The Saturated Fat Studies: Buttering Up the Public

Image Credit: Johnathan Nightingale / Flickr. This image has been modified.

Butter is Back?

Time magazine’s cover exhorting people to eat butter could be viewed as a desperate attempt to revive dwindling print sales, but they claimed to be reporting on real science—a systematic review and meta-analysis published in a prestigious journal that concluded that current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage cutting down on saturated fat, like the kind found in meat and dairy products like butter.

No wonder it got so much press, since reducing saturated fat intake is a major focus of most dietary recommendations worldwide, aiming to prevent chronic diseases including coronary heart disease. So, to quote the Center for Science in the Public Interest, “What gives? Evidently, shaky science…and a mission by the global dairy industry to boost sales.”

They interviewed an academic insider, who noted that some researchers are intent on showing saturated fat does not cause heart disease, which can be seen in my video The Saturated Fat Studies: Buttering Up the Public. In 2008, the global dairy industry held a meeting where they decided that one of their main priorities was to “neutralize the negative impact of milk fat by regulators and medical professionals.” So, they set up a major, well-funded campaign to come up with proof that saturated fat does not cause heart disease. They assembled scientists who were sympathetic to the dairy industry, provided them with funding, encouraged them to put out statements on milk fat and heart disease, and arranged to have them speak at scientific meetings. And the scientific publications we’ve seen emerging since the Mexico meeting have done just what they set out to do.

During this meeting, the dairy industry discussed what is the key barrier to increasing worldwide demand for dairy. There’s global warming issues and other milks competing out there, but number one on the list is the “Negative messages and intense pressure to reduce saturated fats by governments and non-governmental organizations.” In short, the negative messages are outweighing the positive; so indeed, their number one priority is to neutralize the negative image of milk fat among regulators and health professionals as related to heart disease.

So, if we are the dairy industry, how are we going to do it? Imagine you work for Big Butter. You’ve got quite the challenge ahead of you. If you look at recommendations from around the globe, there is a global scientific consensus to limit saturated fat intake with most authoritative bodies recommending getting saturated fat at least under 10% of calories, with the prestigious U.S. Institute of Medicine and the European Food Safety Authority recommending to push saturated fat consumption down as low as possible.

The latest guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology recommend reducing trans fat intake, giving it their strongest A-grade level of evidence. And they say the same same for reducing saturated fat intake. Since saturated and trans fats are found in the same place, meat and dairy, cutting down on foods with saturated fat will have the additional benefit of lowering trans fat intake. They recommend pushing saturated fat intake down to 5 or 6%. People don’t realize how small that is. One KFC chicken breast could take us over the top. Or, two pats of butter and two cubes of cheese and we’re done for the day—no more dairy, meat, or eggs. That’d be about 200 calories; so, they are in effect saying 90% of our diet should be free of saturated fat-containing foods. That’s like the American Heart Association saying, “Two meals a week can be packed with meat, dairy, and junk, but the entire rest of the week should be unprocessed plant-foods.” That’s how stringent the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology recommendations are.

So, this poses a problem for Big Cheese and Chicken. The top contributors of cholesterol-raising saturated fat are cheese, ice cream, chicken, non-ice cream desserts like cake and pie, and then pork. So, what are these industries to do? See The Saturated Fat Studies: Set Up to Fail.

For those unfamiliar with Trans Fat in Meat and Dairy (and refined vegetable oils), I made a video about it!

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine “as low as possible” position, echoed by the European Food Safety Authority, is described in my video: Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol: Tolerable Upper Intake of Zero.

What happened when a country tried to put the lower saturated fat guidance into practice? See the remarkable results in Dietary Guidelines: From Dairies to Berries.

Don’t think the dietary guidelines process could be undermined by underhanded corporate tactics? Sad but true:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations—2013: Uprooting the Leading Causes of DeathMore Than an Apple a Day2014: From Table to Able: Combating Disabling Diseases with Food, 2015: Food as Medicine: Preventing and Treating the Most Dreaded Diseases with Diet, and my latest, 2016: How Not To Die: The Role of Diet in Preventing, Arresting, and Reversing Our Top 15 Killers.


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.

172 responses to “Butter is Back?

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  1. Hi,
    In view of recent discussions about A1 and A2 Beta-Casein in Cow Milk, I would like to know if there is any substantial evidence/peer reviewed study done in this regard. Is there really any difference at all in the health effects of A1 and A2 Beta-Casein in Cow Milk ?
    What is the final conclusion?

    1. Thanks for your question,

      Although some authors argue (see here) & I quote:

      “Populations, which consume milk containing high levels of β-casein A2 variant, have a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and type-1 diabetes. The A1/A2 hypothesis is both intriguing and potentially very important for public health if it is proved correct.”

      In my personal opinion, A2 milk is still a dairy food, which as you may find in this summary, isn’t exactly great for health.

      Hope this answer helps.

      1. Thanks a lot for the prompt response.

        I also believe that more research is required before we come to any conclusions. Moreover, it seems too early and a trick generally used by food & dairy industries, which often use unidirectional reductionist research methods so that only a part of the truth-out of context, is used for their benefit; generally misleading the people.

  2. My question is. Many nuts contain or cocoa contain saturated fats, even though in smaller amounts that other types of fats. Is it OK to eat nuts and surpass the maximum daily amount because they are not animal fats or we should limit these too? I am assuming the person does not have a weight issue and can eat a high calory diet.

    1. i dont have the source here but you can definately find it on this website. nut consumption is associated with longer lifespan and weigh loss. I know this doesnt really reply to the question of over consumption but hope it helps

    2. That is an excellent question.

      First of all, not all saturated fat is created equal (see Dr Katz article on the topic here) & quotting the Harvard Professor of Nutrition, Walter Willet (see here):

      “The presence of saturated fat doesn’t automatically kick a food into the “unhealthy” camp. Olive oil, wheat germ, and even tofu — all “healthy” foods — have some saturated fat. It’s the whole package of nutrients, not just one or two, that determines how good a particular food is for health.”

      Here’s a short summary from NF on why you should consume nuts.

      Hope this answer helps.

    3. AGEs are “sky high” on animal foods. AEGs damage the endothelial layer. Nuts are semi high but not sky high. So in that sense, nuts are safer. Lowest are fruits. Google AGEs in foods.

    4. I think Dr Fuhrman’s attitude for nuts, seeds and avocado is the wisest. If you have a weight problem women should limit to 1 oz/day and men 1.5 oz/day or make up the calories by reducing other foods. Slim people can consume more if their weight stays stable. Of course, that is only a small part of his program and to understand better, one has to become familiar with H=N/C and ANDI in selecting whole plant-based products.
      The science is not there to prove that one can reverse heart disease while consuming nuts, seeds and avocado but many studies so show that nuts and seeds reduce CHD and extend life. If you are looking for 100% on nutrition you will have to wait 100 to 500 years because the money is not in that type of research.

      1. Butter might be better than margarine, but more in the way that it is better to be stabbed than shot. So if you must do a nutritional injury to yourself, then pastured butter may in fact be the least injurious. The best option is to not stab or shoot yourself nutritionally and instead eat whole foods that have fats as well as a load of other nutrients packed in with it like nuts and avocado.

        1. Raw, unpasteurized, grass-fed butter IS a whole food, and when used in moderation is very healthy. It is rich in CLA, a good vitamin A source as well as other vitamins, and has trace minerals and cancer-fighting fats.

            1. Thea: I know how butter is made, and it is considered a whole food. It is not processed, and has no artificial additives or substances. The only “processing” it has is by the churning and separating of the fats; it is a highly concentrated form of milk. Some dairy and meat products are considered whole food … not just plant-based food.

              1. BChristine: I agree that whole milk is a whole food (if you want to call it food). However, for butter, you take a whole product, milk with it’s lactose and fat and animal protein, and you separate out the fat. By the very definition of whole vs processed foods, butter is a highly processed extracted fat. Butter is almost the pure fat *part* of whole milk. Butter is no different than olive oil or any extracted plant oil. You can believe that butter is healthy (though I don’t buy your arguments for that), but there is no reasonable way to define butter as a whole food. By your definition, table sugar is a whole food.

                1. Because something is processed doesn’t make it bad for us. Vegans have to take processed (manufactured) Vitamin B12 tablets to remain healthy. Ditto for Natto which is virtually a Vegans only food source of Vitamin K2. I can’t make Natto myself and there are no artisan producers around here. My Natto comes in plastic/foam packaging from an Asian factory (I don’t know where exactly it comes from, or what is in it, as there is no English on the label).

                  What we have to be concerned about is the effect the things we eat have on our body more so than whether or not it is processed.

                  On the other hand., in my rule book, additives == bad (since I don’t know what effect they are likely to have on my body I aim to leave them all out as far as possible). So, if I think butter is nutritionally good for me and it contains no additives, I will eat it.

                  1. rada: I never said that just because something is processed, it is bad for us. Staying away from processed foods is a good general rule, but there are exceptions. However, when it comes to butter, we know it is very bad for us. Butter is not an exception to the rule about largely staying away from processed foods. If you want to understand why butter is bad for us, you can research topics like saturated fat, cholesterol, and oil’s effect on endothelial cells (just for starters!)–all topics explained in great detail on this site.

                    1. Re your statement:

                      “If you want to understand why butter is bad for us, you can research topics like saturated fat, cholesterol, and oil’s effect on endothelial cells (just for starters!) all topics explained in great detail on this site.”

                      Yes, I’m focused on those core points as part of my current research into the root causes of Leaky Gut and my over-riding brief which is looking at the root causes of heart disease …. I like root cause analysis :-)

                      I have access to a lot of material on those subjects … I’m just not posting it here cos u got enough already.

                    2. IN case you didn’t know, bone broth has lead in it. I

                    3. Hi Wegan,

                      Sorry for the delayed reply.
                      I didn’t notice your post until the email digest came around.

                      Re lead in bone broth.

                      I haven’t watched that video but I do have a paper on “lead in chicken bone broth”.
                      You make a good point ….. meat eating does come with some risks.
                      I assume it depends on the source … if the meat is genuinely organic and the feed doesn’t contain non-organics then it should be fine.

                      What do you think?

                      I haven’t read into any of the details about bone broth.
                      My guess is that there is no magic in it, just fat and minerals et. c that could be obtained elsewhere if desired e.g. it is recommended for Leaky Gut but no one seems to know why. As Glutamine is a scientifically supported supplement to aid in healing Leaky Gut (LG) it is possible that the broth is rich in amino acids …. ditto for minerals that might help LG.

                    4. Bone broth is a fad these days in some circles. They cite glutamine, gelatin, and collagen, they think it’s healing but I know of no studies to back up that claim. Lead migrates into bones, lead is all over the environment these days. The chicken in the bone broth studies was organic.

