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Why Humans Crave Fat
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December 3, 2012
7:00 pm
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Katherine, Paul, E Craig:

I make a lot of Caesar dressing from scratch, which is also an emulsion of olive oil and egg yolks.  It's delicious...and that oily stuff in a bottle called "Caesar dressing" isn't even the same thing.

JS

February 9, 2013
12:56 am
JayJay
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I make mayonnaise from what ever fat I got lying around. I use 1 cup of fat for one lot of mayo. First thing that goes into the cup is whatever leftover fat i have from the last few days of cooking, then i'll add some dripping(is that tallow?) or duck fat, then top it up with a bit of light olive oil. It's delicious. I don't like EVOO mayo it's too strong for me

February 10, 2013
9:15 pm
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JayJay:

In the UK, I believe "dripping" is indeed beef fat.  And I agree that EVOO mayonnaise would be too strong for my taste, though some seem to like it. 

JS

February 11, 2013
1:54 am
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Gnoll
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... a common people divided by the same language ... how did it get so wonky just crossing the Atlantic? Smile

Yes, "dripping" is beef fat in the UK.

In the old days, it was the collection of what dripped out of a fatty piece of meat in the oven. In days gone by, this fat was quite brown and a good filler for poorer families was simply cold dripping spread on bread: a "mucky fat sandwich". Nowadays it's refined and can be bought from the supermarket in blocks, or in tubs from the local farm shops which render trimmed fat down.

One of those, "eat it ... it's good for you ... it'll keep you warm in winter". I love the old wisdom Cool

Lard, to us in the UK, is pig fat. Same process.

What exactly is tallow?

Living in the Ice Age
http://livingintheiceage.pjgh.co.uk

February 25, 2013
12:22 pm
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Paul:

Tallow usually refers to rendered beef fat -- though, strictly speaking, it can refer to rendered mutton fat, or any other mixture of animal fat that is sufficiently solid at room temperature.

JS

April 3, 2013
10:25 pm
Roberto
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Once again, more paleo quackery based around pure speculation.

April 6, 2013
12:33 am
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Roberto:

If you're willing to label the work of Drs. Stanford, Aiello, and Wheeler as "pure speculation", then you clearly have no scientific background by which your judgment of "pure quackery" carries any weight whatsoever.

JS

June 22, 2013
7:05 pm
PN
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I just found this site a few days ago in my various research endeavors on health topics and have found it very interesting, well though out, and highly researched.

In the interest of advancing your impressive knowledge and holding you to your own high standard I feel compelled to point out that this statement, while true for the modern sick population, is false for healthy people (which you are largely referring to in this case):
"The few calories in most vegetables are rounding error to whatever you sautee them in, and the calories in salad greens all come from the dressing you put on them."

This textbook [1] on page 362 (page 7 of this PDF link), section 2.5 states:
"Greater numbers of bacteria (more anaerobes than aerobes) are found within the colonic lumen than elsewhere in the GI tract. These bacteria digest a number of undigested food products normally found in the effluent delivered to the colon, such as complex sugars contained in dietary fiber.
Complex sugars are fermented by the bacteria, forming the short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) butyrate, propionate and acetate. These SCFAs are essential nutrient sources for colonic epithelium, and in addition can provide up to 500 cal/day of overall nutritional needs."

With my key point being made by the last sentence which is that high fiber foods provide many more calories when one has healthy gut flora than they are given credit for. The math in your paragraph above the just quoted also assumes 2000 cal/day to survive as a sedentary person which is too high an estimate even for modern inefficient, tense, sick people and a healthy native would need even less, so 500 cal from fiber is quite a significant amount indeed (and such people might be able to get even more since the referenced book likely came up with their numbers by looking at modern only somewhat sick people).

As a side note: If you must clean soil from your anus after defecation, your gut is not healthy as this indicates pathogenic bacteria which are producing sticky biofilms that must be wiped (and consuming your nutrients, just one of many reasons why modern people need so many calories to survive). Ancient people were not, and animals are not, provided with toilet paper or bathrooms and these things are unnecessary when healthy.

