Saturday, February 20, 2010

Weston Price Foundation is right about saturated fats

The Weston Price Foundation preaches that you should eat high nutrient foods. Nutrients that are fat soluble like vitamin A, carotenoids, vitamin D, vitamin K, and vitamin E get concentrated by animals into their fats. This means that one should eat foods that are high in fat, as these are high in the fat soluble nutrients. For example they champion eating things like:
  • Eggs (spot the difference between free range and caged to the left).
  • Dairy products
  • Fatty fish, fish eggs, deep sea fish
  • Livers and kidneys 
  • Cold pressed oils (olive, avocado etc) 
Clearly these animals/plants must be feed a high nutrient diet. Therefore they need to be out in the sun, eating fresh grass, fresh seeds, fresh insects (for fish and chickens) etc.

In a natural system where ever you find fat, you find heaps of antioxidants, so if you have a higher fat diet you would expect to have a lower risk of heart disease and strokes. However for the last decades one of the standard recommendations is a low fat diet to reduce heart disease / stroke risk. Given that most animals are raised in intensive production systems they don't get to eat their natural diet so they are likely to be low in nutrients. 

Therefore diets high in saturated (animal) fats may or may not show a health benefit / detriment because no studies that I am aware of have differentiated animal fats based on production system.

However it is very interesting to see that a meta analysis of studies that investigated the correlation between saturated fat and heart disease has just been undertaken. This meta analysis looked at studies that took 5 - 23 years and had 347 747 subjects. Of these 11 006 developed CHD or stroke. These are rather impressive numbers. Well what was the conclusion: 
Intake of saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk of CHD [Chronic Heart Disease] , stroke, or CVD [Chronic Heart Disease]. A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD . 
So there we have it - decades of accepted good medical practice has no grounding in reality!

Picture credit. Reference: Patty W Siri-Tarino, Qi Sun, Frank B Hu and Ronald M Krauss Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease.  Am J Clin Nutr 91: 535-546, 2010.  doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    "So there we have it - decades of accepted good medical practice has no grounding in reality!"
    - Ouch! This is no surprise at all as the studies that demonized saturated fats were mostly flawed. They probably didn't even know that there is more than one type of saturated fat.

    Coconut oil is 92 percent saturated but unlike animal fats, it is mostly medium chain fatty acids (MCFA). Just my two cents.

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