                    5. Indeed, lead is all over. Studies of lead in cocoa from West Africa suggest the lead was in exhaust from vehicles driving by cacao drying.

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      According to this Harvard Health Publications & I quote:

      “Today the butter-versus-margarine issue is really a false one. From the standpoint of heart disease, butter is on the list of foods to use sparingly mostly because it is high in saturated fat, which aggressively increases levels of LDL. Margarines, though, aren’t so easy to classify. The older stick margarines that are still widely sold are high in trans fats, and are worse for you than butter. Some of the newer margarines that are low in saturated fat, high in unsaturated fat, and free of trans fats are fine as long as you don’t use too much (they are still rich in calories).

      You can quickly compare the health value of spreads (including butter and margarine) simply by looking at the nutrition labels on these products. The FDA now requires nutrition labels to include information about both saturated fats and trans fats. Your goal is to limit intake of saturated fats and to avoid trans fats altogether.”

      Hope this answer helps.

      1. Excellent answer, Darchite. Remember, Drs. Greger and Fuhrman, ornish, et al aren’t saying you can’t eat any fat. It is helpful for your health to try to replace an unhealthy fat with one that’s healthier. Verified EV olive oil for butter, avocados for margarine, hemp seeds for canola oil. Every step you take makes you healthier. And remember to never use an oil past it’s smoke point.

        1. John I don’t believe oil is considered a healthy fat even if it EV because it is considered a processed food. Dr Greger would say when making the oil you threw out all the good bits. But we can get rather obsessive–I just wanted to point that out.

        2. Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. John McDougall will say no oil and no fat. They have videos on You Tube to discuss their reasons for this recommendations. – he says longer term studies show coronary artery disease progresses just as much with oil OR butter. Several studies to support this. (Lawrence Ridell researcher, Dr. Vogel, etc)

    1. I’m of the opinion that saturated fats are not as bad as they were made out to be I don’t think they are as good as they are now being made out to be. Olive oil, avacado & hemp seeds all trounce dairy derived saturated fats with their fat profile.

  3. I think it’s a typical confusionist claim: the claim in itself is double speak or a half truth if you will, saturated fat does indeed not _cause_ heart disease, it contributes to it, the main ingredient required to cause heart disease is cholesterol.

    That all animal products contain both contributing saturated fat and causing cholesterol is the part in the claim they avoid.

    1. I honestly dont know.. maybe they made a study to see what it really was that raises serum cholesterol. however, in pratice, nobody eats only saturated fat or only cholesterol..

    2. Cholesterol does NOT CAUSE heart disease. Chronic inflammation does. It should be common knowledge that LDL carries cholesterol through the body to fulfill basic physiologic purposes. It’s inflammation as a result of poor diets, chronic stress and toxins that damage arterial walls to the degree that small LDL particles become trapped that is the precursor to plaque formation and subsequent heart disease. Cholesterol is an essential and basic component of human physiology. Our body creates it and needs to consume it as well. The miseducation surrounding this is getting out of hand.

        1. I’ll clarify. The body temporarily increases its production of cholesterol in response to consuming external sources of sat. fat and cholesterol. This is transient in the overwhelming majority of people, but yet and still, this cholesterol will be put to use. It is vital to the very functioning of our bodies at even the most basic cellular levels.

          1. 1. So the body makes required cholesterol but we still need to consume more. Why is it unable to make enough? Please post article to support you statement.
            2. Consumed Animal products do not raise cholesterol. Please post research article.
            3. Inflammation is the only cause of plaque build up and not saturated fat and/or excess cholesterol. Please post research of support.

            Otherwise it’s just your opinion.

            1. Hi WFPBRunner,

              The role, source and distribution of cholesterol, in humans is well understood and not a contentious subject …. as per the Wikipedia topic by the same name


              Since cholesterol is essential for all animal life, each cell synthesizes it by way of a complex 37-step process, beginning with the mevalonate pathway and ending with a 19-step conversion of lanosterol to cholesterol.
              A human male weighing 68 kg (150 lb) normally synthesizes about 1 gram (1,000 mg) per day, and his body contains about 35 g, mostly contained within the cell membranes. Typical daily cholesterol dietary intake for a man in the United States is 307 mg (above the upper limit recommended by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee[9]).
              Most ingested cholesterol is esterified, and esterified cholesterol is poorly absorbed. The body also compensates for any absorption of additional cholesterol by reducing cholesterol synthesis.[10] For these reasons, cholesterol in food, seven to ten hours after ingestion, has little, if any effect on concentrations of cholesterol in the blood.



              There is quite a bit of arguing going on about cholesterol as a risk factor for atherosclerosis….. the against argument is that oxidised LDL (small cholesterol particles) are closer to the root cause than Cholesterol as such. Some proponents of this view claim that vegetable oils and fish oils (unsaturated fats) readily oxidise in the warm, oxygen rich environment of the body (Dr Ray Peat, biochemist, is one of them). What do you think about that proposition?


              The references are at the end of each article.
              He has quite a few audio lectures on his YouTube channel.
              I have an open mind to all good or challenging ideas so I find him very interesting.

              Here’s a link to an article from a guy who posts over at the Weston price Foundation who goes into this stuff in detail (the article was selected at random from a long list) – I find him interesting too.


          2. Perhaps animal protein doesn’t raise cholesterol, I don’t know. But many studies show show that eating animal cholesterol raises cholesterol if it hasn’t already been raised from eating animals. Meat, even grass fed, is highly inflammatory: Neu5Gc, endotoxins, Tmao etc. you can learn about it on this site.

  4. What some of the food-/drug-/fossil fuel-/chemical industries leaders and their associations do is bordering criminal if not outright criminal. Why is the Federal Government not interfering to protect the public? What is NIH, FDA. EPA, AG, FBI and the like doing? Why don’t they fund definitive studies and inform the public about the true nature of fats, food additives, plastics in food (canneries), public health consequences of chemicals, pollution, etc. and stop industry in killing people prematurely? We pay taxes for the government to protect us. The number of people killed by disease due to bad food products, chemicals, pollution etc. is multiple times that of terrorism yet the FDA, NIH and other beneficial programs have 1/1000th or less of the Pentagon. Everywhere we look, the people are given the burned end of the stick and sometimes clobbered if they raise the issue of non- representation/misrepresentation/counter-representation by the government paid by our taxes.

    1. You are of course 100% correct. It literally took decades to ban trans fats AFTER we knew the science of how bad it was, and yet we went into the Iraqi war on just a few short months of lies. I share you cynicism, frustration, and outrage.

      1. My thoughts EXACTLY. The reason they are not serving the public interest is because their agendas aren’t for the public interest. If the government cared and acted proactively or protectively of its citizens, we wouldn’t have fast food restaurants, processed foods or allow GMO (i.e. the European Union has banned GMO sales in their countries). Can we honestly even trust federally funded research? What does “gold standard” really mean anyway if we know that historically studies have been manipulated to fit agendas? Quite simply stated, people need to consume natural whole foods – period. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to validate that. A person’s positive experience is the most valuable metric. Evidence-based medicine should be based on actual clinical evidence – the patient’s experience – and not wholly based on some randomized, double-blinded, placebo-control trial that none of us can confirm, without a shadow of a doubt, was performed honestly.

        1. Funny you should ask. So prior to evidence based medicine Dr. Smith that wise old man would tell that young new grad Dr. Jones how best to treat a cardiac patient in the cardiac intensive care. And so it went for many years. Then Dr Sackett came along and said “Wait a minute. How do we know that what Dr. Smith is doing is the best for patient outcome? We need to practice evidence based medicine.” ( I am paraphrasing) And low and behold Dr. Smith was actually harming his patients. Of course not intentionally. We didn’t know any better.

          The best example of this is something I heard recently. A dentist is asking why are we telling our patients to floss? We have no controlled studies demonstrating that patients that floss have less cavities. Touché

            1. I just heard a dentist on, I believe NPR, talking about it. It might have been another station but isn’t that crazy. But even if research demonstrates that it doesn’t make a difference with cavities we can all agree our breath is fresher!

        2. I am all in favour of research into nutrition and health issues so that the public can be reliably informed free of bias but the choice should remain with the public not enforced by government. Freedom of choice should be carefully guarded.

    2. We live in a corporatocracy where corporarations don’t pay taxes, They pay lobbyists and get a better rate of return than they would actually making something. We need to overturn Citizens United. If in California please vote yes on prop 59.

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      While I have not read the book myself, I cannot comment on the topic. Apart from this book, there will be numerous other books going against established evidence and it is impossible to critically appraise all.

      However, a lot of these sort of claims are based on certain claims, some of which Dr Greger addresses in the links below (I highly recommend you to watch it):

      The Saturated Fat Studies: Buttering Up the Public

      The Saturated Fat Studies: Set Up to Fail

      Hope this answer helps.

    2. I only read the first page on Amazon, but the argument set out there has the basic form: When A was replaced by B, matters got worse. Therefore, A is okay. In the case at hand, A was sat fats and B was refined carbs and extracted oils, But that’s a false dilemma. The general recommendation from doctors like Dr. Greger, Dr. Fuhrman, Dr. McDougall, Dr. Barnard, is to switch to a whole food, plant-based diet, i.e., eat starchy and non-starchy vegetables, intact grains, beans/legumes, and some nuts/seeds. None of these doctors recommend extracted oils. Note too that Dr. Katz (Yale U.), who is not a “vegan doctor”, is quite clear that saturated fats from animal foods is not a health food. Cf.

      1. Chris1971: Super, duper GREAT analysis of Nina’s book!! Thanks for sharing this link. That analysis does an awesome job of showing the meat, dairy and egg pushing movement for the fraud it is. It also shows how having a bunch of links and references is not enough. The references have to be valid. The problem is that most lay people are not as qualified as this person do to that type of checking.

  5. Keep man out of dairy to the greatest extent possible, and the milk, butter, or even ghee is worth it. The body doesn’t understand synthetic chemicals and will push them out of the body by any of the detox pathways, or stuff them in fat cells, for at the time the body doesn’t have a way to get rid of them. Again the body can’t use synthetic chemicals as it doesn’t understand them. As an example in practice many people find the end of their nose supporting broken blood vessels with little sores just inside the nostrils. This has been directly related to a preservative elongating the shelf life of milk/cream/cheese, or all products with dairy. A huge number of folks have quit anything with dairy products due to the present health of the cow. Cows as everybody knows are fed with grains for the most part instead of grass, of which GMO corn is mostly used and is known to cause cancer in the animal and is the reason cows have to be put down at 1/4 of their life span. There is more than 1 documentary on this, which all share a common point of interest much more so reading studies. People should watch more documentaries and take notes. Cows have 3 stomachs for eating and digesting grass, and grass fed cow products are making a huge rebound. Researchers have found that raw milk from a grass fed dairy cow or any cow for that matter with no antibiotics, or growth hormones or any other chemical they’ve decided to introduce to try and get another penny out of the cow, no matter how much it affects their health, is so potent with nutrients that a man can live on raw milk alone. So if one likes ghee for instance, which is so great for health to strengthen your bones, joints and ligaments, but get the ghee from grass fed cows that are free of antibiotics, grow hormones, and synthetic preservatives. Surprisingly this article doesn’t talk about the health of the cow in relation to the quality of fat in the butter. Probably not a study on this, but if you ask a person the difference between driving a Ferrari or a corvette, only the ones who have driven each of them will know.

