Animal fat is evidently not bad for you. Can this be right?

So, eat a wide variety of foods in moderation. Got it. :slight_smile:

True, but if we’re assuming animal fat is not ‘bad’, even though factory-farmed animals have more body fat in total and much more in their muscle tissue, what matters is only omega-6 fatty acids vs omega-3.

This is why most people who eat as I do make a point of buying pastured meats, eggs, and dairy - animals eating their natural diet as opposed to grain/soy meal have much higher proportions of omega-3 to omega-6 in their flesh, eggs, and milk.

May I humbly submit that basing your diet on a population that had an average life expectancy of 28 doesn’t seem particularly wise.

Sure, the population only lived to be 28ish because they fell off cliffs or were eaten by tigers; however, you cannot infer that their diet was more healthy in the long run, as there is no long run to consider.

Do I think that people should eat only white bread and high fructuous corn syrup? Hell no. However, taking guidance from the Okinawa diet (for instance) seems more supportable than a diet of a people who spent their entire day exercising, and typically didn’t even make it to 30 (unless that’s your goal).

I think you’re misunderstanding how life expectancies are calaculated. Usually high levels of infant and early child mortality are the main reason behind very low life expectancies. If half of all infants die before the age of 1 and the rest of the population live to 70 you end up with a life expectancy of 35.

Mortality rates for pre-history are obviously estimates but have a major effect on the (also estimated) life expectancies for those times. I seem to recall that ancient populations infant mortality rates are usually put at around 200 per thousand live births, with 300 per thousand live births dying before age 5. Most of these deaths being from childhood diseases (in particular water-borne diseases).

Just so I can double check that I understand life expectancy calculations correctly, don’t you mean to say that you end up with a life expectancy at birth of 35? Because as I understand the situation as you describe it, your life expectancy at 2 would be 70.

THANK YOU for the explanation. This is a pet peeve of mine.

Dr Uffe Ravnskov presents a very strong argument here against the theory that cholesterol and dietary fat are linked to heart disease. His thesis is that this theory is not supported by any evidence, and discusses the various putative sources for the conventional wisdom. It is a very interesting read.

So a better starting point for the OP would be: where is the evidence that animal fat is bad for you?

Yes, but even when you take out the infant mortality and look at adult life expectancies (life expectancies at 10), the rates were pretty abysmal. Interestingly, the maximum ages people reached were about the same: 70 to 90 for as far back as records/archeology go; I’m pretty sure we’ve got mummies that age (at death). But the percentage of people who reached those ages was much lower. See any number of threads around here for why: a surprisingly large number of people have had at least one disease, injury, or illness by age 40 that would have killed them before modern medicine – in a world much less harsh than hunter-gatherers had to survive in.

Timewinder- Absolutely, my made-up example was just to illustrate the effect of infant mortality alone. As you point out, pre-modern populations had the classic age pyramid demographic structure as opposed to the column-like figures you find in modern, developed countries. The wikipedia Population pyramid article does a good job of illustrating this.

KneadToKnow Yes that’s basically right (although the example is obviously a hypothetical one).

It’s true that association does not prove causation, but completely irrelevant in this case since no assciation was found. It’s also worth noting that the complete absence of association (as we see here) certainly contraindicates causation.

At this point there is no scientific justification for the opinion that saturated fats cause CHD or CVD in humans.

[quote=“rhubarbarin, post:8, topic:525660”]

Yes, it’s true. And the supporters of conventional wisdom are going to be feeling pretty stupid in a few years as eveidence continues to indicate they are dangerously wrong. I’m very excited to see this study getting so much attention.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past two years researching nutritional science and epidemiology. I’ve been of the opinion for some time that not only is saturated fat not bad for you, it is the ideal fuel for the human body. I now get around 75% of my daily calories from animal fat. I feel great and blood tests are good (I’m young and I’ve always had a nice lipid panel, but now my HDL is going up, LDL down.).

