. especially when people can listen and share. But when they get rude and have only the intention of butting heads, as we have seen with paleo huntress and real world vegan, it becomes pointless to continue debating.

                      The one discussion we had regarding iron toxicity and you sharing sound evidence of how improbable it would be was quite intriguing to me as I had open ears. On the other hand, this discussion is filed with people who do not want to listen, they just try to argue every small point that is made without providing evidence for the main discussion at hand.




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                    6. Yes, I agree with you that there is far more value in having quality discussions rather than just butting heads. I think I am going to retire from arguing about cholesterol. I will let my detractors have the last word.

                      By the way, as a serious rock climbing athlete who obviously has very high energy expenditure, you probably have come up with some creative ideas on how to meet your energy needs while eating healthy plant-based foods. I guess you must always keep trail mix, energy bars and smoothies close at hand? I am fairly active myself and would be very interested in getting some suggestions on good snack or small-meal ideas.




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                    7. Ah yes, I did have to craft how best to do this. I I have taken many multi day trips since going whole foods plant based and I believe I have devised the perfect diet for maximum performance. When I first changed my diet, I had little understanding of how best to maximize my energy while on trips. A trip I took 2 years ago I went to Rifle, Colorado and it was my first multi day trip being “vegan”. I pretty much ate nuts all day and bars with trail mix for breakfast and dinner. That was a big mistake I learned, I was terribly weak. I was falling all over the place on routes I should be able to get through more easily. I had little strength and endurance. I returned 2 months later with a completely new dietary plan for the trip. I had oatmeal for breakfast with raisins in it, my day food was pretty much fruits and a denser carbohydrate source for more caloric and nutrient density. I ate these bags of groats from the company Go Raw.
                      http://www.goraw.com/p/70/live-granola

                      They are very sweet and rich in nutrients. If I were to eat an entire bag it would provide 2,000 calories so the bag usually lasted me 3 days. For dinner I would get uncle bens boil in bag brown rice and I would rehydrate green peas in boiling water.

                      It was incredible how much energy and strength I retained during that trip and how much endurance I had on routes compared with 2 months earlier, as Rifle Mountain Park is over 7,000 feet above elevation which should hurt my endurance. So yes, fruits and those groats are my day food.

                      In terms of day to day training in gyms for a few hours, I will usually do raisins. If I am spending a single day climbing outdoors at my nearest crag, I do fruits, and I get the “orchard harvest” bread from my local whole foods bakery which has lots of dried fruit in it and is 100% whole wheat.




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                    8. No one has gotten rude. Clearly, your definition of rude is disagreement with you. I have seen no one attacking anything but the evidence you’ve presented. If that is being rude, then you clearly have no interest in any viewpoint but your own. So be it.




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                    9. I see paleo huntress down in there. Such venom in that person’s post. How can one NOT dislike that kind of attitude. Similarly to this website, when asked to provide studies, the proposal is avoided and he/she continues to attack. I have YET to see any real evidence from actual studies proving any of these paleo folk’s claims. Its philosophy more then anything.




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                    10. She – respecting her blogger id gender choice – did say she was an obese former vegan. An apostate may have a lot of vitriol for her former belief system, much like a religious convert has a lot of animosity toward her former faith lest her new congregation doubt her sincerity. (Consider Ahmadinedjad had jewish parents.) And there is a lot of cognitive dissonance to patch up with anger over having been previously ‘duped’. I would also suspect even some dishonesty in relaying after the fact compliance with a whole food or other aspects of her vegan phase. So there is no reasoning it out with a vegan apostate.




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                    11. mr lundeen,

                      paleo huntress’ last comment in this forum was almost 3 weeks ago and you have the stones to start bashing her again? you even go out to find something else to bash for and then take it a step further and amateur head-shrink her and accuse her of lying? you guys are pettier than i thought. i just put your id into google, and considering what comes up, you and jeffy are living in one giant a** glass house.

                      the two of you are two of the reasons most people find vegans so intolerable.




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                    12. those in favor of coconut oil have presented some great information. the claim being made by dr. greger et al is that coconut oil and saturated fats in general are unhealthy. he has failed to show that. those who believe it is NOT unhealthy have been pretty successful in providing evidence of that.

                      give people honest information and let them make up their own minds. use data that looks at whole food instead of fractions of it and from studies done with integrity. the only reason one would have to be afraid is if they thought their position was too weak to hold up to scrutiny.




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                    13. thats ok. imo, [and maybe a few others] you suffer from selective blindness, but i think thats to be expected. you obviously love your diet and loving something makes it tough to see it honestly. im cool with you not seeing it as long as it is here where others can see it.




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              2. I’m not even a low carber, but I thought Gary Taubes was the only person who made any sense in this discussion and was actually able to speak calmly.




