Low Fat Diets; new insights from the PURE study


Hey there. All right. Let me get things set up here. Okay. So today we're going to talk a little bit about low fat diets, as you can tell from the topic of this. Recently read an article from Dr. Jill Carnahan. C-A-R-N-A-H-A-N. I saw it published on functionalmedicineuniversity.com. I believe Dr. Carnahan also had the article on her own website so you can find it there was well. But this is all referencing back to a study that was fairly recently completed called The Pure P-U-R-E Study.

         And this was looking at a large number of people, I think 135,000 people in 18 countries and looking at their intake of foods. They looked at fat versus carbohydrate intake and comparing, over a period of about seven and a half years, low fat diets with higher carbohydrate components to higher fat diets with lower carbohydrate components. And then looking at cardiovascular disease, stroke, all cause mortality, which is where they're not really saying that a high fat diet makes you live longer, but they just simply correlate that when we look at all the different causes of death, this particular diet or the people on this particular diet seemed to die less than other people.

        But then when you look at things like cardiovascular disease, certain lipid markers like cholesterol and triglycerides and stuff, you can kind of surmise some impact on risk when you look at these parameters. What they found, like I said, 135,000 people over about seven and a half years, 18 different countries. The basic takeaway from this was those that had a higher fat diet, including saturated fats, had lower overall mortality and those that had a higher carbohydrate diet had higher overall mortality. Now that's not a terribly actionable finding. Right? You simply say eat low fat and you'll die more. Eat high fat and you won't die as much. That doesn't work well. Right?

     But they did tease out some more data from that, and they basically found overall that the higher fat diets, without even looking at the quality of fats necessarily, but the higher fat diets seemed to do much better with cardiovascular disease and inflammatory markers and whether or not they had a stroke and whether or not they had a heart attack, whether or not they died from that stroke or heart attack. So that got a little bit more specific than, they don't die from car accidents at the same rate. There's a lot of random chance in there. But with 135,000 people, you hope that random chance is kind of negated statistically because you've got so many people involved. There goes my phone.

       So they also found that three servings of fruits and vegetables a day seemed to do just as well as the currently recommended five, or I guess three to four did as well as five. They're saying that a serving of fruit and vegetables is two cupped handfuls of fruit or vegetable, so whatever you can fit in kind of a cupped handful. I'm looking at that thinking, in my hand at least, that might be a quarter cup, so six to eight cupped handfuls of fruits and vegetables a day should do just fine for you.

      They were better consumed raw than cooked, and certainly some cooking methods were better than others. I think I've talked about that on a video before, but steaming, roasting, grilling, those are probably better than boiling unless you're going to drink the liquid, then boiling's fine. Like if you're making a broth, I say that kind of in jest, but if you're making bone broth and you've got onions and garlic and peppers and carrots in stuff in there while you're creating the broth, you're going to consume the broth. The rest of it's going to get pitched. So the fact that the nutrients come out of those fruits and vegetables into the broth is irrelevant for you. Maybe it's relevant the other way because that's what you're going to consume.

     But otherwise, if you're going to boil them and then pull the veggies out and eat the veggies, there's not much left in there. It's all in the water. They found that their findings were a distinct contrast to what the American Heart Association just came out with, so if you scroll back you'll see that I did a video talking about coconut oil will kill you, but margarine is safe. That doesn't make any sense, and that's kind of what the American Heart Association, in a sense, came out and said. We still want low fat. Do the canola oil and the vegetable oils and get rid of the saturated fat and all this stuff that we know kind of to be BS at this point.

       So this flew in the face of that, and the authors actually kind of said as much. They said, "This is our findings, do not coincide with current recommendations," and kind of jabbed them a little bit. So this is what we call an observational study. It was done by questionnaire. They would periodically send out questionnaires to these people. What have you been eating? What's your food intake like? They would keep diaries of their food intake. Not the most accurate research. People, when they write down what they eat tend to massage it a little more into what they think that the person they're reporting to wants to see. Of course, they're not told whether this is looking to be positive toward high fat or positive toward low fat. Who knows how that may have skewed the results?

