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I think it's a commonly held belief that fat consumption leads to obesity. But is it true? Based on the valid studies I've seen, a high fat diet does not have this effect. See for yourself.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 30, 160-170, Copyright 1977

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 80, No. 3, 668-673, September 2004 They ate on average 200 calories lower on the low fat diet, which accounts for the 1kg weight loss difference.

I have not seen any studies that show a higher fat intake has adverse effects on body weight.

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I think it's a commonly held belief that fat consumption leads to obesity. But is it true?

No. Eating more calories than you burn leads to obesity. However, where did you get the idea that this is a commonly held belief? Looks like a strawman to me.

However, the following is true:

Fat is more calorically dense than carbs or protein (2x calories per weight). Eating both foods that are high in fat as well as foods that are made almost solely of carbohydrates (like pasta) means that if you eat the same amount of food but made of solely of these materials, you will consume more calories than if you ate the same amount of lets say vegatables. Sooo it would tend to follow that people who eat high fat or high carb diets will have a better chance of consuming more calories than they burn, and hence be obese.

I have not seen any studies that show a higher fat intake has adverse effects on body weight.

Have you seen any studies that show higher fat intake has other negative effects? If so, then those effects have to also be weighed in considering the amount of fat you take in. The obvious one is the one already discussed in this thread I believe.

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No. Eating more calories than you burn leads to obesity. However, where did you get the idea that this is a commonly held belief? Looks like a strawman to me.

Personal observation. Either way, for whoever does believe that, I wanted to share the studies I came across on this topic.

Fat is more calorically dense than carbs or protein (2x calories per weight). Eating both foods that are high in fat as well as foods that are made almost solely of carbohydrates (like pasta) means that if you eat the same amount of food but made of solely of these materials, you will consume more calories than if you ate the same amount of lets say vegatables.

But eating the same amount of vegetables won't cap hunger as well as fat or high calorie carb foods, because hunger seems to be controlled by the amount of calories as opposed to mass.

Sooo it would tend to follow that people who eat high fat or high carb diets will have a better chance of consuming more calories than they burn, and hence be obese.

Are you saying it's ideal for weight loss to not eat a high fat or high carb diet, but instead a high protein diet? I'm not following your reasoning though.

Have you seen any studies that show higher fat intake has other negative effects?

I recently posted valid studies showing the effects fat/saturated fat has on cholesterol levels. 3 of the 4 show that fat didn't have a negative effect on this.

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But eating the same amount of vegetables won't cap hunger as well as fat or high calorie carb foods, because hunger seems to be controlled by the amount of calories as opposed to mass.

The comparison was for illustrative purposes, not to propose a diet of vegetables. THere are many factors that control hunger. Time is a very well known one. Proteins and complex carbs also both alleviate hunger cravings.

Are you saying it's ideal for weight loss to not eat a high fat or high carb diet, but instead a high protein diet? I'm not following your reasoning though.

I was simply illustrating for you a mechanism by which "fat consumption leads to obesity".

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Sorry, I'm not picking up what you're illustrating. Can you possibly rephrase it?

Sorry there. You started by asking whether the "common belief" that a fat containing diet leads to obesity. And then looking for studies that might show it. I just simply described a mechanism by which the nature of fat might contribute to obesity, without it being something that is studied.

Calorie dense food makes it harder for people to control their caloric intake. To the extent that fat is a calorie dense food, you will see people who eat high fat diets less able to control caloric intake, or more susceptible to overeating. A fat calorie as such doens't add something that makes you fatter than a carb calorie or a protein calorie.

Also, caloric effects are only one aspect of a healthy diet.

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Calorie dense food makes it harder for people to control their caloric intake.

I see what you mean now. However, that's only if people don't willfully choose their meals. Yes, eating 700 calories of pizza is a lot easier than eating 700 calories of spinach, but you can choose to limit the amount of food you eat no matter what kind it is. You just need to be conscious of how many calories you are putting in your mouth.