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              3. Oh, I see this is a video. That didn’t show clearly. I’ll be listening to that, but I’ve heard him speak many times and he makes eminent sense.




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        1. When the anti sat fat people can explain to me why a food that the human species has been eating for most of its existence and which is the primary form in which animals, including humans, store excess energy within themselves, is suddenly responsible for a disease that has only been epidemic for the last 50 years or so, perhaps I’ll listen. Until then, I’m more inclined to blame the relatively recent entry into the diet of highly reactive PUFA in vegetable and seed oils. And they also need to explain how it is that cultures that traditionally eat a high sat fat diet don’t have high rates of heart disease–like the French. And they are only one of many examples. Open your eyes, @toxins. The true toxins are vegetable and seed oils




          0
          1. Some comments: Humans have never lived as long as they have in the 21st century so comparing the health of a paleolithic human who lived till the age of 30 is not something to idolize.

            Lets look at your study closer and go down this road.

            One major problem with this study is they did not look at any studies where the saturated fat intake was less than 7%, which is the level recommended by the American Heart Association. Most of the diets had saturated fat intakes in the range of 10-15% (or more).

            So, just like the studies that criticize “low fat” diets, but never analyze any diet that is truly low fat and based on the principles of low fat, high fiber, whole plant foods, this study criticizes the impact of lowering saturated fat, but never looked at any diet that
            truly lowered saturated fat to the level recommended.

            Another problem with the study is what the subjects replaced the saturated fat with when comparing the 2. For many, if not most, it was with either (or products containing) hydrogenated/trans fat, while flour, white sugar and/or mono fats.

            People who replaced saturated fat in their diet with polyunsaturated fat (omega 3/6) reduce their risk of coronary heart disease by 19 percent, compared with control groups of people who do not.

            http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1000252

            Side Note: Be cautious as replacing saturated fat with the polyunsaturated fat is not what is being advised. We should strive to not add any fat in the form of oil to our diet. The point was just to show that indeed saturated fat is worse than polyunsaturated fat. Eating high omega 6 foods though is not healthful, and we should really be eating more omega 3 “Advice to substitute polyunsaturated fats for saturated fats is a key component of worldwide dietary guidelines for coronary heart disease risk reduction. However, clinical benefits of the most abundant polyunsaturated fatty acid, omega 6 linoleic acid, have not been established. In this cohort, substituting dietary linoleic acid in place of saturated fats increased the rates of death from all causes,
            coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease. An updated meta-analysis of linoleic acid intervention trials showed no evidence of cardiovascular benefit. These findings could have important implications for worldwide dietary advice to substitute omega 6 linoleic acid, or polyunsaturated fats in general, for saturated fats.”

            http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.e8707

            Lastly, studies on all-cause mortality trumps findings for subsets such as CHD and CVD. Most all-cause studies demonstrate a direct relation between saturated fat intake and all-cause mortality and the lower the better.

            Here is a list of studies showing just this.

            “the results of this study support earlier observations that dietary intakes low in SF or high in FV [fruits and vegetables] each offer protection against CHD mortality. In addition, however, our data suggest that the combination of both high FV with relatively low SF intake offers greater protection against both total and CHD mortality than either practice alone.”

            http://jn.nutrition.org/content/135/3/556.long

            “The major finding of the present study is that the average population intake of saturated fat and vitamin C and the prevalence of smokers are major determinants of all-cause mortality rates. Saturated fat and smoking are detrimental, but vitamin C seems to be protective in relation to the health of populations…The potential effect of changes in saturated fat, vitamin C and the prevalence of smokers can be illustrated as follows. A change in saturated fat of 5% of energy is associated
            with a 4.7% change in age-adjusted all-cause mortality rate (Table 3).”

            http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/29/2/260.long

            “A high RRR pattern score, which was associated with high intake of fat and protein and low intake of carbohydrates, increased the risk of death. Subjects with a pattern score belonging to the highest quintile obtained on average 37·2 % of their energy from fat and 37·6 % from carbohydrates and thus did not meet current dietary recommendations (Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, 2002). Food groups that contributed to this unfavourable pattern of energy sources were red meat, poultry, processed meat, butter, sauces and eggs, whereas a high intake of bread and fruits decreased the pattern score.”

            http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FBJN%2FBJN93_05%2FS000711450500111Xa.pdf&code=6fbdbd311fb43ee23a840b894cced959

            From the National Academy of Science:

            “Saturated fatty acids are synthesized by the body to provide an adequate level needed for their physiological and structural functions; they have no known role in preventing chronic diseases. Therefore, neither an AI nor RDA is set for saturated fatty acids. There is a positive linear trend between total saturated fatty acid intake and total and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentration and increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). A UL is not set for saturated fatty acids because any incremental increase in saturated fatty acid intake increases CHD risk”

            http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10490&page=422




            0
            1. Ahh… the old “30 year lifespan” myth again. The reason the AVERAGE lifespan of paleolithic humans was low is because of high infant / juvenile mortality. There is no way we’d be where we are today if most of our ancestors died around age 30 or younger.