    1. You make a great point. I’d like to see a study that addresses saturated fat intake in people who eat natural whole food diets and not saturated fat eaters who also consume a generic standard american diet – like a study comparing Whole Food Paleo vs. Whole Food Plant Based Diets. I’m betting the bigger issue is that people just need to consume natural whole foods free of any adulterants…& this means consuming meat products from animals who were raised naturally too, and so on and so forth. Real food needs to eat real food to be considered real food. There are plenty of blue zones where people consume meat products or butter as staples in their diets.

        1. Paleo is not equivalent to Atkins by far. Paleo is a plant based diet that includes meat sources. It’s about 10% meat protein give or take. To my knowledge no true Paleo vs. Plant diet study has been performed. Maybe it’s time to do one!

          1. I did follow Paleo for sometime and I have friends who do it and you probably know that 10% is not true. Maybe Dr Mark Hyman’s “Pegan” is that way, but Paleo is not. However, there are individual studies in vitro, in vivo and others that show what meat and animal products do to the human body. Check this video from Dr Greger, you will have a wider perspective by the end Im sure. It was what made me, a true stubborn paleo know it all believer to shift my perspective:


  6. Thanks for the article… I needed a good laugh! :)

    That’s what I love about this site… Anything to discredit animal products by showing one side of the story.

    For the record I do believe CAFO’s (confined animal factory operations) are disgraceful and the GMO feeds and terrible conditions they put the animals through are abhorrent. That being said…

    Grass-fed, organic butter is good for you. Coconut oil is good for you. Saturated fat is good for you. It’s the fact it’s saturated meaning it’s stable. If you want some real nutrition information look at Weston Price regarding butter.

    Also there are good (normal, natural) trans fats such as those in animal products (in small amounts) that are nothing like the synthetic ones generated by hydrogenating vegetable oils such as the plastic-like material referred to as margarine.

    1. Just Sharing: The Weston Price Foundation has long been discredited. There are several ways to learn about the fatal flaws of the Weston Price Foundation. My favorite is the site
      If you have any specific studies to share to back up any of your claims, sometimes people on this site will look into those studies for you to help you put them into context.

    2. Thanks for your comment.

      A few points on the topic:

      – Meat being grass-fed, organic doesn’t make it great as according to the IARC, red meat is classified as a Group 2A carcinogen. According to this report, there are many reasons but some of it has to do with the haem iron, N-nitroso-compounds (NOC), heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) found in cooked red meat (you can’t eat it raw).

      – In the most recent scientific review on coconut oil, the authors concluded that “coconut oil, when compared with cis unsaturated plant oils, raises total cholesterol, HDL-C, and LDL-C, al- though not as much as butter does. The impact of coco- nut oil consumption on the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL-C was often not reported. No convincing evidence that consumption of coconut oil, as opposed to con- sumption of unsaturated oils, led to improved lipid pro- files and a decreased risk of CVD was discovered during the literature search. Overall, the weight of the evidence to date suggests that replacing coconut oil with cis unsaturated fats would reduce CVD risk. Therefore, this review does not support popular claims purporting that coconut oil is a healthy oil in terms of reducing the risk of CVD. There was no evidence that coconut oil acted consistently different from other satu- rated fats in terms of its effects on blood lipids and lipo- proteins.”

      – In the most recent publication about types of fat and total & cause-specific mortality (see image attached), the scientists concluded that higher intake of saturated fat (found in foods like butter, lard, and red meat) and especially trans fat (predominantly from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil), was associated with greater risk of mortality when compared with the same number of calories from carbohydrate. When compared with carbohydrates, every 5% increase of total calories from saturated fat was associated with an 8% higher risk of overall mortality, and every 2% higher intake of trans fat was associated with a 16% higher risk of overall mortality.

      Hope this answer helps clarify some of initial beliefs.

    3. “It’s the fact it’s saturated meaning it’s stable” Actually… A saturated fatty acid has the maximum possible number of hydrogen atoms attached to every carbon atom. It is therefore said to be “saturated” with hydrogen atoms, and all of the carbons are attached to each other with single bonds.

    4. Google a picture of Sally Fallon, present day…abdominal obesity, that’s butter (sorry, not trying to be snarky). Anecdotally, our children’s pediatrician was a WAPF’er and also had abdominal obesity. He very tragically died quite suddenly, only in his early 60’s. HIs state of overweight always bothered me, as in, it just didn’t feel healthy. That’s when we ditched WAPF, moved to Paleo but my husband still didn’t drop his chunky middle and poor lipid profiles despite a super healthy active “Paleo” (grass fed, pasture raised etc. etc.) lifestyle. Went WFPB and he lost 25 lbs and all lipid profiles are excellent for the first time ever. The switch wasn’t easy, I have spent hours on this site (and still do) in order to “unlearn” all that I thought was correct about nutrition.

    1. Don’t use anything !Toast can be eaten with whatever toppings you pick, we no longer even notice . Cutting down on the amount of bread is mostly a positive thing anyways.

      1. One of my favorites is 4 tablespoons of hemp seed ground up in a coffee grinder then add a bit of EV olive oil to get the consistency desired. Others here have also mentioned avacado and I use it with the ground up hemp seeds as well. The hemp/EVOO will last the longest in the fridge whereas the avacado (alone or with hemp) needs to be eaten soon after making.

        Guacamole and humus are also very nice on toast.

        1. My problem with hummus is a lot of oil is added in the stuff you buy in stores, so not a big fan of that. Homemade is better , but we already eat a lot of other legumes and it gets ignored in the fridge , so we mostly do without. Hemp sounds interesting as I recently found out that hemp milk is my fav so far. Might try and do something with hemp seeds. thanks!

          1. Yea store bought stuff is really bad plus they don’t use EVOO but do use a lot of cheap oils. We make ours with a food processor, chickpeas, lime, tahini, garlic, EVOO and season to taste. It never gets ignored in the fridge. Lots of recipes online depending on what taste you are going for (traditional, spicy, creamy, thick, etc)

    2. Kris: Here are some ideas for you:
      > Avocado/guacamole.
      > Nut butters like peanut or almond butters.
      > or a fancier nut or bean-based spreads/dips. There is a recipe in the Plant Powered Families cookbook that I *adore* and that I put on lots of things.
      > Pumpkin or other fruit or veggie butter.
      > tofu-based spreads (you can find some great recipes for say tofu mayo or ranch dip).

      Most of these ideas are calorie-dense to one degree or another, but these foods are not going to have most of the major health risks which come with dairy butter (yes, even grass fed ;-) ).

      If you tell us what you are “spreading on”, maybe other people will have additional ideas for you.

    3. I use avocado as substitute for eggs and butter ( The Avocado Affair , new book ) , raw as well as cooked. Apparently it is a good substitute, called the butter fruit in India, or the vegetable butter in the French Caraibe, it works well for me.

  7. Don’t forget: sugar metabolizes in the liver, rather than in the stomach, and produces uric acid and fat. Sugar is as much to blame as saturated fat is to blame for high cholesterol and our dreaded diseases.

    1. I watched a show last night called 23.5 degrees on the weather channel with Sam Champion. They have a lot of episodes about water and last night was very interesting. A Saudi Arabia company bought up some land in Arizona to grow hay to ship back to Saudi Arabia for the Dairy Cows to eat. They depleted their own water wells and are now depleting the water wells in Arizona. This is insane that the USA lets a foreign country do this. The state of Arizona needs to make better laws now to stop this craziness. Here is a link to a story about it.

  8. I doubt I’ll ever understand why people with strong nutritional “beliefs” in opposition to the evidence provided by post in the Comments section here. What is their motivation? Do they care if they convince others to follow their unhealthy lifestyle and it results in the acceleration of disease?

    I understand and encourage genuine questions and the citation of contrary studies from those that are confused or want more clarity, but people that show up just to spew their faith in some industry-driven red herring or profit-based diet are beyond my comprehension.

    1. For what it’s worth, I’ll try to step back and take in a broader view. For a long time, animal/saturated fat was demonized. Then, decades later, it was OK again. And now it’s sugar and processed carbs that are causing obesity and killing us. Now, sat. fat is back to being evil again. Imagine people’s skepticism. People’s beliefs and trust in the “scientific” community is not only challenged once again, but turned 180. And it’s not just Atkins, Gary Taubes, etc., but Dr. Weil and more than a few medical professionals as well.

      I have friends more than a generation older than I am. How do you tell a man in his mid 70’s, on no medications at all, that his lifelong diet is unhealthy when his answer is: Tell that to my healthy mother? OK, poor example.

      Then there’s a whole new crop of “certified holistic health coaches”, mostly younger urban women, who take an online course now telling everyone that as long as it’s organic, grass fed, you need to eat full fat dairy. These women are wives and mothers, and you know they pretty much set the diet for whole family.

      The bottom line is there needs to be more consensus. My GP, who I trust, tells me cholesterol under 200 is fine. Even if it’s lowered to 180, that’s fairly easily achieved for most w/out giving up animal products. Barring that, how can you blame people’s doubts. I mean, you’re asking them to give up the food they love, and make dramatic lifestyle changes… again.

      1. Hi Baggman. I am going through this opinion of cholesterol being below 200 right now with my husband. Because I don’t eat animal product the entire family eats much less. But my husband who rides his bike 45 miles a day and has 8% or lower body fat has a cholesterol of 210 and nobody says anything! Not his General or Cardiologist. (Value replacement) but we know that 150 total and 70 LDL is bulletproof. (See topics above) so of course I stepped in and said wait. Let’s see what your numbers are if you completely give up all animal. He is in the middle of that experiment. Should I just say well whatever. His doctors are ok with that. But the average person that dies of a heart attack has the average cholesterol of 200. See my concern?

        1. I don’t know what the “bullet proof” threshold is, nor does science really. Lipid profiles are just one of many indicators of risk. Having said that, any medical professional should agree that 150 is more desirable than 200. 3 out of the last 4 individuals that I know requiring cardiac stents never smoked, were never over weight, and had cholesterol numbers under 160. Anomaly? Maybe. Cholesterol and CAD risk tends to have a “U” shaped curve as we age. Problem is, we may not know what part of that curve we’re on until its too late. Each of us has differ in the way we metabolizing fat.