And you know as well as I do that insulin is a potent mechanism in terms of affecting body weight. So eaten in the same calorie amounts, high glycemic foods will probably slow metabolism more than eating fat because less calories are getting used for energy.

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I see what you mean now. However, that's only if people don't willfully choose their meals. Yes, eating 700 calories of pizza is a lot easier than eating 700 calories of spinach, but you can choose to limit the amount of food you eat no matter what kind it is. You just need to be conscious of how many calories you are putting in your mouth.

Well exactly, but the average american doubtfully does this. So the general statement that fat causes obesity can be said to have some merit.

I think Inspector might tell you that his diet contains higher than usual amounts or fatty red meats. As long as you wathc your calories, wieght should be an issue.

And you know as well as I do that insulin is a potent mechanism in terms of affecting body weight. So eaten in the same calorie amounts, high glycemic foods will probably slow metabolism more than eating fat because less calories are getting used for energy.

umm I know the first. I don't know the 2nd, nor do I know the relative levels of the impacts which is what you'd need to make the conclusion. Also the insulin effects are very different for whole grains than they are for refined carbs, which I'm sure is what you mean by "high glycemic". Not all carbs are high glycemic.

I get the sense that you really really want to go out and eat some fat. :) No one's stopping you.

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I get the sense that you really really want to go out and eat some fat. :) No one's stopping you.

My boss has read Gary Taubes book, Good Calories Bad Calories three times now. (Although he's barely overweight and exercises regularly, he's been diagnosed w/ arterial sclerosis, so he's interested in what's really causing it.) The past four weeks, he has cut out nearly all carbs and is eating nothing but protein and fat. Thus far, he is feeling great and has been losing what little excess weight he has to lose. I guess the real test will be when he goes to his doctor for a check up, but all indications in the book and the studies it reviews are that carbs = insulin = a multitude of common health problems.

For whatever it's worth, I ingest 400+ calories of oil per day and I've lost 40 lbs in the past year. Fat is obviously not making me fat and I'm healthy otherwise per my doctor.

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I get the sense that you really really want to go out and eat some fat.

I do love fat, but I also love sugar. I have to eat over 6000 calories a day to maintain my weight, so I eat a lot of everything.

I guess the real test will be when he goes to his doctor for a check up

Keep me posted on that.

Edited by progressiveman1
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  • 4 months later...

Please forgive me for reviving this thread. I read the rules before I registered, but as I saw numerous other threads in this section that had little to do with objectivism I hoped I would be allowed to see if there was any interest in this subject.

Currently, I am doing research in this area because of some health problems I am attempting to work out. I am especially indebted to progressiveman for his contributions via links. I was able to download all of them and will be using them in a paper I am writing.

Is anyone interested in this topic anymore? If so, what can you add to it?

Lastly, I am a big fan of Ayn Rand and, at one point, had nearly every non-fiction book she ever wrote. She's great!

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Currently, I am doing research in this area because of some health problems I am attempting to work out. I am especially indebted to progressiveman for his contributions via links. I was able to download all of them and will be using them in a paper I am writing.

I hope you mean the later studies I provided(posts #69 and #70) and not the intitial ones.

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Yes, the later ones were the better ones. Do you have any more information on this?

Two suggestions:

1)Look through websites of Journals like JAMA or Archives of Internal Medicine(there's a bunch more). They provide studies on this topic.

2)Lyle Mcdonald has published books that are related to this topic, where he dissects several studies. I haven't read his books, but I've seen many recommendations for them.

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Thanks. Currently I am researching most of the journals that have something to say about this issue. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, The Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, etc. I also use Medline and a few other sources. The problem is that the information is so paradigm-shattering it either isn't researched or well-researched in the United States. I have come across a few studies from Australia, Canada and Britain that are quite informative.