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                1. Because of our ability to better deal with infectious disease… not because we cut our saturated fat intake.

                  In fact, saturated fat consumption was steadily going down after the McGovern report… but the rates of heart disease kept going up. Perhaps saturated fat isn’t the demon you’re making it out to be?




                  0
                    1. Yes, clearly. We’ve been cutting saturated fat consumption, and chronic illness has been increasing, not decreasing. Logic alone dictates that all the studies you link to are obviously flawed and not worth the paper on which they’re written.

                      YOU are the one that is entrenched. Just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t make me less open minded. I have heard it all before. I cut my fat consumption in the mistaken belief it would improved my health. No more… and my health has improved… and not just my health, but the health of many that have embraced saturated fat as part of a natural, healthy diet.




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                    2. we really arent dying from chronic disease, modern medicine is keeping people very much alive, just as its keeping us from developing infectious disease. saturated fat intake is down significantly from the the first part of the last century. your arguments do not follow.




                      0
                    3. The top 10 causes of death in the united states do not agree with your assertions. Saturated fat is a contributing factor, not a primary cause of chronic disease. Processed foods, too much meats, poor omega 3:6 ratios, too much trans fat and too much saturated fat all contribute to chronic disease as well as being sedative.




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                    4. its like a sickness with you dude. the first link doesnt even mention saturated fat and the second is an opinion piece [that doesnt cite its sources either] which i already covered when you cited it in your SF rubber stamp.




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                  1. The conversation we are having is clearly losing value and it is obvious you do not have a clear understanding of the subject at hand and have no interest in hearing or looking into any argument against yours. This is a good stopping point, I will allow neutral visitors to decide which argument they feel is more persuasive and is based on more sound science.




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            2. i was poking around mcdougalls site just now and i came across a comment from someone i thought was you.

              http://www.drmcdougall.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=15506

              he wrote-

              ‘In addition, one major problem with this study is they did not look at any studies where the saturated fat intake was less than 7%, which is the level recommended by the AHA, let alone less than 5%, which is the level I recommend and the level one would achieve if following these recommendations. Most of the diets had saturated fat intakes in the range of 10-15% (or more).So, just like the studies that criticize “low fat” diets, but never analyze any diet that is truly low fat and based on the principles recommended here (very low fat, high fiber, whole plant foods), this study criticizes the impact of lowering saturated fat, but never looked at any diet that truly lowered saturated fat to the level recommended here and through the methods recommended here (very low fat, high fiber, whole plant foods).

              looks like your comment above right dude? so i came back here to check it and turns out that word for word, what you posted here [at the top] was authored by dr. jeff novick, not you. [unless youre jeff novick and youre quoting yourself as an expert here, and that would be creepy]. the writing styles dont match anyway so i doubt it, but you are taking credit for what he has written.

              you said that you write this stuff up and store it privately so you dont have to rewrite it, but it isnt even yours to begin with. huntress was right about you and it makes much more sense now that youve been trying to discredit her, shes the only one who noticed.

              wow dude. that is just really ugly.




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              1. I have quoted Jeff Novick before, as I start several of my posts “as shared by Jeff Novick”. I apologize you are offended that in this instance I did not state the source. Regardless of this, the facts have not changed and the message is the same.




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                1. the first time it was pointed out im sure it was an oversight on your part, no big. and the 2nd time was prolly a fluke too. the part of your post written -after- the 2nd link tho, the part that was edited and embellished by you, ‘Lastly, studies on all-cause mortality trumps findings for subsets such as CHD and CVD., and also a direct quote from Novick [all the other c&ps have quotes except these 2] could easily be misconstrued as a pattern. so im glad you cleared that up dude.

                  you should be more careful, we lose credibility when we lie, even if the lie is a mistake.




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        2. Margaret, it’s astounding how someone can completely ignore logic in the face of “scientific” evidence. If a scientist told you it was raining and produced a study to prove it while he was pissing on your leg, would you believe him?

          If saturated fat is bad for you, then please explain one thing:

          If saturated fat is harmful, why does the body store excess energy in the form of saturated fat, rather than any other form that you consider “healthy”?

          Please, don’t just post links to more studies telling us the evils of saturated fat. I want you to state in your own words why something that is completely natural and used as a fuel source by our bodies is suddenly considered harmful.




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            1. Yes, and those triglycerides are composed of mono-unsaturated and saturated fats. So anyone on a diet and losing weight is dumping sat fat into their blood stream. I never heard that going on a diet and losing weight is bad for the heart–have you?