Quoted for truth. I’ve been doing lowcarb for years, but only recently started to do it RIGHT (high sat fat). HDL last test was at 81.

http://www.drmirkin.com/fitness/muscle_growth.html

This thread doesn’t mention trans fats at all, which increases LDL and decreases HDL. Meat does contain some trans fats as not all trans fats are artificially made.

Hahaha. Brings to mind many other studies I’ve read.

‘Vegetarians don’t eat meat (vegetarians are also health conscious and more likely to get regular check-ups, exercise regularly, not smoke, not drink to excess, and not eat ‘junk food’ loaded with sugar); vegetarians have lower rates of some diseases; therefore, not eating meat is better for you!’

My point was that even in principle no causation could be proved, so we agree.

Here’s what I said in my post that you chose not to quote:

Vaccenic acid and conjugated linoleic acid, the ‘trans fats’ that comprise a small amount (2-5%) of the fat in many animal products, have not been identified as a health concern, and in fact there is evidence they have health benefits.

Totally different class of fatty acids from the infamous, dangerous trans-fats from partial hydrogenation.

Also, vaccenic and conjugated linoleic acid are present in similar proportions (6%) in human milk as in cows milk.

It’s not as though all trans-fats are poison in any amount. Humans have been consuming trans fats for as long as we have existed - straight from the breast. The problems are caused by eating large amounts of the type of trans fats that were only invented a couple hundred years ago.

I recommend a book by Gary Taubes called Good Calories Bad Calories. It deals with the history of nutrition and obesity from a scientific point of view and does seem to say that the conventional wisdom that fat is fattening was only adopted in the late 1970s - around about the time people started getting fat.

http://www.amazon.com/Good-Calories-Bad-Gary-Taubes/dp/1400040787

My personal thoughts on this are rather subjective, but I think part of the answer depends greatly on how you define “healthy” or “bad for you”.

For example, many people who train with weights or are interested in muscular development or fat loss experiment with diets that are extremely high in saturated animal fats (including beef, bacon, butter, and cheese). This may or may not affect cholesterol or heart function… I honestly don’t know, and leave it to those more versed in the scientific literature to reveal what the most recent findings are… Anyway, my point is that many individuals on these diets do in fact achieve their goals of decreased bodyfat and increased skeletal muscle mass in shorter lengths time than with a traditional high-protein & carbohydrate diet. This can (depending on the person) indirectly lead to increased testosterone, improved self-image and self-confidence, reduction of stress, and increased chances of finding a mate. Is this not also a part of “health”? Of course, this depends heavily on the person having a proper exercise routine. Eating bacon does not magically make you a chick-magnet. :wink:

Though I’m too lazy too seek it out, there was a relevant case (not study) on a researcher in the 50s who lived on a very high meat diet while living with “inuit” or some such peoples, from memory up to nearly two years at a time without apparent adverse effect except when he tried to lower the meat/fat intake proportion. Once again from memory they were eating over 90%animal up to 99% in full winter.

Doing a little research, the traditional Inuit diet is interesting and complicated - it is indeed very heavy on animals and light on carbs and vegetables, but there are any number of adaptations made for that. It sounds like a non-Inuit researcher would have gotten sick eventually on that diet, since his body was not adapted to it.

I found my body adapted to that sort of diet very quickly - it took about a week and half before I felt better than ever. This going from a diet heavy in grains/carbs to a diet of mostly fat (animal products and vegetables only) and of 50-100 grams of carbs per day (when I bother to count).

The guy cplif mentioned is Vilhjalmur Stefansson, a Canadian explorer Harvard grad (anthropology) who spent years living with the Inuit and eating a mostly no-carb diet, and was the first to publicize the fact that their diet was 90% animal products. He and his men also had no problem adapting quickly to such a diet and he came to advocate that it was not only healthy but nutritionally superior to modern diets. Eventually he and one of his friends participated in a study under the supervision of the Journal of the American Medical Association where they ate only meat (not including lots of blubber and organs like the Inuit) for a year. Results were published in the journal; both men were in excellent health with no vitamin deficiencies.