          Logically, we should aspire to optimum levels, not just acceptable. Could be your husband is not a candidate for statins, as they have so many bad side effects. BTW, many studies say statins have little to no effect on reducing risk. So, that’s not a great choice.

          Optimum diet will always be a moving target. Instead of radical changes, maybe persuade him to make incremental changes, e.g., more fruits & veggies, more beans, 1/2 cup oatmeal/day (a magic food IMO), or just add the oatmeal to a fruit smoothie.

          Good luck and best of health to you both.

            1. 2 exercised regularly, and none were on statins, because there were no risk factors that I know of. As a person whose has more than a casual interest in health/wellness/nutrition for all of my adult life, I’m more than a little inquisitive. Cholesterol is just one of several risk factors, IMO.

              At the risk of boring you, here’s another remarkable case: A 70+ year old man takes his 90+ year old mother to her MD for a checkup. Her English is not that good (an Italian immigrant). The doc asks him to tell his mother her cholesterol is high, and she should modify her diet otherwise he’ll put her on a statin. She says to her son in Italian, you tell the doctor when he reaches my age, he can tell me what to eat, and she never went back. He showed me pictures of her dancing at her 100th birthday party. True fact: she out lived her doctor. She passed quietly at 103, having eaten a “Mediterranean” type diet her whole life; little animal products, mostly fruit & veggies, some pasta, a glass of wine here and there, and she liked walnuts for snacks.

              Some people are on the bottom of the “U” curve I spoke of, and some are not, regardless of cholesterol. My take: do whatever you can to reduce risks based on current science, but take everything with a grain of salt (no pun intended). I don’t think the debate on cholesterol is over yet. It will always be the totality of wellness that determines your health.

              1. Hi bagman,

                What do you think of the proposition that oxidised LDL particles are the root cause of artherosclerosis and that polyunsaturated vege oils are the main reason that oxidation occurs.

                1. I’m no expert and can’t speak to that. I do know LDL particle size matters. Most lipid profiles should now provide you with a breakdown on 3 different LDL size indicators, what they mean, and how to asses the risks if any. PUFA are not really an enemy if they’re ingested in moderation, and we have the right proportion of omega 3’s to omega 6’s. Again, the doc and his staff are experts here, I don’t want to misinform you.

                2. Rada,

                  I would encourage you to view the many websites especially the work done at Berkley laboratories regardin the LDL particle issue. For over 30 years now physicians have had access to what is refred to as lipid fractionation. We specifically look at the RLP and Lpa as the worst actors, within the LDL family along with other factors. Another source of reference material can also be found at:( and you can get easily get your doc on board by suggesting the Quest panel also offered by LabCorp:( to at least give you some of the LDL componants.

                  To address your question regarding veggie oils being one of the main causes, consider the amount of unsaturated veggie oils in our food supply and indeed it is a major contributing factor. A good amount of processed foods ustilize various mixes of unsaturated vegitable fats which are used to cook/fry many items, due to their low cost and easy availability. Next time you eat some french fries consider the oil, heat and oxygen exposures. Dr. Alan Kadish NF moderator

                  1. Hi Alan.

                    Thanks for your excellent reply.
                    Its always a pleasure to come across people like yourself.

                    Yes, I will follow up on your tips.

                    I like science, and the work that the scientists are doing, but I am concerned that there seems to be a drift away from pure research and tenured scientists towards sponsored science and enterprising universities.
                    However I’ve come around to the view that most of us don’t have the time, skillset or aptitude to put all of the science together in a pragmatic way that is orientated to health outcomes.
                    I think we are reliant on the pioneering physicians/health professionals to do that for us.

                    I recently started consulting with a progressive MD in my local area.
                    I am very lucky to have one here as I am in regional Australia and they aren’t thick on the ground around here
                    I’ve only seen him three times so we haven’t had time to build the relationship and also we had a specific issue to deal with so I haven’t had a chance to talk about other issues and find out what he has to offer wrt ‘heart health’.

                    Re polyunsaturated fats (PUFAS):

                    Do yo have an opinion, or any resources, on whether or not PUFAS in food are contributing to negative ‘heart health’ outcomes?’
                    I have a mental flag set at Essellstyn’s heart reversal studies ….. I noticed he achieved a confirmed reversal in coronary dysfunction so that’s hard to go past compared to epidemiological studies et.c
                    I noticed in his commentary that he acknowledged he hadn’t identified root causes and as there were a lot of variables in his studies that leaves me wondering whether or not the fact he excluded PUFAS from plant sources as well was significant i.e. his ‘heart health diet excludes olives, avocados et. c
                    I am trying to figure if healthy people need to go that far or only people who are looking to reverse heart disorders or perhaps it is necessary for either group and one of the other variables in his trial was the secret source?

                    It’s an intriguing question to me because of the amount, type and ratios of PUFAS naturally found in plant foods not to mention the fact that Mother Nature, put some PUFAS in the ultimate health food == mothers milk.

                    1. Rada,

                      Good observation. To continue the conversation, have your doc do a fractionated lipid study, CRPs, coupled with a breakdown of the levels of 3/6/7/9 oils in your system. Although it might get a bit expensive you could consider doing a test after using high levels of the natural PUFAs intake vs low or baseline levels and see what your ideal diet would utilize. For a “quick” look at heart function consider heart variability testing, as both inexpensive and noninvasive to see a change, obviously over a many month period of time. As a more invasive manner your could challenge your heart to a treadmill test or look at a calcium score (need some more time and not a great choice) or check your exercise endurance….just thinking aloud.

                      I’m going to suggest that our genetic predisposition, digestive and conversion abilities, coupled with our microbiome and a host of other enviornmental variables would leave way too many unanswered questions as to the “best” approach. As to mother’s milk… consider that it’s theoretically only for ingestion during development and not as an ongoing input…..In most of the adult studies the EPA concentration appear to be the key aspect to consider.

          1. rada: I’m aware your comment is addressed to WFPBRunner, and I’m not trying to come between that. But in the hopes of being helpful, I thought I would mention that there are a lot of problems with the credibility of Chris Masterjohn’s information. You can learn more by watching the videos in the following link if you are interested: Those videos are a very scholarly work with lots of references you can check yourself, just like here on NutritionFacts. I’m not aware of any credible source of information which shares Chris Masterjohn’s views on cholesterol.

            1. Hi Thea, Anyone is welcome to join in. I want to hear all sides of the argument.
              Yes, I will look at the material you recommend.

              I have seen quite a bit of stuff on ‘oxidised’ or ‘small dense’ LDL particles being the a leading marker for heart disease. Masterjohn is a tiny fraction of that. Some of the pathology labs provide analysis on oxidise LDL!

            2. Re your statement: “there are a lot of problems with the credibility of Chris Masterjohn’s information”.

              I don’t think we should ‘play the man’ as we might miss out on some valuable information if we avoid some authors based on reputation e.g. you stated previously that the Weston Price Foundation (WPF) has been discredited but I recently gleaned a key piece of information, about Leaky Gut, that was hidden away in this article at the WPF.


              Beyond that we shouldn’t listen to internet ‘rumours and suspicion’ but find out for ourselves.

              I am not sure how you define credibility but if an authors logic fails and the research they are referring to is dubious, or misplaced and this happens on a continual basis, then they lack credibility in my eyes. So, I think we have to treat each case on its merits.

              In the following article, by Chris Masterjohn, I can’t fault his logic but I haven’t read the research articles he uses to support his arguments. Can you find anything wrong with his logic or the research papers?


              1. rada: I understand your point, but Plant Positive, the site I referred you to earlier does all the work of checking Chris Masterjohn’s references and logic. I’m not qualified to do that, but Plant Positive is. The errors of Chris Masterjohn’s thinking/logic and references is clear when you watch Plant Positive’s videos. Plant Positive covers the entire topic of cholesterol denialism, so you might want to watch the entire series and not just the ones that mention Masterjohn.

                The problem with sites like Weston Price (which is also covered by Plant Positive), people Masterjohn, and books like Wheat Belly is that they sound good. They sound legitimate and like they have good references to back up what they say. A lay person has little chance of seeing through their material. I know this because most lay people, even highly (generally) educated and smart people, are taken in. Plant Positive does an amazing job of explaining the faults of their logic and references. But it is not a 30 second sound bite that will help you see through all that. In other words, I’m not going to be able to explain it here in a post. I highly recommend looking at the video series. It’s a time investment, but if you watched Plant Positive’s series, you might be better able to evaluate material from someone like Masterjohn.

                I agree with part of what you are saying. I have often said that no one is wrong about everything just like no one is right about everything. It’s entirely possible that there is some kernel of something legitimate coming out of the Weston Price Foundation or that Masterjohn gets correct. But as a common lay person, I’m not able to weed through enough of that material to figure out which little piece is legitimate vs all the other pieces which are not. I listen to and research multiple sources for my nutrition information, but stay away from sources known to be mostly junk. Or putting it in terms of your post: I don’t think it is possible for most people to treat each case on its merits and even if it was, it’s not worth my time to spend any more time on someone like Chris Masterjohn than I already have done in the past. I recommend most people stay away from those sources.

                1. Well said :-)

                  I don’t have a tertiary qualification of any kind, so I’m a layperson myself, but I’m just not phased by any of it … each to their own…. whatever works for you.

                  Thanks for the reference … I’ve bookmarked it and of course I will watch enough to get the big picture. Its like a giant puzzle … I’m looking everywhere and anywhere.

              2. For leaky gut there is a study on this site that had success with zinc. Dr Klaper has videos on his site where he recommends quercetin and glutamine for 12 weeks.

                1. Hi Wegan,

                  The zinc reference in an article on this site might be hard to find.
                  I was aware of zinc as a factor in restoring the mucosal is one supplement that isn’t so straight forward to add to the regime. I have had difficulty with zinc supplements in the past.
                  I generally prefer to increase nutrients via a food source so I’ll go down that route.
                  My instincts are telling me that intestinal malnutrition (nutrient, protein and fermented fibre metabolite deficiencies).

              1. “Here’s a research article on a prospective study that shows an inverse relationship between high cholesterol and mortality rates in women.”

                There have been many observational studies showing the same thing over many decades (at least in countries where standard Western diets, and therefore high cholesterol, are the norm). They are often used to justify claims that high plasma cholesterol is harmless or even protective.

                I am however surprised that disinterested academic researchers should fail to mention some of the key literature on this topic when making claims about needing to revise or review guidelines, based solely on such studies or a single study as here. Observational studies are notoriously prone to confounders and arguments based on them need to be rigorously examined.

                For example, cancers, Alzheimers, liver disease, alcoholism all cause cholesterol to decline. This has been known for a long time.