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              1. Yes I have. those on ketogenic diets tend to lose water weight at first. Also, once that person does does begin to lose weight (from reduced calories and nothing more), it does not identify them as healthy. You can be slim and still get heart disease, cancer and other of the killers. You are ill informed on this subject and have not viewed any scientific data to back up your claims.




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                1. A. I didn’t specify that the people losing weight were doing so on a ketogenic diet. That is only one of many ways to lose weight. B. I’m not making claims. You are. It’s up to the person making the claim to back them up with evidence. C. How do you know what I’ve viewed or not viewed? D. You completely missed the point of what I was saying, so I’ll rephrase. When people lose fat on a diet, the adipose tissue dumps triglycerides into the blood, much of it saturated. I’ve never heard anyone admonished not to go on a diet and lose weight for fear the saturated fats that will, as a result, be circulating in the blood.




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          1. Hopefully you are not accusing me of ignoring logic in the face of “Scientific” evidence, Dion. I’m on your side. Just saying…




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            1. That part wasn’t directed at you… just stating that others here cherry pick statements from studies that agree with their stance while totally ignoring the overall conclusion of the study… IE: Toxins pouncing on one statement saying that reducing saturated fat had a modest (10%) positive effect on heart disease. Totally ignored the word “modest” and tried to use this statement to support his hypothesis. The study concluded that the minimal reduction in risk did not warrant reducing saturated fat intake… which he also totally ignored. I posted a meta-analysis of RCTs, not observational studies that most here seem to rely on.




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    1. A brain wash, indeed! Really it is quite disturbing.

      I suppose some folks have a hard time with facts, peer-reviewed research, empirical findings, and reproducible scientific data. True there is a lot of information out there, and to top it off, there is A LOT of bad science out there. Sadly, most people are not skilled at how to critically read and understand scientific papers. (And, that says a lot about the current state of the American educational system, but I digress.)

      Facts are facts. And, evidence is evidence. Informed scholarly debate is most certainly allowed on this site and folks are welcome to their own opinions, but not to their own facts.

      That said, it is clear that the balance of scientific evidence indicates that a plant-based diet is the way to go for all around health. I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty of it here, as this site does a fantastic job of it (so just keep watching and reading, folks) as have many of the educated and eloquent contributors to the commentary section (e.g. @DrDons, Toxins , and @Thea).

      Really, please just open your mind and keep watching and reading this site!




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      1. I don’t have a hard time with facts, peer reviewed research, empirical findings, and reproducible scientific data at all. There just isn’t any that says saturated fat causes heart disease. None. And I have an advanced degree in science, so I have no problem critically reading and understanding scientific papers. I have read many and i disagree that “the balance of scientific evidence indicates that a plant-based diet is the way to go for all around health.” It is certainly better than the standard American diet of processed foods and beverages loaded with sugar and starch, but so is any diet based on real food. Humans are very adaptable and can thrive on a huge variety of traditional diets (none of which is vegan, by the way) based on real food. Saturated fat from coconut (including the oil) is a big part of many of those traditional diets and is not bad for us at all.




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        1. “Intervention
          A ketogenic diet consisting of a high ratio of fat to carbohydrate and protein combined (4:1 [n = 102], 3.5:1 [n = 7], or 3:1 [n = 32]). After diet initiation, the calories and ratio were adjusted to maintain ideal body weight
          for height and maximal urinary ketosis for seizure control.”

          At 6 Months

          Cholesterol went up 58 points
          LDL went up 50 points
          VLDL went up 8 points
          non-HDL cholesterol went up 63 points
          Triglycerides went up 58 points
          apoB went up 49 points
          apoA-I increased 4 points
          HDL cholesterol decreased significantly

          http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=197131

          Furthermore, nearly ever study looking at saturated fat and heart disease shows a positive linear relationship. When a large number of studies point to this conclusion then we can make recommendations to reduce the risk.

          In addition, my responses above looking at all cause mortality examined saturated fat intake and its relationship with mortality and the studies all showed an increase in mortality rates when saturated fat was increased.

          If you can find some studies showing that saturated fat intake was associated with good health and low mortality then please share, but to my knowledge none exist.