     But when you include 135,000 people, 18 different countries over seven and a half years, you start to unravel some of those statistical anomalies that can happen when you're doing an observational study. It gives the observational study considerably more weight when you have just that sheer number of people involved in the study, so that helps it. But it's not what we call a randomized controlled trial. But that's very difficult to do with nutrition research. When you're taking even 1000 people and wanting to know exactly what they ate, even if you get the calories, the carbohydrates, the proteins and the fats really ironed out. Let's say they actually measured and weighed everything, you've still got the quality of that food and how it was prepared. And how fresh was it when they ate it? You just can't control for all the variables.

       So the people screaming for randomized controlled trials either are somewhat brainwashed that, that's necessary, or they just don't understand the nature of that kind of research as it would apply to something like this. So there are issues with observational trials, but then it's not really even possible to do the randomized controlled very well in a situation like this. So the research is good enough, although I guess you could say it's not ideal.

       If you want more information on research and research styles, again I did a video a little bit farther back. I think it's called, Why Science Isn't Science Anymore, or something along those lines because it's just become so corrupted and so misunderstood and so misused as marketing. Right? Science and marketing are now joined at the hip. So calling for, hey, you don't have randomized controlled trials, for anyone that understands this kind of research, it's just not possible. Doing that with drugs is one thing. You can give a single agent and control as many other variables as possible and see what the outcome is. But when you're looking at someone's diet and lifestyle, you can't control all the variables. It's impossible. That's just not how the world works.

       The American Heart Association and some of its supporters are kind of digging in their nails and hanging on for dear life on the old low fat, high carb kind of bandwagon. And they're saying that, oh, we need more research. This isn't enough. But what you need to understand is the original research for the low fat, high carbohydrate diet was pretty flawed to begin with. That's been well documented hundreds of places. I don't need to go through all that here. One of the books I read recently that lays all that out is called The Paleo Cardiologist, really good book if you get a chance. But that one, and it's a quick read but it's got lots of good information in it. It's written at a layperson's level. But that one goes through a lot of the development of this whole low fat, high carb diet, how it came about, how the research led to that, the flaws with the research, who knew about the flaws, who wouldn't listen, the money involved, all of that. It's all been laid out. Everybody who's anybody knows that already.

      And if they're telling you they don't understand that, maybe they buried their head in the sand or they're just flat out lying to you. So the original research was pretty poor. The track record of that research is poor. How many years, how many decades, have we been preaching low fat, high carb diets? And cardiovascular events are still one of the leading causes of death. It really hasn't changed anything. If anything, we've now added more obesity and diabetes and metabolic disorders to the already problematic cardiovascular problems. If you lump all them together, they're going to bankrupt the health care system. Literally, in a few years, five to 10, they could bankrupt entire countries because of the advice we've been giving, so it has a really poor track record regardless of what they try to tell you.

        It's not supported by logic. Saying that if you remove the fats from the diet, we're going to be better, when fats and cholesterol even, they produce all of our hormones. They produce the lining, the insulating lining around our nerves. They're the basis for vitamin D. They're a significant portion of every cell membrane in our body. Research shows clearly that at least in the aging populations that the higher your cholesterol, within reason, we don't want 450 or some, but when you're in that 220, 230, 270 range, as long as the balance isn't too bad, you live longer because you can repair those tissues and you can keep those processes working. So it flies in the face of logic, the denying yourself healthy, naturally occurring fats is somehow a good thing when so much of our body is dependent on those fats.

       What we call N of one cases, N is the number of participants in a study, so an N of one case is a single patient. So doctors all over the country that are doing functional medicine are seeing patients one at a time and making changes, not to treat the cholesterol, not to treat the heart disease necessarily, but to guide these people back to what is a normal, rational, healthy diet for them, and that includes a lot more fat and a lot less refined carbohydrate. And when they do that, they find these patients get substantially better. And the list of individual cases like that is just stupid long. Hundreds of thousands of patients have benefited from that exact kind of intervention. Not just for cardiovascular issues, but for quality of life in general, for the ability to produce hormones, repair tissue, slow down aging, quash inflammation. All of that is better on a higher fat diet.

