1

votes

Fat Ratio: what is the optimal ratio of FFAs in diet?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 14, 2011 at 1:51 AM

I have heard from someone on this site that the optimal ratio is 1:1, saturated fat to Monounsaturated fat. Is this true? Could someone please explain why?

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 15, 2011
at 08:22 PM

(Length of fats: relevant to coconut.)

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 15, 2011
at 08:21 PM

It looks like the basic idea is that too much saturated would increase the temperature necessary for fluidity. But of course our diet may have absolutely nothing to do with this, it might all be regulated by our bodies and not in the least a cause for concern. I guess only well-designed studies could tell us? Which I guess is what you were looking for ... Note also that the *length* of the fats matters.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 15, 2011
at 08:18 PM

Hi Rob, I have no specific reference for this thing about stiffening membranes, but it's possible that Personman got it from Kamal's comment to my answer http://paleohacks.com/questions/12638/could-we-modern-paleos-be-eating-too-much-saturated-fat/12691#12691 which is in one of the threads I linked to. There you'll get the idea in "googlable form": the term is "membrane fluidity." There's a Wikipedia page and other stuff, so maybe eventually there might be some studies to find?

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on March 14, 2011
at 11:23 PM

Why is that sat fat above 50% will stiffen cell membranes??? Reference.

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on March 14, 2011
at 11:21 PM

I'm on the hunt for info on this, but finding it hard to find any. Please do post if you find anything.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 14, 2011
at 06:36 PM

Good additional comments. I didn't see them until later...

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on March 14, 2011
at 05:53 PM

oh no worries Paul. I didn't see your comment in a rude context. I remember reading very recently that explicitly stated that SFA and MUFA are essentially handled by the body the same way. I just now spent about 20 minutes looking for it on PaNu, Kresser, and PHD and came up short but if I find it, I will come back here and post it. Thx!

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 14, 2011
at 05:22 PM

Although sorry for saying "shortcoming," that might have sounded rude. I see now that what you say is based on the claim that there really shouldn't be a difference between the way the body handles MUFA and SFA. Not sure that I can agree or disagree, I guess I don't know too much more than what you see here, and the things on those other Paleohacks threads. Back to work for me!

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 14, 2011
at 04:42 PM

"The first of my links": i.e., this one, Kamal's question: http://paleohacks.com/questions/12638/could-we-modern-paleos-be-eating-too-much-saturated-fat

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 14, 2011
at 04:41 PM

Right, this is the other way to go about it. My answer is: we probably would have been eating such ratios in the paleolithic. Your answer is: SFAs and MUFAs are good because they don't oxidize. The trouble with my answer is that it's not satisfying if one wants "science first, anthropology second." The shortcoming of your answer is that even though we are given a reason why we should keep PUFAs low, and therefore MUFA+SFA high (90% as you say), we don't know about the best balance between the MUFA and the SFA. This is the issue in the first of my links.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 14, 2011
at 04:29 PM

in response I gave my best answer: because that is the ratio found in ruminants. It's a mainstream, "paleo" answer, I suppose. If you go look at the other threads I linked to you will find other routes through which you might consider your question. Or you might also get other answers in the meantime.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 14, 2011
at 04:27 PM

@PersonMan, you are welcome to ignore the large additional paragraph of my response, and I tried, but perhaps failed, to be as polite as possible to make it clear that I was by no means lecturing, but providing extra information for those who might be interested; one of the things that goes on on this forum is that people try their hand at explaining things in ways that are hopefully helpful. My apologies for any misunderstanding. In any event, the first two paragraphs are more than pertinent I think. You asked why people say that 1:1 saturated to monounsaturated is optimal and [continued]

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 14, 2011
at 04:06 PM

Where are the pertinent responses? We aren't looking to be lectured on basic biochemistry but for practical info regarding diet planning/programming. I think, ROb, that your SATs would be too high(I read somewhere on this site that greater than 50% SATs would stiffen cell membranes, and MUFAs will reduce the stiffness. But again: What is the OPTIMAL ratio for TRIGLYCERIDES in the diet, eg. SATS:MUFAS:PUFAS?

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 14, 2011
at 01:10 PM

Well, Paul, even if Personman didn't need all the info, I thoroughly enjoyed it! Thanks for the review!

  • 77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

    asked by

    (78467)
  • Views
    2.7K
  • Last Activity
    1280D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

4 Answers

5
47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 14, 2011
at 06:08 AM

The reason you might have the 1:1 figure in your head is that in ruminants, very generally and approximately speaking, there is around the same amount of saturated and monounsaturated. And those two compose the great majority of the fat -- there's usually a small amount of PUFA along for the ride. So if you think that ruminant consumption is optimal, then you'll think that such a ratio also is optimal. See this set of data, for example, for grass-fed ground beef.

There are also good Paleohacks discussions on this, including this one and this one. The ever-helpful RobS (formerly Rob Sacks) posted a great chart in his answer about "waxy fat" here. (Just ignore my inane questions about eating candles.) In the chart you can see how fat composition varies between different places in the whole animal. There's a link to the original study also, and other relevant studies.

As an aside: you ask about FFAs in your question. This usually stands for free fatty acids. But fats are usually in the form of triglycerides when they are in food. Just as you usually store your fat as a triglyceride, so does the animal you eat. A triglyceride is just three fatty acids (long chains of carbons with hydrogens on them, basically) all attached to a glycerol molecule as the "backbone." The fats have to become detached from the backbone (or one can stay on) to make it through your gut wall into your blood. They are then reassembled into triglycerides to get shipped off in little containers (lipoproteins: like HDL and LDL for example, but at this point the kind of lipoprotein used is a "chylomicron") to various places. Triglycerides are also broken down in order to make it through your cell walls, and then reassembled again into triglycerides inside the cells for storage. But at any given time there are also always free fatty acids floating around in the blood stream, sometimes more, sometimes less -- though not inside the containers, the lipoproteins, but not unaccompanied either (since fats are insoluble in blood): they're attached to albumin, which I don't know anything about or understand. So those are the FFAs. Everything else is triglycerides.