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          1. Here’s one that shows that replacing sat fat with n-6 PUFA (net result is decrease in sat fat) leads to increased all cause mortality, including cardiac death. http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.e8707 “In this cohort, substituting dietary linoleic acid in place of
            saturated fats increased the rates of death from all causes, coronary
            heart disease, and cardiovascular disease.” The study you cited was in children and it used what are called soft end points. There’s no proof that the increases in the proxies measured actually lead to heart disease. Now I am not arguing that a diet high in both sat fat and carbohydrates is safe and will not lead to heart disease. My guess is that the studies you have looked at do not control for CHO. But Drs. Steven Phinney and Jeff Volek have done studies (multiple ones) showing that in the context of a low carbohydrate diet, saturated fat in the diet leads to improved lipid profiles all around. The A to Z diet study done at Stanford by Gardner et al showed that those who followed the Atkins diet had the greatest improvement in lipid profiles. My tenet, based on the studies I’ve seen, is that in the context of a normal diet of real food that is not high in sugar, especially, but refined CHO in general, saturated fat is not to be feared, as long as it is natural sat fat. Another thing to keep in mind–sat fat is often lumped together with trans fats in studies. Trans fats, of course, other than the natural ones occurring in small amounts in butter and other animal fats, are definitely bad news for the heart and health in general. Recent meta analyses already linked by others show no link between sat fat and heart disease. This comment is getting long. Will link more in next.




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            1. I already posted this above, this is not new information. Arachidonic acid from omega 6 is highly inflammatory. This is well established common nutrition knowledge.




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            1. Ketosis impairs cognitive ability. As reported in the International Journal of Obesity article “Cognitive Effects of Ketogenic
              Weight-Reducing Diets,” researchers randomized people to either a ketogenic or a nonketogenic weight loss diet. Although both groups lost the same amount of weight, those on the ketogenic diet suffered a
              significant drop in cognitive performance.After one week in ketosis, higher order mental processing and mental flexibility significantly worsened into what the researcher called a “modest neuropsychological impairment.”

              http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8589783

              A review over low carb diets revealed that “Complications such as heart arrhythmias, cardiac contractile function impairment, sudden death, osteoporosis, kidney damage, increased cancer risk, impairment of physical activity and lipid abnormalities can all be linked to long-term restriction of carbohydrates in the diet.”

              http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14672862

              Researchers from the university of Texas and Chicago published a
              study concluding that “Consumption of an LCHP [low carb high protein] diet for 6 weeks delivers a marked acid load to the kidney, increases the risk for stone formation, decreases estimated calcium balance, and may increase the risk for bone loss.” After just two weeks on this type of diet, the subjects were already losing 258mg of calcium in their urine every day.

              http://www.ajkd.org/article/S0272-6386%2802%2900039-2/abstract

              The studies showing the ill health effects of ketogenic diets goes on and on.

              What’s the number one recommendation of the American Institute for Cancer Research? Plant based diets. The number one recommendation of the World Cancer Research Fund? Plant-based diets. The number one recommendation of the National Cancer Institute, the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
              Nations? More fruits and vegetables. The number one recommendation of the American Cancer Society? More plants, less meat. In fact the American Cancer Society has officially condemned diets high in animal products.




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              1. After 1 week, I’m not surprised. If they had done the tests after a month, the results would have been quite different. It takes the body at least two weeks to adapt to using fat and ketones for energy so at the one week mark, the brain is struggling for energy with no glucose or ketones. However, once adapted, the brain functions superbly on ketones.




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                1. Our conversation, as with Dion Kerfont, ends here. You have not shared any reliable evidence with me and clearly do not understand the subject at hand. I will leave it to the neutral people who visit this site to see these comments and decide which argument is more sound and is based on REAL science.




                  0
                  1. I’m fine with that. There is no REAL science that says sat fat causes heart disease, correlation does not equal causation, and logic says we can’t blame something for causing a disease when people eating more of it die of the disease less often than those who eat less of it. If you don’t want to accept those facts, then I’d say you are the one who doesn’t understand the subject at hand and I imagine thinking people will have no problem discerning that.




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                  2. Toxins: I’m not a neutral party. But I wanted to let you know that I really appreciated this debate and am in awe of your skills. If I hadn’t already been convinced, I would be now. Thanks.




                    0
                    1. Real “troll-esque” on their part. Well, at least this last one, “Paleo Huntress” is anyhow. I don’t mind dissent, but I sure don’t like aggressiveness.

                      I’m not engaging her anymore. I refuse to interact with people who feel that they need to “yell” and belittle someone to make their point.




                      0
                    2. I agree with you on her behavior. She writes with too much sarcasm and with great arrogance, only to get a rise out of the responders. She is arguing meaningless points, such as verbage of the comments and how the diet affected her. I find it hard to believe that she gained 65 pounds eating to the degree and standard of whole foods plant based. I can only assume that she was doing it wrong, perhaps eating too much oil, or still consuming white breads and flours. We will never know what exactly her diet was, either way, I am sure that she was not eating healthfully.




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                    3. Interestingly, enough I learned the other day that the etymology of “sarcasm” literally has its origins in an Ancient Greek word that means “to strip off the flesh.” Seems apt in the case of the so-called discussion taking place over you know where.

                      Didn’t Dr. G have a video about how PBD make people kinder, less irritable, and/or moody. She could use a whole lot of that.

