Why have saturated fats become the 'ghost at the feast' or 'the elephant in the room'? And why when it is mentioned is it vilified so much? These are questions I often ask myself, when I read the diets propounded as part of the protocols for the obese or diabetics, many of which are both (fat and diabetic that is). There seems to be a view, held by many, if not most, in medicine, that fat, especially saturated fat can be likened to lime scale in plumbing. Circulating around our arteries 'furring' up all the veins and arteries until we succumb to CVD or CHD as a direct result of it's consumption. This also seems to be linked to cholesterol in the 'dumbed down' manner of Healthcare today, as if they are one and the same. Is this a scientific truth or not? Most definitely not.
At approximately 9 kcal/ per gram, fat is probably the most calorie dense foodstuff we can ingest. Due to this it's self regulating for intake to large extent. No one can sit down and eat large volumes of fat, even cream, without feeling sick very rapidly. The same can be said of butter or indeed any fat, even the polyunsaturates that are proclaimed as being 'healthy', specifically Omega 3's. The truth is that saturated fat has less calories per gram than say corn oil, which is the main cooking oil in use today over that of Beef fat (7.3 opposed to 8.5) so if we are merely counting calories, then 'old style' fats win hands down. However, nothing is as simple as it sounds. So fats are 'demonic' except if they are unsaturated, even though they are more energy dense. I know it gets complicated but bear with me, it may be worth it.
It all began when a Scientist called Ancel Keys, who over a number of years published his findings on studies he undertook about the link between heart disease, cholesterol and fat consumption. He changed his mind over the years many times, but the most damning report he published was the Seven Countries Study in 1953. This collated the fat consumption of seven countries with highest to lowest and observed that the highest consumers had the highest rates of CHD/CVD. This sort of study is called observational. Now we have to repeat the following mantra until it becomes understood. 'Observation does not prove causation' (neither in fact does correlation, but we'll come to that another time) The problem was, that there was data available on considerably more countries than those chosen, which actually showed no correlation between Key's study and the hypothesis, that fat intake caused heart disease. He had in fact 'cherry picked' the countries to prove his theory ( called selection bias). There were in fact seven other countries where exactly the opposite was the case. Key's study however, then became the mantra for the advocates of low fat and the damage had been done, despite the fact that Key's was roundly condemned a few years later for bias by the scientific community.
Almost singlehandedly Keys, brought about the birth of trans fats and the rise of margarine and other fats with a 'trans bond' (see previous post 'Kinky Fats). We of course now know that these fats are quite dangerous and are told not to eat them, just as we were told to eat them before. Pretty much like eggs then only the converse! I have discussed at length, the spurious link between fat and cholesterol and the lack of any real science in the argument for it's reduction in humans but I wanted to concentrate on fats in this post. As you will see from the graph fat invokes virtually no insulin reaction. Insulin is the fattening hormone. Fat per se will not make you fat!
Heart disease is not linked to fat consumption as most studies show, so why do those in the establishment continue with the outmoded advice that we cease or at least reduce it's consumption and worse, suggest it's replacement with large volumes of carbohydrates? The chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, Steve Field, only a few days ago was propounding his view that we must all exercise, 'eat 5 a day', and stop eating fat to lower our risks of ill health. Steve (a bit of a 'fattie') was pretty much telling the obese it was all their own fault. Their own fault for what? Heeding his advice? For certain if he's heeding his own it's not working! Cut the carb then Steve and cease being the pompous p***k that you obviously are, and read some science before calling the 'waistline challenged' names when they are doing the best they can, based on your dogmatic and incorrect 'me too' diatribe about diet and nutrition! I know you need the publicity, as your term as chair, ends soon and you have an eye on Liam's vacant position, but please, stop climbing over the bodies of the victims of your p**s poor advice to get there! If we had listened to you and others like you in the treatment of J's Diabetes she would probably be on a host of drugs even insulin by now!