[1]. In case my link does not post properly it is FIRST PRINCIPLES OF GASTROENTEROLOGY by A.B.R. Thomson.

June 24, 2013
10:47 pm
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PN:

First, you're failing to distinguish soluble vs. insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber is just complex sugars that our enzymes can't digest, and it is indeed fermented by bacteria in the human colon.  However, it doesn't contain nearly the 4 kcal/gram the Atwater factors suggest, since the bacteria have already extracted much of the energy (SCFA are a waste product of bacterial fermentation...basically they're bacteria poop.)

The majority of the "fiber" in vegetables, however, is insoluble fiber, mostly in the form of cellulose -- which neither our digestive enzymes nor our gut bacteria can digest.  Therefore, the insoluble fiber has zero energy value to us.

Second, and most importantly, the calorie counts on nutrition labels already count insoluble fiber at 4 kcal/gram!  So the "four calories per spear" figure already includes all the fiber, both soluble and insoluble -- and, therefore, the real figure for asparagus is more like 2-3 calories per spear.

My point stands.

JS

December 13, 2013
10:26 am
Auggiedoggy
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I love fat but unfortunately it doesn't love me. A LCHF diet left me with high cholesterol and chest pains and feeling lethargic. I had to replace running with walking due to lack of energy. That was several years ago. A high fat diet for me now would be suicide.

I'd be careful about advocating high fat diets for everyone.

December 14, 2013
10:20 am
Madison, WI, USA
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Auggiedoggy,

 

How long where you on a LCHF diet?

"Often we forget . . . the sky reaches to the ground . . . with each step . . . we fly."  ~We Fly, The House Jacks

December 17, 2013
12:17 am
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Auggiedoggy:

1. How high is "high-fat"?  Were you ketogenic, VLC, ZC, or ???  What % carbs?

2. What were you eating?  Often a "high-fat" diet ends up being a high-dairy diet, since dairy is the most convenient source of fat calories...and that can cause its own problems unrelated to the fat content.

That being said, there is a great deal of biochemical individuality...you might be homozygous for ApoE4, for instance, and/or have any number of other issues (methylation defects, vitamin absorption defects, sulfation pathway defects, etc.) which cause you to have problems with the specific combination of foods you were eating.  So the fat may or may not be the cause of your problems.

JS

December 19, 2013
11:52 am
Rob
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I was on a LCHF diet that included eggs, bacon, sausages, beef, chicken, fish. I had *some* dairy but it was basically cream in my cup of morning coffee. No starchy vegetables but things like broccoli, green peppers and leafy greens. I was on this diet for about three months. That was all I could take. My cholesterol was elevated as a result. As far as your various speculations on what my problems were, the only problem I could see was the excessive fat intake. Switching to a low-fat vegetarian diet brought my cholesterol levels back to healthy levels. The chest pains went away and my energy levels were back to normal after only a couple weeks on the healthy diet. Lesson learned!

December 21, 2013
3:48 pm
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Rob:

Sounds like you were definitely ketogenic, or at least VLC.  That doesn't work for everybody.

Keep in mind that your "cholesterol test" (which actually measures lipoproteins) will show a big bold "HIGH" at over 200 -- however, multiple data sets show that minimum mortality for men is around 240 TC, with TC<200 being just as bad as TC > 280.  So while high cholesterol has an association with heart disease, "high" is a lot higher than most people think.

Also, consider that 20% carbs is a lot different from "leafy greens only", which will put you in VLC/keto territory unless you're cheating with a lot of sugary condiments.  That's where I tend to live (though I don't count or measure), because I lose weight on VLC even when I don't want to!

That being said, you have to eat what works best for you.  Just be careful with vitamin deficiencies if you're eating vegetarian AND low-fat: it's tough to get A (not beta-carotene), K2, B12, biotin, etc. unless you're willing to eat egg yolks and butter.