                Similar arguments to the one raised in this Norwegian study were raised over 30 years ago (and were old then). However, serious researchers asked
                “Why does someone living in a westernized country have a very low serum cholesterol concentration? Apart from consuming an “atypical” very-low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, the reasons include “genetic resistance” to excess dietary cholesterol,4 an underlying condition causing hypocholesterolemia such as an acute infection5 or “preclinical” disease,6 or, possibly, adverse health behavior such as alcohol abuse.7 Epidemiological studies generally have been unable to distinguish individuals with low cholesterol caused by underlying disease or aberrant health habits from those with “naturally occurring” low cholesterol.8 …………………………….
                [and later observed, commenting on the results of a study finding that stable low serum cholesterol was not associated with increased ill health/mortality, ]
                This conclusion is consistent with results of a recent meta-analysis10 of cause-specific mortality (including unpublished data on noncardiovascular causes of death) from 10 large cohort studies and 2 international studies that concluded that reduced serum cholesterol is not related to excess mortality among cohorts of employed individuals, whereas population-based studies did show a relationship. The investigators proposed that the discrepancy in results was probably due to a higher frequency of risk factors associated with low cholesterol, eg, alcohol abuse and ill health, in population-based study samples compared with employed cohorts.

                Two additional pieces of evidence that suggest that low cholesterol is not a causal factor for noncardiovascular disease are the normal to extended life expectancy experienced by individuals with genetically determined hypobetacholesterolemia11 and populations with low average blood cholesterol levels, such as the Japanese and Greeks, who do not exhibit an excess of noncardiovascular disease deaths.12”

                Additionally, people whose cholesterol is lowered by statin drugs do not have excess mortality – quite the opposite.

                It is perhaps not surprising that people associated with the WPF choose not to mention these facts when they discuss the findings .of studies like this Norwegian one. As i wrote earlier, however, it is surprising and disappointing that academic researchers and authors should do so.

                1. Hi Tom,

                  I’m mulling over your post.

                  To help my understanding what do the numbers mean that start at 4 and go to 12….. are they meant to be links?

                  example from your post:

                  “Apart from consuming an “atypical” very-low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, the reasons include “genetic resistance” to excess dietary cholesterol,4 ”

                  To do your post justice it would require quite a bit of work to find all of those references.

                  1. Yes, they are references to the footnotes in the article I linked to.

                    Is it too cynical to suggest that those individuals who make these claims about high cholesterol not being a risk factor, rely on people not checking the full literature on this matter?

          2. It’s not as clear cut as we have been lead to believe. Here’s a prospective study from Norway that concludes high cholesterol has an inverse relationship to high cholesterol for women i.e. amongst 52000 participants, in a long term study (12 years), those with high cholesterol lived longer.


            I think there are more studies like it out there.

            Sometimes the science is conflicting. Its better if we reference meta studies that combine, and average, the results from many studies. I am not sure what the answer is. I’m still mulling over it. I keep an open mind and read the quality opinions from both sides.

            I think we are probably asking the wrong questions. All of the debate is about which ‘marker’ is the best predictor for heart disease. I’m thinking I would be better off keeping an eye on the outcomes rather than chasing elusive root causes i.e. I believe we can easily measure if any plaque is building up in our veins in various ways e.g. an MRI of the vein in our neck? Something like that would measure our individual response to our diet/environment et. c. Wouldn’t we be better worrying about the change, and rate of change, in a marker like that instead of watching the scientists playing tennis?

            I empathise with you if you have to live alongside loved ones who are killing themselves with what they put in their mouths. Its the same for everyone who has above average knowledge of health issues.
            I’ve spent years trying to improve my family members diets and used every trick in the book but it’s all to no avail. its hard but the lesson to learn is we can’t control others…. not even our own children. The only thing we can control is ourselves. I’m learning to steel myself and let go.

      2. And just one more thing. I got to live with this lovely man for the next million years. Dementia? I don’t think so! (Again see under dementia under topics)

  9. I really thought this comment was mean spirited: ‘Time magazine’s cover exhorting people to eat butter could be viewed as a desperate attempt to revive dwindling print sales.” Time has done outstanding journalism for years. I’m sure its editors try to take on stories that will interest the readers across all platforms. I read Time from Canada.

    1. Anne: It’s great that Time takes on stories that will interest readers across all platforms. However, as you stated even in your own post, people expect Time to have articles of “outstanding journalism”. This was a case of very bad journalism. The question is, how do we explain that? I don’t think Dr. Greger’s statement was meant to be mean. It is almost the only explanation that I can think of myself…

      Good journalism involves doing research so that they do not print incorrect or misleading text. That article was incorrect and misleading right and left. It’s hard to believe that they did any real research to produce that article, and yet it was on the cover! NutritionFacts is full of information explaining why that article was wrong. This page is just one such source. If you haven’t read it yet, you might also be interested in Plant Positive’s response to the Time article. He also shows how inaccurate the Time article was: It would not take an expert on Time’s part to figure out that their article was just wrong. Time’s article was nothing but sensational journalism, not outstanding journalism that you and I both expect.

      I honestly think it’s great that you are enjoying Time in Canada. I hope that in the future, that company produces quality articles that inform rather than mislead so that they are worthy of your trust. They don’t have my trust any more.

      1. Is all this saying there is no good fat, just bad fat? Only more confusion. I try to do the correct thing but what is correct? Whew!!!

        1. ron: No, sorry you got that impression. No all fat is bad. We need fat in our diet. What we don’t need is highly processed oils/extracted pure fats like butter and olive oil.
          The healthiest way to get the fat we need is from whole plant foods. Most plant foods contain some amount of fat, thought it can be a very small amount in some plants. Some plants which contain a lot of fat are foods like nuts, seeds, avocados, tofu, edamame, etc. But even veggies like say broccoli and corn has fat in it? Corn has fat in it? Consider: Corn oil! But corn oil (when the oil/fat is pulled out of the food) is bad for you. Corn as grown (corn on the cob for example) is good for you.
          The reason the article from Time is so insidious is that it takes pseudo science and sells butter without basing the article’s information on valid scientific evidence.
          Does that make sense?

        2. Hi Ron,

          If your interest in nutrition is new it is going to be confusing for a while.
          Anything worth learning is like that.
          Congratulations on your choice to become informed about health issues – it is one of the most valuable things you can do as your body is a God made masterpiece and needs excellent care.

          A few basic tips for you:

          – all food has it’s health pros and cons. If you want to find out the pros of saturated fat/animal fat then go to and other similar sites. If you want to find out about the cons of saturated fat/animal fat then you come here,

          – shop around. Don’t buy all of your Vegan/Vegetarian advice in one place

          – avoid extremes (the Buddha taught the middle way and so do I). If you keep to the middle ground you are likely to be correct e.g. a little bit of Olive Oil wont hurt you but a lot probably will.

          – food not only has to be good for you it has to taste good too. Food not only has nutritional value it also has social value and is a source of pleasure. Don’t be a fanatic … if you have to dine out with others relax and enjoy it and eat some fun food but don’t go overboard and don’t back it up again for a while.

          – everyone is different. find what works for you.

          – almost all of the websites, books et.c are introductory and/or full of rubbish. If you make it to an advanced level go read the research directly e.g. NCBI NIH site and only read selected health gurus.

          – the only person you can trust is yourself end even then be cautious cos you will make mistakes. Be accountable and accept responsibility for your health.

          Note: a small % of people have extreme food intolerances. That is a different cup of tea altogether. On balance you are normal so don’t talk yourself into become an obsessive eater and don’t let others talk you into it.

          Avoid fanatics …. they are sooooooooo boring :-)

          good luck.

          P.S for the pros of saturated fat I like Chris Masterjohn and Dr Ray Peat.
          For info on plant anti-nutrients et. c I quite like the Paleos and Cordain.

          1. Regarding your comment about middle ground and avoiding extremes, Dr G did a recent video about moderation which touches upon this point.

            You also talked about the need to avoid extremes and fanatics. Then you recommended that people should go to Masterjohn, Peat, Cordain and paleo advocates for “information”! You don’t see any contradiction there?

            If people want information about fats and to look beyond the bite-sized information videos on this website, why not suggest that they look at major reports by panels of world class experts instead? The World Health Organization, the World Cancer Research Fund, the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and other reputable bodies like Harvard University have all provided reports on health and nutrition which cover these issues in one form or another(some short and others very long and detailed). .

            1. Re your comment:
              “Regarding your comment about middle ground and avoiding extremes, Dr G did a recent video about moderation which touches upon this point.”

              I don’t require any advice on moderation … I’m quite good in that area. Thanks all the same.

              Re your point:
              “You also talked about the need to avoid extremes and fanatics. Then you recommended that people should go to Masterjohn, Peat, Cordain and paleo advocates for “information”! You don’t see any contradiction there?”

              I advised people to avoid the company of fanatics on the grounds that they are boring.
              Dr Ray peat is definitely not a fanatic. I haven’t read enough of Cordain’s material to know either way.
              I advised people to avoid extreme diets (that rule might apply in other contexts too but that isn’t relevant to this forum).
              I advised people to go to the better Paleo sites/Masterjohn/Peat if they want to give the case for eating saturated fats a good hearing. I stand by that.

              Re your argument:
              “If people want information about fats and to look beyond the bite-sized information videos on this website, why not suggest that they look at major reports by panels of world class experts instead?

              I could have said that but I didn’t.
              There is a good deal of mistrust of ‘big brother’ within the health food movement and so generally the regulators, as standard bearers and resource providers’ aren’t given enough recognition.
              I was replying to a person who I assume was genuine and who appeared to be new. In hindsight I felt I should have pointed out to them that self-managing our health is a lot of work and if he doesn’t want to do the work then he would be better just following the recommendations of our august bodies.

              I’m researching some specific areas of health in detail ….. the sites you mention don’t ‘cut the mustard” for me.

              A point you haven’t considered is that some people come to sites like this for non-nutritional reaons – I understand their motivations and I’m ok with that. What they are looking for they wont find at the FDA or other similar respectable bodies.

              Veganism is part of the New Age Movement. The New Age movement is not about becoming a governing body.


              I’m New Age :-)

              A point you haven’t considered is that some people come to sites like this for

              1. Thanks for your detailed response, Rada. It is obvious that we have very different views on these matters! For example

                “I don’t require any advice on moderation … I’m quite good in that area. Thanks all the same.”
                Dr G’s video makes the point that moderation is fine and dandy if all you want is moderate risk of heart disease and of the other chronic diseases common in Western countries.

                “There is a good deal of mistrust of ‘big brother’ within the health food movement and so generally the regulators, as standard bearers and resource providers’ aren’t given enough recognition”
                Yes, it is very difficult to make a living promoting fad diets, and selling books, pills and potions, when people keep pointing out what the science actually shows. Healthy scepticism is good and an essential part of scientific inquiry but all too many people and websites that present themselves as promoting healthy foods resort to bizarre conspiracy theories in an attempt to explain why the scientific evidence does not validate their opinions. That’s why I expressed surprise that you suggested that the poster should look at the views of Peat, Cordain etc

                “A point you haven’t considered is that some people come to sites like this for non-nutritional reaons”
                It does not really matter why people come to this site. It is about nutrition and health. That is its raison d’etre
                “The goal of this website is to present you and your doctor with the results of the latest in peer-reviewed nutrition and health research, presented in a way that is easy to understand.”