                      You did a great job over there as usual. I’m not as good with all the science talk and referencing. But I do know, that what I have read and heard about the topic has not swayed me from a primarily PBD.

                      It does make me wonder why the low-carb/Paleo folks get so angry when making their points, though. This is not the first time where I have seen such exchanges become so disrespectful.

                      Is it all that meat and oil?




                      0
                    4. I have finished dealing with this paleo huntress. Her responses are so derogatory and immature its hard to keep as professional as possible. I gave my last response to her, she has not presented any new or transforming evidence that changes the conversation or adds to it and resorts to name calling and “wittyness” as the base of her argument.




                      0
                    5. In Canada, people like this are known as “shit disturbers”. They don’t care about the issues, they only get a kick out of pissing off people.




                      0
                    6. ‘shit disturber’, awesome term! people lay down bullsh*t and someone comes along to stir things up and make sure those reading it know it isnt settled at all. thats quite the compliment. i hope huntress sees it that way too. my sil is canadian, im gonna ask her what she knows of the term.




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                    7. Ooooooh, I like it! BS should never be left alone- it should be kicked up and disturbed at every opportunity.




                      0
                    8. I saw no evidence of @Paleo Huntress “yelling” or “Belittling” anyone in any of the postsI saw.




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                    9. thea,

                      why wouldnt you insist on the same rigor that toxins says he insist on? are you so easily swayed by arguments that support your ideals? the supporting evidence is the evidence we should look most closely at to be sure our biases arent clouding our judgment.

                      you and toxins are patting each other on the backs for what amounts to agreeing, but is that something to give kudos for? which part of toxins argument did you find the most persuasive? which study do you believe demonstrates the detriment of saturated fat in a whole food diet?




                      0
                    10. as i posted above….

                      People who replaced saturated fat in their diet with polyunsaturated fat (omega 3/6) reduce their risk of coronary heart disease by 19 percent, compared with control groups of people who do not.

                      http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1000252

                      Side Note: Be cautious as replacing saturated fat with the polyunsaturated fat is not what is being advised. We should strive to not add any fat in the form of oil to our diet. The point was just to show that indeed saturated fat is worse than polyunsaturated fat. Eating high omega 6 foods though is not healthful, and we should really be eating more omega 3 “Advice to substitute polyunsaturated fats for saturated fats is a key component of worldwide dietary guidelines for coronary heart disease risk reduction. However, clinical benefits of the most abundant polyunsaturated fatty acid, omega 6 linoleic acid, have not been established. In this cohort, substituting dietary linoleic acid in place of saturated fats increased the rates of death from all causes,
                      coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease. An updated meta-analysis of linoleic acid intervention trials showed no evidence of cardiovascular benefit. These findings could have important implications for worldwide dietary advice to substitute omega 6 linoleic acid, or polyunsaturated fats in general, for saturated fats.”

                      http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.e8707

                      Lastly, studies on all-cause mortality trumps findings for subsets such as CHD and CVD. Most all-cause studies demonstrate a direct relation between saturated fat intake and all-cause mortality and the lower the better.

                      Here is a list of studies showing just this.

                      “the results of this study support earlier observations that dietary intakes low in SF or high in FV [fruits and vegetables] each offer protection against CHD mortality. In addition, however, our data suggest that the combination of both high FV with relatively low SF intake offers greater protection against both total and CHD mortality than either practice alone.”

                      http://jn.nutrition.org/content/135/3/556.long

                      “The major finding of the present study is that the average population intake of saturated fat and vitamin C and the prevalence of smokers are major determinants of all-cause mortality rates. Saturated fat and smoking are detrimental, but vitamin C seems to be protective in relation to the health of populations…The potential effect of changes in saturated fat, vitamin C and the prevalence of smokers can be illustrated as follows. A change in saturated fat of 5% of energy is associated
                      with a 4.7% change in age-adjusted all-cause mortality rate (Table 3).”

                      http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/29/2/260.long

                      “A high RRR pattern score, which was associated with high intake of fat and protein and low intake of carbohydrates, increased the risk of death. Subjects with a pattern score belonging to the highest quintile obtained on average 37·2 % of their energy from fat and 37·6 % from carbohydrates and thus did not meet current dietary recommendations (Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, 2002). Food groups that contributed to this unfavourable pattern of energy sources were red meat, poultry, processed meat, butter, sauces and eggs, whereas a high intake of bread and fruits decreased the pattern score.”

                      http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FBJN%2FBJN93_05%2FS000711450500111Xa.pdf&code=6fbdbd311fb43ee23a840b894cced959

                      From the National Academy of Science:

                      “Saturated fatty acids are synthesized by the body to provide an adequate level needed for their physiological and structural functions; they have no known role in preventing chronic diseases. Therefore, neither an AI nor RDA is set for saturated fatty acids. There is a positive linear trend between total saturated fatty acid intake and total and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentration and increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). A UL is not set for saturated fatty acids because any incremental increase in saturated fatty acid intake increases CHD risk”

                      http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10490&page=422




                      0
                    11. i read this list of citations before but i thought you meant you had some good data. there is certainly nothing here that supports the claims you made.

                      first and foremost tho, when you were trying to prove that fish was unhealthy, you cited research that studied isolated poly fats from fish that found that they were inflammatory when used in supplement form. however, in the first meta-analysis you cited above, the data says just the opposite. you have repeatedly charged that those that oppose your views are cherry-picking their data but dude, you are guilty of cherry picking throughout your posts.

                      moving on.

                      the fats in the first analysis you cited were not sourced from whole foods and more importantly, the diets were not specifically whole food diets either. people ate whatever they wanted with regard to the remainder of their diet. we have no idea what the specific fatty acid ratio is either. perhaps they were taking an omega-3 supplement instead of using corn oil. perhaps the removal of saturated fat from their diets also eliminated foods like milk, french fires, ice cream, donuts, pancakes and other processed, high glycemic foods foods we know to be inflammatory. but the data doesnt say, so we cant conclude that replacing saturated fat with poly fat is the factor that made the difference, because nothing(!) but fat eaten was controlled for.

                      many of the people participating in the interventions were involved specifically because they had disease so the confounders involved when a person is trying to “get healthy’ come into play. did they start a new fitness plan? cut out junk food? were they on a weight loss diet? did they quit smoking butts? we dont know.

                      its also mui importante to pay attention to this nuggetito-

                      “RCTs were identified by systematic searches of multiple online databases”—” hand-searching related articles and citations, and direct contacts with experts to identify potentially unpublished trials.”

                      the analysis pooled data from unpublished(!) trials too. trials that because they were never published, were not subject to peer review, and the data went into the analysis without review or challenge.

                      this is not what good science looks like.




                      0
                    12. this is your second citation- http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.e8707

                      you can see that the trial lumped artificially saturated fats [trans fats] into the saturated fat category.

                      “Replacement of dietary saturated fats (from animal fats, common margarines, and shortenings…”

                      margarines and shortening(?!). it is not just the general consensus but is universally held by the scientific community that removing trans fat from the diet improves health.

                      this trial doesn’t demonstrate that replacing saturated fat with poly fat improves health.

                      this is not what good science looks like either, dude.




                      0
                    13. dude, i dont even need to read the data for the 3rd citation to identify the primary issue, the problem is right in the trial title.

                      “The Combination of High Fruit and Vegetable and Low Saturated Fat Intakes Is More Protective against Mortality in Aging Men than Is Either Alone: The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging”

                      the combination(?!). if you dont control for other factors and single out the factors youre trying to study you cant possibly know which part of the intervention is responsible.

                      and the usual issues are found here too. participants arent eating a whole food diet

                      another citation that doesnt represent good science.




                      0
                    14. to continue-

                      #4 http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content 29/2/260.long

                      the Seven Countries Study is an example of one of the most blatant cases of cherry picking ever published. when reviewed, his peers had this to say-

                      “It is well known that the indirect method merely suggests that there is anassociation between the characteristics studied and mortality rates and, further, that no matter how plausible such an association may appear, it is not in itself proof of a cause-effect relationship. But quotation and repetition of the suggestive association soon creates the impression that the relationship is truly valid, and ultimately it acquires status as a supporting link in a chain of presumed proof.”

                      “Since no information is given by Keys on how or why the six countries were selected [for his graph], it is necessary to investigate the association between dietary fat and heart disease mortality in all countries for which information is available.”

                      N Y State J Med. 1957 Jul 15;57(14):2343-54.
                      Fat in the diet and mortality from heart disease; a methodologic note.

                      Turns out it was available for 22 countries. and when it was reanalyzed looking at all of the data including a sh*t ton of heart disease deaths that were not reported as heart disease, the connection between saturated fat and heart disease becomes statistically insignificant. even cooler tho was that for all other diseases graphed, saturated fat was negatively correlated. and saturated fat intake was associated with greater life expectancy.

                      http://rawfoodsos.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/fat_life_expectancy_men_1950.jpg?w=408&h=363

                      but after all this, the real take away is that this study is still merely observational and cannot establish causation of any kind.

                      this citation is a 180° from good science.




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                    15. #5 citation- http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FBJN%2FBJN93_05%2FS000711450500111Xa.pdf&code=6fbdbd311fb43ee23a840b894cced959

                      appears to be broken. the message reads, “File not available. [S000711450500111Xa.pdf] time=1375398749 [eopocc=1377596965]/app/cjo/content/BJN/BJN93_05/”

                      could you provide a straight up citation. it looks like the link you provided was to an automatic download, in which case im good with it not working. [you prolly want to be sure your rubber stamp gets updated too]




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                    16. #6 http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10490&page=422

                      this is an opinion piece and while its evidence of the author’s opinion, it isnt evidence for your argument, dude.