JS

December 22, 2013
12:08 am
Rob
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Hi JS,

My TC maxed out at 236mg/dl in 2007. I say "maxed out". It could have gone higher but I switched to a low-fat vegetarian diet because of reasons stated earlier. My doctor at the time did not seem overly concerned about because there were no other risk factors. Today my TC is 198 BUT I also have high BP and I had a positive stress test. I recently had a nuclear stress test to a) rule out the possibility that the previous stress test was a false positive and b) see if there are any areas of concern regarding blood flow to the heart. Still awaiting the results from that. On a Paleo-style diet I did feel better than I did on the Atkins diet. Perhaps the Paleo would be a better compromise. My current doctor would probably not recommend any diet that would raise my cholesterol however. He wants me on meds for both cholesterol (for a TC of 198!!!) and for my BP, which I've been trying natural methods with some degree of success. I remember reading something about how lowering one's cholesterol beyond a certain age (I'm 58) does not equate to better health. In fact, it can lead to decreased cognitive function and poorer health in general. Have you seen anything regarding this? Rather than go on meds, which I've been avoiding, I'd rather address the cause than the symptoms. I've heard good things about fish oil's ability to fight inflammation in the body so I'm looking at getting a quality, high-dose, molecularly distilled (mercury removed) fish oil supplement. I've also cut out all vegetable oils from my diet.

December 22, 2013
6:02 pm
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Rob:

Meds for 198 TC is insane.  240 TC is right on the lowest-risk part of the curve.  Some numbers here:

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/06/blood-lipids-and-infectious-disease-part-i/

I've seen several more papers confirming the U-shaped association for men, and a negative association for women (higher cholesterol = lower mortality risk, with no upper limit, for women).  Here's one: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21951982

...but TC is a far worse predictor than the TG/HDL ratio, which is about the best you can do with the numbers you get from a standard "cholesterol test".  Lower is better, e.g.:

 

High ratio of triglycerides to hdl-cholesterol predicts extensive coronary disease

http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1807-59322008000400003&script=sci_arttext

(Actually measured via Freisinger index. Note that TC was not a significant predictor!)

 

Fasting Triglycerides, High-Density Lipoprotein, and Risk of Myocardial Infarction

http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/96/8/2520.long

(7x greater risk of MI for highest vs. lowest quartile of TG/HDL)

 

Men are also more likely to survive a stroke with high cholesterol than low. Boatloads of studies here:

http://healthydietsandscience.blogspot.com/search/label/Cholesterol%20and%20Stroke

Low cholesterol is also linked to dementia, etc.:

http://healthydietsandscience.blogspot.com/search/label/Cholesterol%20and%20Alzheimers

http://healthydietsandscience.blogspot.com/search/label/Cholesterol%20and%20Dementia

 

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick writes about this stuff quite a bit, too: http://drmalcolmkendrick.org

As far as fish oil, eating fatty fish themselves (salmon, mackerel, sardines) will generally be a better source than the capsules, but they're better than nothing.  Mainly it's important to decrease n-6 intake, and removing "vegetable oils" (seed oils) is a great start.  

I wish you the best on your journey.

JS

December 24, 2013
9:46 am
Rob
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JC,

Thanks for those links. I'll be looking at all of them. Btw, I still eat fish. Its the one thing I refuse to give up. The fish oil supplements are a safe (no mercury) source of omega-3 but I still love eating salmon.

p.s. I *will* be eating turkey this Christmas! ;o)

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

Rob

December 24, 2013
10:21 pm
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Rob:

Pescetarian paleo is a perfectly reasonable and healthy way to eat.  Don't forget about shellfish, as they're Nature's multivitamin/multimineral supplement.

Happy holidays to you and yours, too!

JS

March 6, 2014
9:03 pm
JOHN
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INTERESTED IN YOUR nEWSLETTER

March 7, 2014
3:04 am
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John:

Newsletter signup is on the right sidebar, under "Gnolls In Your Inbox".  Type your email there, and make sure to click the link in the confirmation email you'll receive.  If you don't see the confirmation email, check your spam folder.

JS

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