Saturated Fat – Good or Bad For You?

April 25, 2014


I love that this issue is getting front and centre coverage.   TV3 took a big step forward with their programme that aired this week.  You can see the whole programme here along with some bullet points:

As much as I loved it, I also found it very frustrating that not more definitive conclusions were presented so that the public at large could more easily make up their minds about what path to take.   From what I see there is more than enough information and data out there to warrant a clear public statement.

Paula PenfoldI don’t know why they didn’t do it but I believe if Paula Penfold  had moderated a live debate rather than interviewing the professionals separately, returning to each one with what the others thought of them and their ideas, that they would have got down to brass tacks more effectively.  Maybe it would be too much of a bun fight but that would have made some good TV wouldn’t it?

Here are three key points that I see that need clarifying as a result of this show:

1.  Prof Jim Mann said there were no good studies that stood in saturated fats favour.    A point that Gary Fettke MD, Australian Orthopaedic Surgeon and LCHF advocate, contested in a Facebook the day after:

    With all due respect to Jim Mann and Rod Jackson, they are quoting out of date studies, most of which never separated the fat and sugar and carbohydrate data.
    Nutritional science is flawed at the best of times and old data grouping cholesterol and cardiovascular risk is biochemically flawed. There is no biochemical pathway that I am aware of that makes describes causation of eating a saturated fat into cardiovascular disease – just nothing.
    The latest 2014 papers looking at diets low in carbohydrates and high in saturated fats DO SHOW the very reduction in cardiovascular risk factors that Mann and Jackson want as evidence. 

Try these 2 for size.

Time for many a quoted expert to get up to date. Should be an interesting year ahead.


Prof Rod Jackson2.  Prof  Rod Jackson seemed to have a very high opinion of himself as an epidemiologist as opposed to what he saw as Prof Grant Schoffield’s ‘lowly’ qualifications.  I would beg to differ.  From what I understand, epidemiologists are good at coming up with associations but it is up to other scientists to test the conclusions of those associations and see if the associations point to a true causal relationship or not.

This article from Gary Taubes is one of the best I’ve found to appreciate the real and what has proven to be horrendously dangerous consequences of not understanding this:

Here’s another from Dr Mike Eades:

I also take exception to Rod’s point that the real problem is that we have to much cheap tasty food available 24/7 and we can’t control ourselves.  The ‘science’ is though that if we do eat carb laden food we will be hungrier and want to eat more.  Compared to LCHF being more satiating so we actually eat less.  Mainly because of the hormonal impact of foods as Prof Robert Lustig explains so well in his book Fat Chance.

Prof Jim Mann3.  Prof Jim Mann said very strongly that they (the LCHF camp) should be producing that evidence before they try to persuade the world that they’ve got the answer.   That’s indeed a wonderful principle to live by.    I would argue if they’d applied the same wisdom 40 years ago there would have been no high carbohydrate low fat fad food pyramid in the first place and we wouldn’t be facing the public health disasters of obesity, diabetes and alzheimer’s that we are today as a result.    If you want to read more about that fiasco the definitive book for me is Gary Taubes’ Good Fats Bad Fats.

I had an interesting thought come to mind this week.  Has anyone done the research to find out how much funding has gone into each area?  I’ve heard that BILLIONS have gone into trying to prove the fat is bad for you hypothesis but only millions into disproving it.  And from what I see the billions have been wasted money that would have been better put into ending world hunger than trying to continuously prove an unprovable theory that keeps getting shoved back in their faces.

You can probably tell I get a bit hot under the collar over this.  It still makes my blood boil that this issue hasn’t been handled publicly yet.  Maybe some people just have a problem with admitting they got it wrong.  But for every day they hold on to that opinion more people suffer and die needlessly.

TV3 HostsThe TV hosts did leave us with a good final word though – that good quality saturated fats are good for us in the context of taking the sugar and refined carbs out of our diets.


What did you think?  You can let’s know below.



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