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I did find something very interesting. According to a peer-reviewed article in the medical journal Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Volume 10, Number 5 published in the fall of 2005:

Despite popular perception, atherosclerotic plaques are not simply big wads of fat and cholesterol that have stuck to the walls of arteries like mud inside a pipe. The growth of atherosclerotic plaques takes place primarily inside the artery wall, between the inner and outer layers. The plaques are complex entities with numerous components, including smooth muscle cells, calcium, connective tissue, white blood cells, cholesterol, and fatty acids. Proliferation of plaques may occur, not because of simple elevations in blood cholesterol, but because of unfavorable physiological conditions that damage or weaken the structure of the arterial wall. These factors include nutrient deficiencies, poor glycemic control, cigarette smoking, homocysteine, psychological stress, nitric oxide depletion, high iron levels, microbial infection, dietary trans fatty acids, excessive refined carbohydrate intake, and excessive omega-6 fatty acid intake and/or deficient omega-3 fat intake. All of these factors have been shown to exert an atherogenic effect

unrelated to serum cholesterol elevation.

Each factor was submitted with a footnote from another scientific, peer-reviewed, medical research journal.

Here is the link to the paper: http://www.jpands.org/vol10no3/colpo.pdf

I found it more than interesting that fat, other than trans fat, was not included as a factor.

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Yup. And there is a Lancet study that showed a long time ago that of what fatty acids are in atherosclerotic plaque, they are 75% unsaturated. So much for "artery clogging saturated fats."

I did find something very interesting. According to a peer-reviewed article in the medical journal Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Volume 10, Number 5 published in the fall of 2005:

Each factor was submitted with a footnote from another scientific, peer-reviewed, medical research journal.

Here is the link to the paper: http://www.jpands.org/vol10no3/colpo.pdf

I found it more than interesting that fat, other than trans fat, was not included as a factor.

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Sewdo --

I copied this directly from a Medline search. If you have access to online journals or print journals you may be able to get a copy of the article:

Title: Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and composition of human aortic plaques.

Source: Lancet (Lancet) 1994 Oct 29; 344(8931): 1195-6

Additional Info: ENGLAND

Standard No: ISSN: 0140-6736 (Print); 1474-547X (Electronic); NLM Unique Journal Identifier: 2985213R

Language: English

Abstract: How long-term dietary intake of essential fatty acids affects the fatty-acid content of aortic plaques is not clear. We compared the fatty-acid composition of aortic plaques with that of post-mortem serum and adipose tissue, in which essential fatty-acid content reflects dietary intake. Positive associations were found between serum and plaque omega 6 (r = 0.75) and omega 3 (r = 0.93) polyunsaturated fatty acids, and monounsaturates (r = 0.70), and also between adipose tissue and plaque omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (r = 0.89). No associations were found with saturated fatty acids. These findings imply a direct influence of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids on aortic plaque formation and suggest that current trends favouring increased intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids should be reconsidered.

I have not followed this thread in its entirety, but I will say that I'm a recent skeptic of the lipid hypothesis of heart disease myself. I believe there is very little evidence for this hypothesis in the actual literature. It's based on a few old studies that were poorly conducted around 40 years ago and then everyone has jumped on the bandwagon of the cholesterol-phobia for the past four decades.

The situation is complicated but I believe that a lot of this has to do with government funding of research. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute is firmly committed to the lipid hypothesis, as is the American Heart Association -- BUT there is one researcher of the AHA who is now showing that only one type of LDL might be correlated with coronary artery disease -- which would explain why these statins are lowering LDL but they aren't doing a freaking thing to stop heart attacks. Which LDL are they lowering?? And is LDL even causative (as opposed to correlated)? And it may even be harmful... your body needs cholesterol for cell membrane integrity. It makes the stuff, and that's why lowering dietary cholesterol often does little to lower blood cholesterol.

