April 7, 2014

Joslin Supports Ancel Keys on Saturated Fat

This blog has to have been written by someone with at least a registered dietitian nutritionist title. This also means that Joslin supports a very faulty study done by Ancel Keys in 1956. Again, the Joslin website allows anonymity to prevent the public from identifying the author and possibly understanding the reason for a blog. This is the reason for my calling this as I see it.

So few reputable websites allow this anonymity that when a site like Joslin promotes anonymity, we need to wonder what they are trying to hide. The Mayo Clinic identifies their blog authors and on diabetes information articles will provide the author if asked.  Individual bloggers are identified and are accountable for what they write. Just because the Joslin Diabetes Center is a large organization does not exempt them from accountability.

Joslin does use recent information from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology for pushing for low fat. That information is from November 2013 and does not reflect the study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in March 2013. Even many cardiology doctors are not convinced by the study and will wait for additional studies before they accept saturated fats as being safe.

The author did make some surprising statements, “Even though countless research studies have been completed since 1997, the message (at least possibly until now) has held strong: saturated and trans fats are the enemy.” Then in the next paragraph the author states, “Other factors that come into play are that, in addition to eating saturated fat, our bodies manufacture cholesterol- the amount based on our genetic makeup- and that the type of studies we can do (observational and short-term intervention) don’t provide proof of causality.”

While the most recent study is favorable to saturated fats, the Joslin blog author takes great care to say that the complex statistical relationships is beyond our knowledge. Whether you believe that many studies have shown that eating mono- and polyunsaturated fat does not cause heart disease is entirely up to you. The author says the same can't be said about saturated fat.

The last sentence above is the reason for my stating that the blog author still believes the faulty study from the 1956 “Seven Countries Study” led by Ancel Keys, who started the demonization of saturated fat. Again and again this study has been refuted, but many in the medical profession and especially registered dietitian nutritionists like to use this as proof that saturated fat is bad for us.

I will admit that I would not adopt saturated fat as the only fat in my meal plan, but if some happens to be part of the food I eat, I am no longer worried that it will kill me. That is another reason that I am a more careful reader of blogs by anonymous Joslin bloggers. While I am using a meal plan that is low carbohydrate/high fat and medium protein, I think moderation in the quantity of saturated fat may be a key.

For a great blog on saturated fat and a second blog on the same topic and mono- and polyunsaturated fat, read these blogs by David Mendosa.

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