                “Veganism is part of the New Age Movement. The New Age movement is not about becoming a governing body.”
                If you say so. I could not say because I am neither a vegan nor a New Ager. But this site is not about either veganism or New Age beliefs. Dr G and the site advocate whole food plant based diets (because that is what the science shows are optimal). He has pointed out on numerous occasions that many vegan diets are unhealthy.

                1. Tom,

                  It wasn’t a detailed response as I was in the middle of doing some house painting and just peeled off a quickie in my lunch break .. my experience of forums is that out of respect for the forum, and the people who are posting, it’s polite to respond in a timely manner and it produces a better outcome, albeit at the expense of my credibility.

                  I am aware of the difference in our natures as I am aware of the difference between myself and others. It’s fundamental to self-awareness.
                  Diversity is one of the strengths of online forums.
                  Everyone brings something different to the party and people select from that what they want in a discrete way.

                  Re moderate behaviour:

                  You are taking what I said out of context, whether by accident or design.
                  As a result I have no further comment to make on that subject.

                  Re Cordain/Masterjohn/Peat

                  They are all qualified in science, which is mainstream in, if not a pillar of, modern culture.
                  In science there is no such thing as an extreme idea, there are only proven and unproven hypotheses.
                  I have found some very good resources at their sites.
                  I’m capable of deciding which of their ideas to accept and reject.
                  I’m confident others are capable of doing the same, or recognising they are out of their depth and looking elsewhere for guidance on their health.

                  Everywhere I go I am surrounded by advertising, much of it subliminal. I don’t think its healthy but it is out of my control.
                  Sometimes it influences me to buy but it doesn’t influence me to believe something I can’t believe because it’s unbelievable.
                  The fact that someone is selling something doesn’t necessarily mean the product is sub-standard.
                  Its normal for products to have variable quality.
                  Let the buyer beware.
                  However, I gave you a reasonable answer to your objection to my reference to the above gentlemen the first time so on that basis I having no further comment to make on that subject either.

                  Re reputable (government) bodies”

                  I find some very good resources there, for example at the USDA and the IOM, however they are providing guidelines for the majority and the answers I am looking for aren’t to be found in their literature.

                  Re Vegans and the New Age:

                  As I am in the New Age Movement up to my ears I think I understand the current trends in force in the world and I think I understand people involved in the various groups that are making the trends. Based on my insight I offered you an explanation why people in the health movement do not tend to go to the government sites for guidance and that explanation is that the New Agers do not defer to governments or secular leaders. At it’s heart the New Age Movement is a spiritual movement and we defer to our own leaders who by default are also our spiritual leaders.
                  Whatever is in a persons heart is what I see and what is on their lips is what I hear.
                  A % of people at this site are New Agers and they act accordingly. Others are not and they run their agendas .. all perfectly normal.
                  I have nothing further to say about this subject either because it is off-topic.

                  1. Thanks for your response Rada. I think I disagree with many of them but don’t really understand your New Age statements so, yes, let’s end it.

                    However, regarding your statement “In science there is no such thing as an extreme idea, there are only proven and unproven hypotheses.”, I have to point out that it was you first wrote “avoid extremes”. In any case, I only have a layperson’s understanding of science but aren’t you forgetting about disproven hypotheses?

                    1. Tom,

                      Yes, I forgot about disproven. Thanks, I like to keep it neat and complete :-)

                      The point of discussion is to learn from each other and/or provide some good content for others.
                      I’m asking to close it off because I’m not confident any further comment would make good copy.
                      Thanks, you’re keeping me honest not to mention giving me a lot of homework to do.

                2. Re your statement:
                  “. Dr G and the site advocate whole food plant based diets (because that is what the science shows are optimal). He has pointed out on numerous occasions that many vegan diets are unhealthy.”

                  What is the difference between a Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) diet and a Vegan diet?

                  I understand that people will implement a Vegan diet in different ways but how many Vegan diets are there i.e. how are all the Vegan diets classified and defined? I would like to know so that I know the difference when I see them.

                  Science is very fragmented, there is far too much for any individual to read carefully and new science is coming along all of the time.
                  It doesn’t show that WFPB diets are optimal. That is Dr Greger’s interpretation of the science that is currently available to him. Other interpreters are following the same song-sheet and singing a different tune.
                  Sigh, what’s a man to too?

                  1. Well, a whole food plant-based diet does not have to be exclusively plant, it just has to be based on plants. The Okinawan diet for example was based on plants – it consisted of about 95% plant foods (so it is regarded as a plant-based diet).

                    My understanding is that a completely vegetarian diet (often called a vegan diet) is an exclusively plant food diet – ie no animal foods at all so no meat, fish, eggs, dairy or animal products such as gelatin etc. A veget-arian diet is simply a diet of vegetables. And a vegetable is any edible plant or plant part

                    As an extreme example, an alcoholic living on whisky and cigarettes is consuming a “vegan” diet so is a college kid living on beer and chips. They are unhealthy diets. So are “vegan” diets based on white bread, pasta, chips/fries, vegetable oils and packaged and processed “vegan” foods.

                  2. rada: You wrote, “Other interpreters are following the same song-sheet and singing a different tune.” The problem is that those others are following a broken song-sheet–one proven to produce bad noise. When paleo sites are basing their arguments on faulty science, it really is not the same song-sheet. As I mentioned before, Plant Positive would arm you with the complete picture for finding those flaws. But if you don’t want to invest in Plant Positive, you can *start* to educate yourself with some videos here on NutritionFacts:
                    To my knowledge, there are no such studies which prove that cholesterol is not harmful. There are some studies which *claim* to show that cholesterol is not harmful, but those studies have fatal flaws. In other words, they use tricks based on well known human biology characteristics in order to fool people.
                    On the next pages are articles that talk about how we know that dietary cholesterol affects blood cholesterol (and yes, it is harmful). This is just for starters. NutritionFacts has a *whole* lot more about what the body of evidence says about cholesterol. I would encourage you to investigate.
                    You say that everyone should be able to go to the paleo sites and figure out what is valid and what is not. I say the average person is unable to look at studies like the ones that Dr. Greger points out above and see the flaws, let alone is willing to check the studies to begin with. Thus only extremely educated experts should be going to paleo sites. All a lay person will come away with from those sites is an invalid understanding of what the body of scientific evidence is actually telling us.
                    I am bringing this up again, because now you are actually referring people to those faulty sites and arguing with others about their validity. You have shown no indication that you know how to see through the lies perpetrated on those sites. You seem to think that those “experts” (often they are not experts) and sites are as equally valid as the information presented on say NutritionFacts. Before you refer anyone else to say Masterjohn or Cordain, I would highly encourage you to check out PlantPositive and the NutritionFacts videos linked to above.

                    1. Thea,

                      Thank you so much for the energy you put into helping me and others.
                      I see you are all heart :-)
                      It can be difficult to find the relevant videos at this site, not knowing it as well as yourself, so I appreciate you giving me a leg-up.
                      I already made a commitment to you to ‘take in’ the Plant Positive site.
                      When I make a commitment to someone I keep it, barring accident or injury et.c.
                      I am going to search there for the critique of Masterjohns work.
                      Other than that the ‘discussion’ on the unworthiness of three amigos (Masterjohn/Peat/Cordain) has been done to death. Please give it a rest.

                      I only posted one link to a Masterjohns article and two links to Peat articles.
                      I have invited you and others to critique those the logic or referenced research in those articles.
                      You declined so for ever hold your peace.

                      Re “some people will be harmed by the mistruths the will find at certain sites”.

                      Yes, they will.
                      Knowledge is power and it is also dangerous.
                      It’s an occupational hazard of educators that they are caught between the devil and the deep sea; if they publish some people will be harmed and if they don’t publish other people will be harmed.

                      I’m not going to become an internet sensor or participate in character assassination.

  10. It seems to me that the key to understanding where their ‘study’ distorts the truth lies in their own summary statement where they: – “concluded that the evidence did not clearly support guidelines that encouraged high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of saturated fats” … REALLY what intelligent person who understands the value of whole plant foods has ever suggested that humans would be healthier having a “high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acid”? Both Dr. Greger and Dr. Esselstyn come to mind immediately as advocating whole plant foods and ultra-low or no oil. Dr. Greger’s video “Fatty Meals May Impair Artery Function” clearly states: “Researchers found that low-fat meals tend to improve endothelial
    function, and high-fat meals tend to worsen endothelial function. And
    this goes for animal fat, as well as isolated plant fats—sunflower oil,
    in this case.” Also see Dr. Esselstyn’s video “No Oil – Not even Olive Oil”

  11. I think that Gregers views are limited… He rarely speaks about grass fed pasture raised milk cows vs factory farm cows… It’s obvious that the end consumer product will be different given the cows overall health and nutrition in accordance to its own DNA. Greger rarely talks about this…. Even when we know that eggs that are pastured, like Joel Salatins, have optimal omega ratios and provide much more nutrients per calorie. I’m sure Greger is a smart enough guy to objectively look at this dilemma in the future. If he fails to objectively look at this dillema, which he clearly has, he will be yet another medical professional with “man with a hammer syndrome”

    1. Chase that is what he has done. Go up to topics and pick one you are interested in. Look into the sources cited section. Open up the research he posts. What do you think?

      Does it seem logical to you that a human should drink the milk of another animal? As though there is some health benefit? For some it causes stomach pain. Others acne. Look under dairy above and see if there is anything that you can learn.

        1. Aw. Good question but I am not an expert on that topic and I have never thought about it or researched it. But I bet if we wait long enough someone will know. I would think soy milk formula. I know my niece used donated human milk. Wet nurse?

        2. There are soy baby formulas available. Presumably these do not have all the animal hormones that would be found in cow milk formulas. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on our point of view.
          The conventional view is still that breast fed is best of course but cow’s milk formulas should be the next choice. Nevertheless a major review in 2010 by the NIH concluded that there is “minimal concern with soy infant formulas. As WFPB comments, donated human milk seems the best option.

    2. Where is the evidence that pastured products are actually good for us (as opposed to simply less unhealthy)?

      They may well be less unhealthy than factory farmed products but they still contain trans fats, saturated fat, cholesterol and other substances associated with health issues.

      We already know that consuming meat from pasture-fed animals is associated with increased cancer risk. Why therefore should we just assume that other pasture-fed products are actually good for us?