      Now, we don't want the high fat diet to be full of Crisco. Right? We're looking at naturally occurring fats, coconut oil, pastured egg yolks, the fat that comes with your pastured or grass fed animals, or lard, or tallow from those, coconut oil, flax oil, olive oil. Those are all good quality oils, avocados, that give our body the nutrients they need to do their daily processes. When you start consuming processed fats, hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated fats, fats that were heated to high temperatures, bleached out, chemically treated fats. That's a whole different ball game. Right? Those are unhealthy and it's not because they're saturated or not, or just because they're fat or not. It's because they're chemically altered. They're adulterated fats and that's not what we were designed to eat.

        So this study acts more as confirmation that kind of an ancestral approach to diet makes a lot more sense. It also supports to some degree the Mediterranean diet, which has show to do very well in research over the years, whereas the Mediterranean diet includes a lot of fats and vegetables. And a true Mediterranean diet has quite a bit of fish in it, high fat fish, that those kinds of diets are much better for inflammation, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune problems, all of those. A general high fat diet, if it's good natural fats, has the same effect. We were designed, basically ... I know I'm going to stir up trouble here. We were built as hunter gatherers to find food, gorge ourselves on that food. If it comes in as carbohydrate and raises our blood sugar too much, we store that as fat. We go into parasympathetic mode, which is kind of the after Thanksgiving dinner mode of our nervous system. And we sleep and digest for however long we need to.

        Then we get up and start walking and start looking for our next meal. And we may walk for a couple of days before we come across the next meal. During that time, we slip into ketosis. We burn off the fat we stored. We find our next meal. We gorge ourselves and start all over again. There were periods of famine, periods of feasts. The food we ate was not likely really high carbohydrate. Even the fruits that they had back then were not like the fruits that we have now, these hybridized, big as your head, super sweet apples, these Pink Lady apples and stuff. They were probably more like crab apples, very sour, very high in vitamin C. Those were more the fruits that we had. The tubers were not nearly as sweet as they are now. So that's the way we were kind of designed to live, feast, famine, hot, cold, exposed to the elements, lots of animal fat in our diet. The animals were grass fed heirloom animals. We ate the organ meats. That's kind of how we were designed to live.

        And so when you mimic that with a modern diet, our health gets better. We were never designed to have massive amounts of unnaturally refined carbohydrates, hyper palatable, well beyond what we ever would've found in the past, I don't know, 20,000 years. Right up until the last 150 years or so, you'd never find that. And now we've got it freely available 24 hours a day. We expend zero calories to get it. So we store everything all the time and it becomes very inflammatory for us. So low fat, high carb never made any sense. High fat, low carb makes a lot more sense. But I would say don't be afraid of fat. Include a lot more of it in your diet. Make sure it's natural fat. Make sure the fruits and vegetables you eat are natural and make sure the meat you eat ate the diet it was intended to eat, and you should do fine on that, pulling out anything that you know you have sensitivities to.

       But that's kind of a rational diet, and it's very close to a paleo diet. So anyway, this study kind of confirms all that. Not to get off into dietary choices. I know everybody with their own dietary preference is going to chime in. In my office I see patients that are vegetarian, that are vegan, that are ketogenic, that are paleo, that are auto immune paleo, gaps diet, elemental diet. We see all of that. They all have applications in certain patients at certain times. But if I was to pick a single diet that was kind of a default diet, the foundational diet you start from in most everybody, I think, it would be probably a slightly modified, possibly supplemented paleo diet. That's what I think is adequate for most people.

      Now do you periodically fast? Do you periodically go into ketosis? Do you periodically do vegetarian for a while? Yes. You can do all that. Back to the study. It basically says high fat, low carb, better choice. Simple as that. So the writing is more and more on the wall. The information's getting out there. How long is it going to take for the medical community to really embrace this? Your guess is as good as mine. I'll probably be having this same discussion with you eight years from now. But for now, I want you to be aware. Functionalmedicineuniversity.com. They have a public area where you can get to some articles. This article is by Jill Carnahan. Groundbreaking news, low fat diets increase risk of death, study says. You can also, if you Google that title, I think you'll come up with Jill Carnahan's website. Basically same article is there. All right, that's it for today. Eat fat for your health. Train for performance and live the life you love today. Have a good one.


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