So a lot of this saturated fat phobia has to do with government support (USDA, FDA, subsidies) for the grain industry -- which has a vested interest in "proving" that their products of flour, veggie oils, and corn syrup are "healthy". These products are the basis for the modern food industry. And so is soy. Soy is a nitrogen fixing plant and is used primarily to add N back into soils. It's not meant to be eaten in such great quantities, so the food industry has to find a way to market soy. Check the labels on your foods, soy is in everything and it is fed to every farm animal. This was not the case decades ago, and Asians do not eat a lot of soy that is not fermented. Please don't interpret this as anti-industry, but the grain industry has a huge profit margin, and they have a lot of money to invest in research "proving" that their products are healthy. Canola oil as a "heart healthy" food for instance. Meanwhile, the meat and dairy industries, while those products are expensive, are not high profit margin. On top of that, I don't believe they have the moral confidence to support their own products. I believe that they, too, have been hoodwinked by all this lowfat and low saturated fat nonsense. If you don't have the moral courage and confidence to stand up for your own product, no one else is going to do it for you.

Try to get a government grant on the premise that it's not saturated fat and cholesterol that cause heart disease, but sugar or vegetable oils. And then see how successful you are. You won't be. What is going to have to happen is that all these researchers are going to have to die off, and we're going to have get government out of paying for food research, before we get some objectivity. And that's going to take time. However, it's starting to happen.

I am not necessarily convinced, even, that ALL of heart disease is diet related. But at this point there are a number of competing hypotheses as to diet: that saturated fat and cholesterol cause it (doesn't seem to have much support at all but everyone believes it anyway), and that either refined sugars and starches cause it OR unsaturated fats cause it OR that it's some combination of those two. I haven't studied this issue enough to have a firm opinion on what dietary aspects might be responsible for heart disease. I just don't know. Many people have great success at becoming healthier on the Pritikin and Ornish type diets, too, and those are totally vegetarian. I think there are issues with that but I won't go into it here because it's off topic.

I do not believe that this is a big conspiracy on the part of "Big Pharma" "Big Agra" and cardiologists, etc. to make us all fat and make money off our diet and illnesses. A conspiracy can never be that huge. I think it's bad epistemology. I think that most of the people involved (government agents, researchers, doctors) are well-meaning people who are firm believers in these hypotheses, the conventional wisdom, and status quo that they were taught in medical school, or wherever, and they simply don't question or think objectively. Do they even go to the primary sources to see where the evidence is for this hypothesis, or are they simply learning from textbooks and professors? There's also a lot at stake should they be proved wrong. (This is probably one reason the USDA's nutty food pyramid changes gradually and slowly. They already know some of this stuff is right but they can't make sudden abrupt changes in dietary advice or it will look bad and cause outrage among the general public.) Look how rabidly the entire weight loss industry attacked Atkins and his ilk.

I concur with Kelly that Good Calories, Bad Calories would be a good place to start. I have heard good things about that book, though I have not read it myself. It has revolutionized many peoples' lives. The idea that fats are good for you, however, is not a new idea that science has somehow recently discovered and published. It has been known for at least 70 years now from the work of nutritional pioneer Weston A Price, and science is now again confirming his research.

http://www.amazon.com/Nutrition-Physical-D...2913&sr=8-1

After reading this book, I myself now eat a diet very high in fat from meat and dairy, with lots of fresh vegetables. I no longer buy skim milk. I enjoy lots of butter and cheese, and I don't pick my skin off the chicken anymore :) I limit grain products and sugar. I take cod liver oil daily as I believe the USDA recommended values for vitamins to be way too low. Guess what -- I have not gained a pound. I am even starting to lose a little weight on this eating scheme with more exercise. I don't have cravings and the amounts of food I am eating are much less than before because I am no longer hungry all the time. I don't believe this specific regime would work for everyone and there are individual differences. I am sure I will be tweaking my diet for a long time as I learn more. However, I do believe that nutrient dense, calorie dense foods are good for you. Just eat less.

The Weston A Price Foundation has guided a lot of my dietary changes and my "library" research. I don't take anything they say as the rock solid truth, but have a huge resource of articles on fat. It's called Know Your Fats:

http://westonaprice.org/knowyourfats/index.html

Most of these articles then cite primary sources that you could go to if you had the resources. From what I understand, some of this advice does differ from Gary Taubes' book, however, in that WAPF is not a big fan of many vegetable oils. In any case, I do not think there is strong evidence at all that saturated fats and cholesterol are causative. The people who do think so should show it -- and not using popular science articles that are a tool of our government -based, sensationalistic food propaganda campaign.