  12. This is completely distorted. Here is the Time magazine article.

    The article never exhorted people to eat butter. It only said that butter or saturated fat is not as bad as once thought, although it may not beneficial either. Between sugar, processed food, margarine and butter then butter is better. Between a coke and blueberry then butter is near the bottom but it’s better than coke.

    Saturated fat does not kill people as much as sugar, transfat and processed foods. But butter should be consumed in moderation, or avoided altogether if you can but it is not a poison like once thought.

    1. It think you misunderstand the take-away message here.

      There may be other foods that are more unhealthy but that does not mean that butter is actually good for you or even harmless. Which is what the Time article appears to imply. It is like saying that being punched is less dangerous than being shot so we should go out and seek to be punched.

      1. What the article really says is similarly to drinking beer, it’s not good for you if you drink a lot but a few beer here and there is not going to kill you. But drinking soda once in a while does harm you. Smoking once in a while does harm you. Using cell phone all the time may give you harmful radiation but I would not go back to a desk phone. The distinction is that if you just call everything a poison then soon you will act like crying wolf and nobody will listen to you.

  13. Harvard Medical School experts reveal

    Why doctors are rethinking cholesterol — and you should too

    Why your doctor may not be as concerned about your cholesterol”numbers” as he or she once was

    How elevated blood sugar can damage the lining of your arteries and make your blood more likely to clot

    Why some margarines that claim to help lower cholesterol may not work for you

    How walking just two hours a week can cut your chances of dying early from cardiovascular disease by up to 53%

    The popular ingredient that could make you twice as likely to die from heart disease

    Why you should get a CRP test — a marker for cardiovascular risk — even if your cholesterol levels are fine

      1. Whenever Harvard or any reputable research organization or health doctor say something that does not fit certain viewpoint then it’s a lie or conflict of interest. When it fits then that’s evidence based truth.

        1. You don’t consider that there is a difference between advertising copy and a scientific study or a serious assessment of the evidence?

          In any case, I am pretty sure that Harvard is not saying high dietary and high plasma cholesterol are harmless.

          So, it is not clear to me just what you think (or hope) this promotional material from 2014 actually means. Perhaps you could enlighten me because I still have no real idea why you posted it.

          I could guess of course but your copy and paste text is so vague that it can imply all sorts of things. It’s probably best, therefore, to get it from the horse’s mouth.

  14. If one were to consume a small amount of good butter, nuts and seeds I do not think the amount of saturated fat would be detrimental to health given the remainder of daily consumption is whole plant-based. I said good butter because I think it is very difficult to find and is certainly not the run-of-the-mill commercial butter. Most milk is highly contaminated with toxins,hormones and antibiotics. Personally,I do not consume any dairy products and feel I get sufficient saturated fat from nuts, seeds and avocado. If you feel the hunt for good butter is worth it and consume it in moderation but focus on whole plant-based products for the remainder of your diet I doubt it is going to be the primary cause of your death.

    1. Butter, especially grass-fed, is a great source of a fatty acid called.Conjugated Linoleic Acid. CLA has been shown to have anti-cancer properties as well as lowering body fat percentage in humans

      Butter is an excellent source of the 4-carbon fatty acid butyrate, which can have various health benefits. Butyrate is anti-inflammatory and has powerful protective effects on the digestive system.

      One negative thing about butter is that it is high in calorie. For calorie restriction purpose then you should take into account the high calorie of butter into account.

      But there is nothing harmful in butter in term of saturated fat or growth factor.

      Eat butter in moderation if you do consume it.

      1. You make many assertions but offer no evidence to support them.

        For a scientific assessment of CLA, Medscape is probably a good place to start

        As for nothing harmful in butter, I doubt that eg

        Another Medscape article summarises the results of the latest studies relating to butter. Its findings do not support your opinions.

    1. Re particle size, note that a (considerably more recent) review article said e.g.

      “Regardless of size, LDL particles are atherogenic.”
      “Some epidemiological studies found that small LDL particles are more atherogenic than large ones, but this relationship usually disappears in more fully adjusted analyses, including insulin resistance–associated factors, including diabetes, hypertriglyceridemia, low HDL-C, and apo B (12).”

      1. I’m on the trail of the missing oxidised LDL particles.
        There is a body of opinion that they are the ones doing the damage.
        The mystery to me is how and why they become oxidised.
        Any thoughts on the subject?

          1. Re oxidised LDL.

            Now your talking!

            I have some papers that talk about the possible benefits and also a much larger number of papers that talk about the possible negatives (the root cause of vascular endothelial damage?). Some papers suggest an excess of polyunsaturated oils are to blame as they readily oxidise in situ. Other papers suggest that even the HDL particles oxidise and do damage.

            I’ll report back when I reach a provisional conclusion – 2000 documents later ;-)

  15. More than three decades ago I concluded that saturated fats are healthy if they are consumed in the context of adequate supportive nutrition. At the time I also believed added sugars to be the most problematic component in our modernized food supply. I have since changed my mind. Essential fatty acid research indicates that linoleic acid may be more lethal than added sugars at intermediate intakes. Interestingly, very high intakes of linoleic acid seem to lower risk for heart attack and improve metabolic markers for disease to boot. How does that work? . As Randy Wysong, DVM noted, “It is interesting that the list of potential problems from the use of free lipids corresponds closely with the list of problems often reported to be prevented or cured with the use of such lipids…Such confusion of results is likely due to study design… and the ability of many substances to cause or reverse effects at different dosages.”

    Those reading this comment who would like to review the scientific evidence that caused me t alter my views may Google the phrases: S. L. Malhotra BMJ AJCN, Endocannabinoids linoleic acid, and Jeff Volek saturated fat.

    In addition to the scientific evidence, there are clues suggesting that the government’s dietary advice to replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats is problematic. For example:

  16. Funny all the fuss, but for me the one million dollar question is can we live without grass-fed/pastured food all my life and be healthy?in other word do we HAVE TO add them to my WPFB diet or can i just do well without any?

  17. to all those espousing the supposed virtues of “pasture raised” animal products, along with the environmental devastation inherent in
    ALL animal products (, you are also completely ignoring the innocent, helpless non-human victims of this obscene atrocity:

  18. As Dr. Greger has mentioned, there is an agenda to get saturated fat into the American diet. Big Industry has many influences that are affecting what is put into the current medical literature. For people interested in the Chowdhury meta-analysis that Dr. Greger references in this article, I would recommend watching this video recording on Plant based diets and disease,
    the current state of the evidence by Brenda Davis. About 38:58 into this video, for about 2 minutes, Brenda said she emailed Francesca Crowe, a co-author of the Chowdhury study, who said they found a big difference in people eating the most saturated fat but when they submitted the paper to a journal it was not accepted. It was nothing new. So the lead author reworked the data taking out some of the studies and resubmitted it with a different finding and it got accepted…19 of the 20 studies they used deliberately compared populations with very little difference in saturated fat intake. This is just like all the studies that say that “low fat diets” have no effect on disease outcomes when the “low fat diets” were 30 % fat, compared to standard higher fat diets.

    1. Richard: It took me a bit of time to get through it, but that was a fantastic talk! I really appreciate you providing the link. The part you pointed out was good, but the whole talk is good too. I’ve heard Brenda Davis talk about the Marshal Islands before, but this talk had more details, all of which are so interesting. Thank you! :-)

    1. Interesting question. I do not think that there is a simple answer because the bacterial, yeast and metabolite contents of kefirs vary so much between the different types. Even within the same type (milk ,water etc) different (bacterial/yeast) strains may be used depending on the brand, culture etc.

      As for the immune booster claims, I understand that these are based on rat and mice studies, using animals eating standard laboratory diets They may be relevant to humans but we can’t be sure, especially if the humans concerned already are eating healthy WFPB diets.

      This (rather gushing) technical review was published five months ago and may be helpful.

  19. What I am intrigued about is that the ratio of saturated + monounsaturated fat to polyunsaturated fat, in mothers milk, is over 7.
    The amount of milk consumed, per day, depends on age but for all cases that is a lot of fat, of which 50% is saturated.
    Does anybody know why babies don’t get atherosclerosis?

    From the USDA database ( 01107, Milk, human, mature, fluid) per 100g:

    Water g 87.5
    Energy kcal 70
    Energy kJ 291
    Protein g 1.03
    Total lipid (fat) g 4.38 (saturated 2.009g, monounsaturated 1.658g, polyunsaturated 0.497g)
    Ash g 0.2
    Carbohydrate, by difference g 6.89
    Fiber, total dietary g 0
    Sugars, total g 6.89

    This is milk from American mothers but as I recall composition of mothers milk does vary somewhat with diet but overall the ratios are close to that.

    1. rada: re: “Does anybody know why babies don’t get atherosclerosis?” My understanding is that it takes a good decade or so to start getting atherosclerosis. American children start to get atherosclerosis streaks by the age of 10. (Dr. Greger has a video about this.) Babies, as long as they are weaned in time (ie, don’t keep breast feeding off of other animals or eating their eggs or flesh) are not on dairy long enough to get atherosclerosis. That’s my understanding anyway.

      For a bit of perspective: The food that is ideal for a growing infant is not necessarily the same as the food that is good past being weaned. Think of any herbivore mammal like say a deer. The babies feed on breast milk just like any other mammal. But after infancy, the best food for optimum health for that animal is a diet of completely different makeup.

      1. Re your statement:
        “But after infancy, the best food for optimum health for that animal is a diet of completely different makeup.”

        Yes, that’s a good point but still Mother Nature saw fit to load the babies diet, for the first year or two, with fat, especially saturated fat. Some people say it is because the baby is growing so fast and that the brain especially is growing fast and needs saturated fat. I haven’t dug into that one as yet (I have it on my long list of interesting questions).

        Re your point:
        ” American children start to get atherosclerosis streaks by the age of 10. ”

        I don’t think we can draw a line from mothers milk to the health of our children.
        These days very few mothers are breast feeding and the babies go straight onto processed food.
        The research literature has a lot of examples of the work food technologists put into baby food in an effort to replicate mothers milk e.g. baby formula contains processed vegetable oils as a surrogate for the lipid content in human milk.

        1. rada: I’m not sure you understood my second point? I’m just saying that American children effectively continue to nurse after being weaned because they eat dairy and lots of other high saturated fat products. And we know that American children start to get fatty streaks in their blood by age 10. The point is that it takes about a decade of eating high in saturated fat and cholesterol. So, that’s why babies are not getting the fatty streaks. They haven’t had time.
          On the other hand, in other countries where people do not continue to nurse and eat other animal products after being weaned (ie, people on a whole plant food based diet), those people do not get the fatty streaks in their blood at any age. At least that my understanding.

  20. well, i didn’t realize that this blog post was biased until I started watching more videos. wow. To disregard the latest in food research studies and chock it up to just ‘the dairy industry is trying to turn their image around’ is very dismissive. Is there any documentation that the Dairy industry funded these studies? I reject the argument on FDA recommendations, because THEY’RE the ones obeying the Food & Dairy industry claims and THEY’RE the ones getting $$$ from them to fund biased studies. Come on guys, I can’t be the only one who knows this.