Sorry if you already knew this, if you were just typing casually above. Then I guess this is all unnecessary, but I kind of wanted to see if I could spell it all out for myself anyway, and it was fun.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 14, 2011
at 01:10 PM

Well, Paul, even if Personman didn't need all the info, I thoroughly enjoyed it! Thanks for the review!

1
Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on March 14, 2011
at 04:28 PM

I like Paul's answer because it indirectly answers the question with some interesting added information as a bonus.

It is my understanding that your body will treat SFA and MUFA very similarly, as neither are prone to oxidation and both are healthy sources of dietary fats. There's no real need to watch your MUFA intake, save for the fact that most MUFA comes packaged with at least some PUFA, as Paul alludes to in his answer. In some cases, especially with some oils, MUFA and PUFA are about even. Those are the oils you'll want to avoid, with one exception, cold pressed sesame oil, which has some poly, but is rich in anti oxidents so it is not prone to oxidation.

Optimal Ratio: I would say get at least 90% of your fats from a combination of SFA/MUFA and less than 10% of your fats from PUFA. So if you are eating 50% fat altogether, you would eat less than 5% of your calories from PUFA. And unless you sit around and eats nuts and avocados all day, I think eating "Paleo" will automatically give you more SFA than MUFA anyway, so personally I don't keep tally.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 14, 2011
at 05:22 PM

Although sorry for saying "shortcoming," that might have sounded rude. I see now that what you say is based on the claim that there really shouldn't be a difference between the way the body handles MUFA and SFA. Not sure that I can agree or disagree, I guess I don't know too much more than what you see here, and the things on those other Paleohacks threads. Back to work for me!

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 14, 2011
at 04:42 PM

"The first of my links": i.e., this one, Kamal's question: http://paleohacks.com/questions/12638/could-we-modern-paleos-be-eating-too-much-saturated-fat

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on March 14, 2011
at 05:53 PM

oh no worries Paul. I didn't see your comment in a rude context. I remember reading very recently that explicitly stated that SFA and MUFA are essentially handled by the body the same way. I just now spent about 20 minutes looking for it on PaNu, Kresser, and PHD and came up short but if I find it, I will come back here and post it. Thx!

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 14, 2011
at 04:41 PM

Right, this is the other way to go about it. My answer is: we probably would have been eating such ratios in the paleolithic. Your answer is: SFAs and MUFAs are good because they don't oxidize. The trouble with my answer is that it's not satisfying if one wants "science first, anthropology second." The shortcoming of your answer is that even though we are given a reason why we should keep PUFAs low, and therefore MUFA+SFA high (90% as you say), we don't know about the best balance between the MUFA and the SFA. This is the issue in the first of my links.

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on March 14, 2011
at 11:21 PM

I'm on the hunt for info on this, but finding it hard to find any. Please do post if you find anything.

0
D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on March 14, 2011
at 05:27 AM

I've never heard anyone say that.

0
0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on March 14, 2011
at 04:05 AM

I would like to know this too. Usually my saturated fat intake is much higher than my monounsaturated fat because I consume a lot of coconut oil. Hopefully I am not creating an undesirable imbalance.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 14, 2011
at 06:36 PM

Good additional comments. I didn't see them until later...

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 15, 2011
at 08:21 PM

It looks like the basic idea is that too much saturated would increase the temperature necessary for fluidity. But of course our diet may have absolutely nothing to do with this, it might all be regulated by our bodies and not in the least a cause for concern. I guess only well-designed studies could tell us? Which I guess is what you were looking for ... Note also that the *length* of the fats matters.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 14, 2011
at 04:06 PM

Where are the pertinent responses? We aren't looking to be lectured on basic biochemistry but for practical info regarding diet planning/programming. I think, ROb, that your SATs would be too high(I read somewhere on this site that greater than 50% SATs would stiffen cell membranes, and MUFAs will reduce the stiffness. But again: What is the OPTIMAL ratio for TRIGLYCERIDES in the diet, eg. SATS:MUFAS:PUFAS?

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 14, 2011
at 04:29 PM

in response I gave my best answer: because that is the ratio found in ruminants. It's a mainstream, "paleo" answer, I suppose. If you go look at the other threads I linked to you will find other routes through which you might consider your question. Or you might also get other answers in the meantime.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 15, 2011
at 08:22 PM

(Length of fats: relevant to coconut.)

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 14, 2011
at 04:27 PM

@PersonMan, you are welcome to ignore the large additional paragraph of my response, and I tried, but perhaps failed, to be as polite as possible to make it clear that I was by no means lecturing, but providing extra information for those who might be interested; one of the things that goes on on this forum is that people try their hand at explaining things in ways that are hopefully helpful. My apologies for any misunderstanding. In any event, the first two paragraphs are more than pertinent I think. You asked why people say that 1:1 saturated to monounsaturated is optimal and [continued]

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 15, 2011
at 08:18 PM

Hi Rob, I have no specific reference for this thing about stiffening membranes, but it's possible that Personman got it from Kamal's comment to my answer http://paleohacks.com/questions/12638/could-we-modern-paleos-be-eating-too-much-saturated-fat/12691#12691 which is in one of the threads I linked to. There you'll get the idea in "googlable form": the term is "membrane fluidity." There's a Wikipedia page and other stuff, so maybe eventually there might be some studies to find?

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on March 14, 2011
at 11:23 PM

Why is that sat fat above 50% will stiffen cell membranes??? Reference.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!