Saturday, February 16, 2013

Saturday Stories: Fats, Depression, and Osama Bin Laden

Great Consumers Reports' review of the state of the evidence on which fats are healthful and which are not.

Overcoming Gymnausea with a heartfelt and personal take on what is depression?

Esquire's Phil Bronstein with a riveting read on what life's been like for Osama Bin Laden's shooter since that night in Abbottabad.

[And if you don't follow me on Twitter or Facebook, this week's weekly US News and World Report column is about why I think there is no cure for obesity.]

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  1. So, based on that article on fats, I am supposed to think that canola oil is better for me that butter?Almost all commercial grade canola oil is refined using hexane. Hexane is used to extract oil from grains as well as protein from soy, to such an extent that in 2007, grain processors were responsible for more than two-thirds of hexane emissions in the United States. Hexane can persist in the final food product created; in a sample of processed soy, the oil contained 10 ppm, the meal 21 ppm and the grits 14 ppm hexane. The long-term toxicity of n-hexane in humans is well known. Extensive peripheral nervous system failure is known to occur in humans chronically exposed to levels of n-hexane ranging from 400 to 600 ppm, with occasional exposures up to 2,500 ppm. See wikipedia: I think I prefer organic butter to canola oil.

  2. I very much respect Consumer Reports, but are polyunsaturated fats as good as they make them out out to be? Here is a very well sourced article that begs to differ:

    In the end, it in my opinion comes down to moderation, as so often. Have saturated *and* unsaturated fats from more than once source and you are unlikely to see negative side effects.

  3. So you think there is no cure for obesity. I am of the opinion that there is no popular easy cure for obesity, but there is a unpopular cure, that will change us for life. That change results in obesity no longer being an issue in our lives.

  4. The Consumer Reports article is standard dietary advice which is currently under scrutiny. Recent research by Christopher Ramsden published in the British Medical Journal raises questions as to the wisdom of replacing saturated fats with oils rich in omega-6 lenoleic acid.

    In 2009 Dr. Ramsden was lead investigator for an article entitled "Dietary fat quality and coronary heart disease prevention: a unified theory based on evolutionary, historical, global, and modern perspectives." The best way to access this article is to Google - "PDF Dietary fat quality and coronary heart disease prevention:" Here is an excerpt:

    "The only long-term trial that reduced n-6 LA intake to resemble a traditional Mediterranean diet (but still higher than preindustrial LA intake) reduced CHD events and mortality by 70% [31]. Although this does not prove that LA intake has adverse consequences, it clearly indicates that high LA intake is not necessary for profound CHD risk reduction."

    The Consumer Reports article says, "The American Heart Association recommends minimum dietary intake levels for certain polyunsaturated fats that the body has trouble synthesizing on its own. For example, it suggests getting at least 5 percent to 10 percent of fat calories from omega-6 polyunsaturated fats..."

    To consume omega-6s at levels exceeding 1 to 2 percent of total caloric intake is to exceed the body's ability to control their action. Notice the 70% reduction in CHD events and mortality, mentioned above, associated with a reduction in omega-6 intake. In this case the omega-6 reduction was inadvertent. One wonders when some scientist will think to design a trial in which omega-6 intake is deliberately reduced.

  5. I have to agree with the others posters here. This is another very generalized look at fats that's NOT completely accurate based on the latest and greatest research.

    Consumers Reports did not account for the fact that:

    1. Not all saturated fats are created equal. Some have substantial health benefits proven by research (stearic acid, for example)
    2. Polyunsaturated fats aren't all they're cracked up to be (see above points)

    Maybe for the general population that eats like crap, these types of recommendations are helpful. But to me, it's only serving to further confuse/misinform people about what "healthy eating" really means.

  6. I agree. That article on Saturated Fats is awful. Saturated Fats have been the scapegoat for heart disease / heart attacks for decades and I was hoping atleast you Dr Freedhoff would be aware of this.

  7. The safflower oil sold today is highest in monounsaturated fat, not polyunsaturated fat. (The Consumer Reports table is based on old data.) The variety sold back in the 1970s was a different one than the one sold now. I cannot believe so many "experts" have not updated their knowledge about fats. I know that many writers get this wrong because the link between safflower oil/PUFA is taken for granted but it's time that folks check the numbers. Just look on the Nutrition Facts panel, for starters.