    Most scientific and medical professionals advocating for high-fat diets don’t just say, “Eat lots of butter. nom nom nom”, because that would be irresponsible. Instead the focus is on very high quality fats, e.g. grassfed, organic butter and grass fed meat (which is higher in Omega 3’s than conventional meat being higher in Omega 6’s.) It’s isn’t a one say street, and a vegan diet isn’t the best diet for everyone. I was one for 5 years, yet now that I’ve started eating wild salmon, pasture eggs, & organic, grass fed ghee, I have reversed my skin conditions, joint pain, and feel so much better.

    Do what works for YOU!

    1. The main reason for not eating meat et.c. is to save animals from harm. The claims that an animal free diet has a smaller environmental footprint or is nutritionally superior are debateable.
      Paleo and modern vegetarianism are very similar, except for the animal factor, and both are good at identifying nutritional risk factors and finding alternative,s although in modern society foods that were once safe are now risky e.g. wholefoods were previously recommended for the nutrients in the husk, or skin, but today the husk or skin is likely to contain pesticides or possibly mold residues.

      Vegetarian diets can be very healthy but they are inconvenient and take a lot of management. The only issue I have with them is that people can easily get it wrong. It doesn’t help when advocates present biased material or expend a lot of energy debunking their opponents and creating resources.
      I quite like Dr Mercola because he doesn’t do that. He walks the talk by assessing things on their merit, being politically active, making suitable products more readily available, promoting other health advocates and supporting local farmers and producers.

      Diets including animal products can also be healthy but they are almost idiot proof …. just eat a little quality animal food, some fruit and veges and you are there.

      I would prefer to be on a Vegan diet but personal nutritional factors prevent that at the moment.
      On top pf that social factors add an additional degree of difficulty i.e. my wife isn’t going there and you can only go so far with cooking separate meals and avoiding dining out or social events.
      So, yes. We do have to do what works for us.


      I think having the support of good health professionals is an important part of the equation.
      We desperately need more progressive doctors.
      Sadly many are decades behind the times.

  21. Hello,
    Can someone please break down this article for me:

    It’s a New York Times article that states the sugar industry paid Harvard scientists in the 60s to state that saturated fat, not sugar was the culprit in heart disease. Here’s the title of the 1967 published article on the nih website:
    N Engl J Med. 1967 Aug 3;277(5):245-7 concl.
    Dietary fats, carbohydrates and atherosclerotic vascular disease.
    McGandy RB, Hegsted DM, Stare FJ.

    The upshot of the NYT article states the 1967 journal article is an example of how sugar influenced our dietary guidelines. So my question is if sugar paid for studies that say saturated fat is bad and causes heart disease, how do we trust that animal products really are the source of the problem?

    I don’t know what to believe anymore –
    Thanks for your help!

  22. There’s this diet out there, and a popular “biohacking” methodology called the Bulletproof Diet. The main points the diet seems to stand on are high quality [grass-fed] fats, dairy, and animal protein– of course with a healthy balance of produce. One way this diet landed its popularity is through the coffee– mixing butter with the coffee for a sustained release of energy for longer than a simple coffee would provide.

    So, the creator of the Bulletproof diet claims to be aiming to live to be 180 years old. But after reading everything on this website, I find it VERY hard to believe this could be a sustainable diet. And his arguments sometimes land in the grey area: Mainstream science will take forever to catch up, and these solutions are discovered and tinkered through open source biohacking trials.

    Is anyone else familiar with the Bulletproof diet? If so do you have an opinion as to how it fits in with Dr. Greger’s scientific paradigm?

    Bulletproof diet PDF is here for anyone who isnt familiar:

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      I tried to find information about this diet on a scientific paper, but was not successful.

      From the PDF link you have attached there are a number of concerns I have about this diet, please check each point below:



      animal protein

      I think while some aspects of it do fit into science, such as the inclusion of veg, fruit, spices, starch & even here, portion sizes are perhaps not so high as it should be. Other aspects of it, not so much as there is extensive literature covered by Dr Greger that points to the exact opposite approach.

      Hope this answer helps

    2. Hi Bon,

      Here are two links to one of the guys who is one of the main proponents of ‘the health benefits of saturated fat’…… Dr Aseem Malhotra cardiologist.

      New York Times/Well
      An Unconventional Cardiologist Promotes a High-Fat Diet
      By Anahad O’Connor August 23, 2016 3:56 pm


      At the other end of that spectrum you have Dr Caldwell Esselsteyn and his ‘heart reversal’ studies/book who performed some landmark research.

      It’s good that you are interested in optimal nutrition at a young age as prevention is better than looking for a cure later.
      Be careful, you only have one precious body ….. if you inadvertently damage it, in some cases there is no way back.
      Don’t experiment with your body …… only try low risk strategies and only if you understand the pros and cons 100% beforehand.
      Find an empathetic health professional and get their opinion on what you are doing.

      If you hang around with bodybuilders they will bias your thinking their way; likewise Vegans et. c. Choose your friends carefully and be on your guard not to be unduly influenced …. be your own man not an owned man!

      Re ‘how does the BP diet sit with NutritionFacts?

      Dr Greger is a confirmed Vegetarian so he doesn’t recommend meat, fish, eggs or dairy.
      If we look at the macronutrients there is not a lot of dissension over protein, vitamins and minerals et. c ……. we all agree we can easily meet RDI’s for those groups even if it requires a supplement.
      All of the argument, and the hard decisions are based around where to get our energy.
      We only have two choices; carbs (which includes sugars) or fat (an oil is a fat that is liquid at room temp).
      Fats are twice as energy dense as carbs so they appeal if we have a high energy lifestyle.
      Once we start talking about energy sources all of the discussion on cholesterol and heart predictive biomarkers come in.

      There is no 100% correct answer to any of it ….. everything is relative; if you are young and healthy what constitutes a dietary risk to you is different to that for an older person who has had an adverse cardiac event and the amount of risk your body can tolerate is different to theirs.

      Re the bulletproof diet:

      It’s not new … just a well known idea with a new name.
      For me Dr Ray Peat dot com is the most interesting and informative theorist on low starch diets. (he also has a YouTube audio channel).

      I will make a separate post, with some specific comments on the BP diet, later.

    3. Re BulletproofRoadmap_Rebrand_outlined pdf file from blog.bulletproof dotcom

      It’s a very well presented summary of ‘someones’ version of this diet.
      I like the format with green, orange and red ‘foodzones’.
      I use a similar method myself …. IMO it is the easiest way to manage a diet as it allows some flexibility based around a staple safe diet and the ‘no go zone’ is clearly defined. It’s an informal adaption of Risk Analysis, as used in engineering or occupational safety, where exposure * severity == consequence. So, for any food I need to decide how severe the effect of eating it will be before I decide whether to eat it, or not, and how much/how often to eat it.

      Some of the BulletProof ratings I agree with and some I don’t (note that I am only giving an opinion as I don’t have time to provide citations et. c)

      Generally, I always evaluate the claims of an author more vigorously if they are selling something, so, the fact that several ‘proprietary’ products receive top billing, in their category is ’cause for pause’. Also, I say no to fasting …. IMO it has some negative health outcomes.

      1) Beverages:

      – no tea or coffee (they are a stimulant and not a health food. They might contain pesticides, fumigants or mycotoxins from fungi. The long term effect of caffeine on the brain is not researched well enough for my liking).
      – no nut milks (no processed foods … its hard to find one without sugar and oil anyway… plus no nut drinks. Limit the nuts because of the PUFAs )
      – no sweet drinks of any kind (that includes coconut water and fruit juice). Only eat sweets that have their fibre intact i.e. keep the ratio of fibre/sugar in your diet up to help avoid gut dysbiosis (bacteria like fibre and that helps crowd out the sugar feeding yeasts).
      – no Kombucha (if you’re not scrupulous when cleaning your gear you might give yourself a wild yeast or bacterial infection )
      – no tap water (only purified water)
      – no alcohol

      2) Veges

      Some people choose to avoid veges with high levels of anti-nutrients however I don’t understand how the BP diet list was ordered.

      – yes to organic vege (since the mid 1990’s the sales of systemic plant pesticides have been going through the roof. Someone’s using it somewhere. Not for me thanks)

      3. Oils and fats

      – The jury is still out on this one too, including fish oils.
      I wouldn’t eat some of the things on that list and not in the amounts that some people do (say no to separated fats and processed oils, except a small amount of Olive oil for taste).

      – no cacao butter (refer to my comments on coffee). Chocolate is not a health food … it’s a fun food == Christmas treat only.

      4. Nuts and seeds

      – handle with care.
      – coconut meat should be eaten with caution (hard to digest fibre type == constipation)
      – coconut oil may contain mycotoxins from fungi if sourced from dried nuts.

      5. dairy and meat/fish

      – Vegans look for any reason they can find to convince others to stop others eating dairy/meat/fish and eggs.
      The jury is still out on some of the issues.

      – A % of people don’t eat the above because of the risk of acquiring pathogens et. c.
      Pathogens will not pass through equally to all products however but you have to know your products and be very selective if you want to eat it.
      It is more likely that more harm has been done, universally, by antibiotics in meat and farmed fish than by nutritional factors. Just because meat is labelled grass-fed doesn’t mean it is anti-biotic or pesticide free.

      – eating too much protein is just a waste of money and resources. It has a slight negative impact on health too.

      – colostrum has a lot of unknown factors (handle with care).

      – there is nothing special about gelatin … it’s just a cheap form of protein.

      – No, to protein isolates, like whey. Just eat food with good protein content.

      – some people are allergic to dairy and now we have to consider A1 or A2 types as well.

      6. starch

      – resistant starch might be just a fad. Its more to do with weight loss isn’t it?
      Just eat plenty of fibrous foods and that will do it.
      – in general some grains and legumes contain lectins that cause gastro trouble so it is safer to stay with starchy veges most of the time.
      – we do need some carbs so I wouldn’t go as low as some do.
      – toady whole grains/legumes are at risk of containing pesticides so let the buyer beware.

      7. fruit

      Yes to fruit as long as it is organic.
      There is a lot of argument about how much we should eat.
      The fibre content of fruit, and dried fruit, makes its behaviour, when eaten, different to processed sugars).

      8. spices

      – handle with care
      – no vinegars
      – fresh or organic only (prone to mycotoxins and contaminants)

      9. sweeteners

      – none of any kind, especially artificial sweeteners, and including honey/maple syrup.
      (honey is a fun food not a health food – its OK as an occasional treat depending on health status)

      10 cooking

      It hasn’t been fully established what the benefits of raw food are. Keep a good % of raw food in your diet to be on te safe side.

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