The "Lipid Theory"

Ideas about food and supplements and how these relate to hair
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mphatesmpb
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 10:36 pm

The "Lipid Theory"

Post by mphatesmpb » Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:47 pm

Everybody in the "alternative" health community seems bent on debunking the "lipid theory," the notion that consuming foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol will cause blocked arteries and other metabolic disorders. Dr. Mercola and other health gurus in this school of thought encourage consumption of saturated fats over unsaturated fats, claiming for example that coconut and palm oil are far healthier alternatives to most commercially available vegetable oils. From what I've read, I think there are two legitimate premises behind their claims:

(1) About a century ago most people consumed a lot of animal-based saturated fats (butter, cream, etc.) and vegetable oils were not available. Epidemiological observations show that cardiovascular disease and many of the metabolic disorders that (perhaps misled) government campaigns have associated with saturated fats was not present during these times. In fact CVD only became prevalent after the introduction of vegetable oils containing large amounts of polyunsaturated fats.

(2) A lot of studies have shown that an excess of polyunsaturated fats from processed foods (such as vegetable oils) is terrible for health. This is because the long-chain fatty acids composing polyunsaturated fats are highly susceptible to lipid peroxidation. Consumption of oxidized PUFAs generates a lot of free radicals within the body, contributing to inflammation. Saturated fats are not susceptible to oxidation due to their lack of double-bonds between carbon elements in the fatty acid chain.

While the "new age" health gurus make some pretty convincing points against the lipid theory, I am reluctant to jump on the band wagon just yet. Just because the "lipid theory" is established as conventional wisdom doesn't mean it's entirely false. Something that always bugs me about many people who are trying to arrive at conclusions about healthy diet and lifestyle is their extremist approach to things - ie., "the government is trying to destroy us."

There are a number of reasons I can think of suggesting that excessive amounts of saturated fats can be terrible for your health, also:

1. Saturated fats decrease cell membrane permeability.
2. Diets high in saturated fats cause increased sebum production.
3. Too much saturated fats can interfere with the enzymatic conversion of ALA to EPA/DHA, exacerbating prostaglandin imbalance.

Tom, do you have an opinion on the lipid theory? Can you think of any other reasons it might be a good idea to avoid eating excess saturated fats?

-MP

Tom Hagerty
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Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:21 am

Re: The "Lipid Theory"

Post by Tom Hagerty » Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:00 pm

I'm not going to get theoretical about fats. I'm just going to tell you what fats I eat and when I eat them.
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Cod liver oil, one teaspoon, Twinlab
  • Evening Primrose Oil, 500 mg, Swanson
  • Avocados
  • Lean meat, saturated fat
  • Walnuts
  • 2% milk
I Have some fat with every meal even if it is a few walnuts. Fats help with the absorption of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
Something that always bugs me about many people who are trying to arrive at conclusions about healthy diet and lifestyle is their extremist approach to things - ie., "the government is trying to destroy us."
Dr. Mercola is a good example of someone who really pushes this theme. I read his newsletter and watch some of his videos but he puts me on edge. Read about him here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Mercola.

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