Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Epic Saturated Fat Experiment

Read the full article here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Epic Saturated Fat Experiment
The Effects of 15 days of 100 Grams of Saturated Fat Per Day on Cholesterol Levels in a healthy adult male.
By: Bryan Stell: BS West Chester University PA Exercise Science/Nutrition

Objective: It is widely believed that saturated fat in the diet increases blood cholesterol levels, promotes poor health as well as the progression of heart disease and atherosclerosis. The goal of this experiment is to compare pre and post bloodwork following 15 days of ~100g/saturated fat consumption per day to determine if there is any merit in this widely held belief.

Introduction: Saturated fat and cholesterol have long been avoided in the diet due to their believed link to heart disease and atherosclerosis. When saturated fat crosses the lips, some ignorant fool may shout " OMG, Yer gonna have a heart attack!" Or, "that bacon is clogging your arteries." For some 50 years food marketers and pharmaceutical companies have perpetuated these ideas, even though science is demonstrating that total cholesterol is an awful predictor of coronary heart disease (CHD) and that total LDL cholesterol or "bad" cholesterol is not much better. Furthermore, the entire case against saturated fat is inextricably linked to the idea that high cholesterol causes heart disease and that saturated fat in the diet increases blood cholesterol levels.
The USDA's 2010 dietary guidelines continue with the vilification of saturated fats by recommending they make up no more than 7% of one's daily caloric intake. This is down from a previously recommended upper limit of 10%. Instead they recommend replacing saturated fats with more mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats as well as carbohydrates. *Even though polyunsaturated fats (vegetable oils) lower HDL (good cholesterol), cause inflammation, and perhaps cancer (14). Furthermore, the governments recommendation for replacing saturated fats with a higher carbohydrate intake can exacerbate the atherogenic dyslipidemia associated with insulin resistance and obesity, increased triglycerides, small LDL particles (the "bad-bad" cholesterol) and reduced HDL ((the "good" cholesterol)16), especially if the carbohydrates are the refined variety.

 It hasn't always been this way. Saturated fats where once a staple of a healthy diet. Our paleolithic ancestors prized animal fat and would preferentially consume it over leaner animal tissue(1). Our great grandfathers and their grandfathers would enjoy cholesterol rich foods such as eggs and bacon daily without thinking twice about their arteries clogging.
Results: Positive or Anti-atherogenic results:
Total LDL dropped from 111 to 106 mg/dl.
IDL dropped from 17 to 6 mg/dl.
HDL increased from 60 to 76 mg/dl.
HDL2 increased from 17 to 24 mg/dl.
HDL3 increased from 43 to 52 mg/dl.
Total VLDL decreased from 22 to 18 mg/dl.
VLDL3 decreased from 13 to 11 mg/dl mg/dl.
Triglycerides decreased from 100 to 66 mg/dl.
Non-HDL cholesterol decreased from 133 to 124 mg/dl.
Remnant lipoproteins IDL+VLD3 decreased from 30 to 19mg/dl.
Testosterone increased from 586 to 841 ng/dl.
Results: Negative or potentially atherogenic:
Total Cholesterol increased from 192 to 200 mg/dl.
Lipoprotein A increased from 6 to 8 mg/dl.
In summary, the ONLY negative blood marker found could be lipoprotein A, which is one of the "bad-bad" LDL cholesterols increased from 6-8 mg/dl. Total cholesterol did increase by 8 mg/dl but the overall picture of total cholesterol was by all accounts greatly improved. Most significantly, Testosterone increased ~70%, from 586-841 and triglycerides decreased 34%, dropping from 100 to 66. HDL also increased ~27%, from 60 to 76.

Trigylcerides to HDL ("the good cholesterol") ratio has statistically shown to be one of the most potent predictors of heart disease (17, 18), and also all cause mortality (19). A Harvard study found that people with the highest ratio of triglycerides to HDL had 16x the risk of heart attack as those with the lowest ratio. Furthermore, high triglycerides alone increased the risk by 3x. Triglycerides/HDL was found to be a better predictor of heart disease than HDL/LDL and certainly total cholesterol. So in terms of the triglyceride to HDL ratio:
  • 2 or less is considered ideal
  • 2-4 is at risk
  • 4-6 high risk
  • 6+ plan a funeral
Our subjects Triglyceride/HDL ratio pre-bacon rich diet was (100/60) or 1.6 which is considered ideal. Post SFA and cholesterol rich diet intervention his ratio improved to 66/76 or .87 which is better than ideal.

 Read the full article here.

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