Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Men's Health or Not, Part 3

You see an order of wings, but your endothelium sees an enemy. "Saturated fatty acids are perceived as abnormal, so the immune cells try to clean them up," says Mansoor Amiji, Ph.D., chairman of the department of pharmaceutical sciences at Northeastern University in Boston and a researcher of treatments for endothelial dysfunction. "Instead, the cells cause more inflammation and wind up doing damage." Before you grab any packaged food off the supermarket shelf, check the label and then do a little math. Multiply the number of saturated fat grams by 9 to determine the number of calories the fat contributes. Now divide that by total calories. If saturated fat accounts for more than 10 percent of the food's calories, put the package back on the shelf.

Another head scratcher, scientifically speaking, but one that allows for some elaboration of one of the counter intuitive points about fat in the blood vice fat in the diet.  To get more of one, you need less of the other, but not in the way you might think.

As the authors point out in the "Art and Science of Low Carb Living", it appears that fat in the blood (triglycerides and chylomicrons) are a much better predictor of disease than is fat in the diet. Counter intuitively, the best way to keep fat levels in the blood low is to avoid over-consumption of carbohydrates. Which is to say, getting more calories as fat and less as carbs can results in less fat in your blood.

"Well, Paul, please tell me how that's possible?!?!" I thought you'd never ask!

When you OD on carbs, your body gets busy stuffing the resulting blood glucose anywhere it can - it's like when company catches you by surprise and you have to find a closet for all of the crap you left lying around; think EMERGENCY!  With the help of insulin, some sugar goes to muscles with room for glycogen, some goes to top off your liver's glucose battery, but most has to be converted to fat in the liver.  This process results in production of a saturated fat which is produced as a triglyceride (three fatty acid strings bound by a sugar molecule).  The triglyceride is moved around in the blood in a VLDL boat launched from the liver.  The VLDL will dump the trigs as soon as possible and become a small, dense LDL (some folks say lots of small, dense LDL is a "high risk marker" for arterial disease, but since high levels of small dense LDL correlates with high triglycerides and low HDL, it would seem to be just another correlate with carbohydrate overdose), but since the liver is working hard to make them, the relative levels stay high.  In a high insulin environment, the body will not allow fat back out of cells and cannot make ketones from fat (thus a person eating this way chronically becomes dependent on eating carbs to make enough sugar for the brain).  It is likely that this high insulin, high fat condition in the blood is an element of leptin resistance, meaning many of the satiety loops of the body will be dis-regulated towards increased hunger.

If on the other hand you are chomping down pork rinds, salad with MCT/olive oil/vinegar dressing, veggies with butter and sirloin all day, your liver will not make any additional fat.  Instead, since your are keeping your carb intake to a tolerable amount, your body will run itself quite nicely on fat.  Some fats you eat will convert to storage (monounsaturates will, for example, as will long chain saturates), while others will go up in smoke as fuel quickly (short and medium chain saturated fats, for example, butter, coconut oil, and MCT oil).  But the body can easily store and burn fats in this kind of environment, and much of the fat is oxidized to CO2 and water very quickly.  As a result, those on a low carb, high fat diet have the lowest triglycerides - the least amount of fats in their blood - and should have the least risk of the awful sounding fate described by the Men's Health author above.

Low carb is not for everyone, and not everyone will thrive on a high animal fat diet - but MOST do and nearly all will do better in the short term than those on the SAD.  Eat meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, little fruit or starch, no sugar/wheat.

1 comment:

  1. You have raised an important issue..Thanks for sharing..I would like to read more current affairs from this blog..keep posting.. G. Whitestone