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Thanks for the article in The Lancet. I am a subscriber and have read it (the summary, not the entire paper).

I, like you, am a recent skeptic of the lipid hypothesis. This came about as I began researching this issue for the health problems my family has, including myself. My father has an undiagnosed cancerous mass currently being treated with radiation therapy. My father-in-law recently acquired a stent due to his reliance on a low-fat diet and prescription medication. (Lipitor, a statin, is the top selling pharmaceutical in the world) My sister has Crohn's disease. One brother-in-law is IDD (Insulin Dependent Diabetic) and the other pops nitro pills to stave off another heart attack. Moreover, I am a cancer survivor with a genetic predisposition to diabetes, which, if left unattended, can cause heart disease as well.

As you say, this is a complicated issue. The history of the lipid hypothesis and the subsequent research against it is just as complicated. After a while I found myself awash in contradicting, and sometimes completely inaccurate, information. The latter research--the most current--is coming out, in drips and trickles, against the Lipid Hypothesis. Recently the Framingham Heart Study shows that increased cholesterol levels do not increase the risk of CHD or CHD events after the age of 47. In fact, after the age of 47 the lower the cholesterol, the greater the risk of CHD and CHD events--for each drop of 1% in cholesterol an increase of 11% in coronary heart disease. Now that's what I'd call a brutal statistic. Never mind the fact, as you also said, that most cholesterol is produced in the body, not consumed.

There are many reasons for the creation and release of this information. I would point to two primary causes. (1) The extreme popularity of the Atkins diet, which forced medical researchers into questioning his diet and actually doing research to disprove it but instead validating it, and, (2) the slow paradigm shift in the epistemology in medical research brought about by that research. I call this the "Crack in the Cosmic Egg of Cholesterol," ala Joseph Chilton Pearce. In my opinion, Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions outlines the process whereby this kind of transformaton takes place.

I also want to thank you for the other links. I am already familiar with Dr. Price and his institute, but I hadn't discovered that particular book yet. I will buy it. As I researched this topic many names seem to pop out: Atkins, Price, Enig, Ravnskov, Taubes, Kris-Etherton, Willett, and Mozaffarian to name a few.

There are two salient points I would take away from this issue. First, the epistemology and how it interferes with investigation. The truth is sometimes easier to understand, but harder to find. Second, the Lipid Hypothesis, the stalwart vanguard of the grain and pharmaceutical/medical industries, will fall in time.

[edited to add] My primary field of study?

Mycology, of course. :devil:

Edited by Sewdo
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Recently the Framingham Heart Study shows that increased cholesterol levels do not increase the risk of CHD or CHD events after the age of 47. In fact, after the age of 47 the lower the cholesterol, the greater the risk of CHD and CHD events--for each drop of 1% in cholesterol an increase of 11% in coronary heart disease. Now that's what I'd call a brutal statistic.

Aren't all the Framingham studies just a collection of general statistics, which, at best, can only produce correlation results? From what I remember when I looked through them, the studies typically consisted of long term analysis(10-40 years) of the people taking part in it, check ups every several months, and questionnares as the way to determine what the patient is doing. If the study you're referring to is like that, then I don't see how you can regard it as influential in determining a causal relationship. The method of analysis they use seems too vague to me(variables uncontrolled), but maybe you're referring to a different type of their study.

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Yes, possibly. I only mentioned that statistic as a starting place, not as an end result. Currently, other work is being conducted along parallel lines with the same result. One such study which focused on that aspect of the Framingham Heart Study was the Cholesterol and all-cause mortality in elderly people from the Honolulu Heart Program: a cohort study by Schatz et al.

Paradigm breaking takes a long time, especially with the factors Liriodendron mentioned being against it.

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