                      0 for 6

                      the requirement for the burden of proof is simple, provide causal evidence that saturated fat in a whole food diet causes disease. you haven’t provided any data proving cause and you havent provided any data looking at whole food diets.

                      you did not meet the burden of proof.




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                    17. thank you, margaret. i wish all pb peeps would check the sources for the claims made by our own community. it sux to lose credibility cuz an overzealous member chooses to embellish the data with woo.




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                    18. This armchair strategy of poking holes in every study without bringing about research is ineffective. Reading the abstracts or titles of the studies posted does not do them justice. Many points raised in these studies as well as the research within them point to the conclusions I am making. If you have any references then please share.




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                    19. i think youre the guy who rubber stamps pre-composed arguments into many different forums. youre making it sound like youre doing the research yourself rather than reporting it from your own armchair. if you want to cite the data, im ready to debate it with you. but c&p-ing discussion fragments from the articles isnt proof. i suspect you havent read the articles and rather are rewording [or as was previously pointed out, sometimes actually plagiarizing] someone elses theories.

                      i get that you dont like me shining a light on the flaws but you cant change that none of your citations look at saturated fat in context of a whole food diet. we can keep arguing if you like but that would only distract from that very real truth.

                      if saturated fat in a whole food diet causes disease, it should be simple enuf to cite a trial showing it. why not just do that, dude?




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                2. margaret, im at least one vegan with my eyes open. i applaud your insistence on truth and very much appreciate the bare bones way you present your argument with no magical claims attached.

                  even after you pointed out the need for an adaptive phase, he is still citing the same study in the same thread. he cant see it. he can tell you that you need several weeks to adjust to veganism but he cannot see the same for other diets.




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                  1. And I appreciate the fact that you have an open mind. The real enemy of health is the standard American/western diet and I sincerely believe that any diet that is based on whole foods, limits sugar, starch, and processed foods, and gets sufficient protein and fat that is not highly processed PUFFA, is a possible path back to health. We low carbers, Paleo, Primal, Vegan and vegetarians should all be sticking together, not sniping at each other in a whose diet is best campaign. And we need to keep it evidence based. There is no evidence, epidemiological or otherwise, that natural fats, including primarily saturated ones like coconut oil, are harmful in and of themselves. It very much depends on the context of the rest of the diet. There is evidence that, in the right context, saturated fats can be beneficial to health and coconut oil is one of the most beneficial of all! And it fits well in any healthy diet, be it vegan, vegetarian, low carb, Paleo, or Primal. I am not advocating for any particular diet. I am advocating for an end to the misguided war on saturated fat that brought us truly bad fats like vegetable oils and trans fats.




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                    1. i agree. the evidence for the damage that grain, legume and seed oils has done is overwhelming. even Campbell made this observation during his research and said he found no correlation whatsoever between saturated fats [animal and vegetable] and disease, only with liquid plant fats.

                      the obsession with mono fats from seeds seems unfounded too. its difficult to keep them from going rancid [which appears to be another plus seen w/saturated animal fats like lard, that the sfa protect the o3s from oxidation]. still tho, the jury is out on whether chronically suppressing all inflammation is really a good thing. inflammatory mechanisms are important for immunity and there is evidence that our immunity suffers when we overdo anti-inflammatory foods.

                      and dont even get me started on blue green algae. no one should consume that stuff every day.




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                    2. I agree that inflammation is a double edged sword and suppressing it all together is not good. I’mcurrently healing from surgery and inflammation is very much part of that process! I’m more interested in avoiding chronic inflammation–from high blood sugar and toxic vegetable oils and trans fats, than I am in suppressing all inflammation. Overdoing any one kind of “functional” food is probably not a good thing. I’m more about real food, minimally processed, and in the case of animal foods, raised as far from CAFO as possible. People eat blue green algae? huh.




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                    3. Because it’s not very clear to whom I was directing this reply, (I’m not sure why–I hit the reply button following the post I wanted to reply to) I want to clarify that it is directed towards @Real World Vegan. Just want to make that clear. You deserve and have my respect.




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              2. “Ketosis impairs cognitive ability”.

                Well, that explains some of the comments posted here. :-o

                Oh, I jest.

                “A review over low carb diets revealed that “Complications such as heart arrhythmias, cardiac contractile function impairment, sudden death, osteoporosis, kidney damage, increased cancer risk, impairment of physical activity and lipid abnormalities can all be linked to long-term restriction of carbohydrates in the diet.”

                Didn’t Atkins himself die overweight and from a heart attack?




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