7

votes

New study suggests low carb/high fat is bad for cholesterol. Is this the nail in the Paleo-coffin ???

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created June 13, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Please give me some witty come-backs when my over-weight, high-carb, low-fat eating coworkers smugly ask me about this latest study . . .

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/06/time-to-retire-the-low-carb-diet-fad/258343/

The study concludes that, over time, reducing animal fat intake decreased blood cholesterol levels, and that a high fat low carbohydrate diet increased blood cholesterol levels. On average, Swedes who switched from a lower fat diet to a higher fat/lower carbohydrate diet saw their blood cholesterol creep up -- despite an increased use of cholesterol lowering medication.

Thanks,

Mike

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 14, 2012
at 12:02 PM

Open the link to the study that Sam Knox provides in his hack. If you look at the last graph you'll see the serum cholesterol results over time. Based on the magnitude of the numbers I think it's total cholesterol.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 13, 2012
at 10:44 PM

@Tyler - exactly. You know what they say: "When all you have is a hammer..." The thing is, we now have hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers, plyers, and electric drills. So why is everything still a nail? (Actually, I think even the mainstream medical community is starting to come around, but it's gonna take a loooong time (and a lot of loud voices) to counter the statin propaganda. Those drugs make some people $$$$.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 08:46 PM

I would have waited to hear the donut eater respond with something like "miss your meds today?" or "care for part of my donut?"

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 13, 2012
at 08:39 PM

Are you sure you are reading the right perspectives here? :-) Maybe I should have italicized "that" to insinuate that it was verbalized sarcastically.

36ba71ea8bc4f736f4113433fde572bd

(347)

on June 13, 2012
at 08:38 PM

I agree with Amy: 1) correlation != causation, 2) food recall questionnaires are provably awful for identifying food intake. Other problems: all the measure is cholesterol. See Figure 2 here and decide if you want lower or higher cholesterol -- particularly if you're female: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3303886/ Shrug. It's a big kerfuffle really about not much.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 08:27 PM

As far as the serum cholesterol rise, it's not enough to pose an increased risk by anyone's measure. Again, the writer looked at the abstract and concluded that the sky was falling.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 08:24 PM

I'd call it sloppy reporting. I like the population study itself but the writer did a hack job trying to make it bleed.

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb

(1644)

on June 13, 2012
at 08:01 PM

Honestly, I think the battle against awful reporting is in many ways more important, considering the crap that the uneducated "public opinion" got us into in the first place.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on June 13, 2012
at 07:57 PM

Or not sloppy study per se, it's an unhelpful study, and a sloppy interpretation by the media, who doesn't understand what Chris Masterjohn and others do about cholesterol.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on June 13, 2012
at 07:56 PM

I just kind of nit-picked and debated the article's points, which I consider to be one important battle in a war against bad science. But I didn't say anything about the study being talked about. Yes it suggests that cholesterol went up, we can likely blame the diet, but I don't think that any increase in serum LDL cholesterol is bad, and I think that the degree to which it would increase anyway would depend on many dietary factors. It's a sloppy study, and the LDL = Plaque theory is bunk. The other comment linking to Masterjohn gets my thumbs up.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 13, 2012
at 07:51 PM

That comments section is downright awesome. Win and fail alike.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 07:49 PM

A rebuttal using the same statement is like saying "yeah but what are you?" I'd expect something a little snappier from someone under the influence of coffee and donuts.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 07:45 PM

aka stabby raccoon?

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 13, 2012
at 07:33 PM

The snappy rebuttal is the "How's that working out for you?". Walking away is just icing (butter) on the cake (steak).

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 07:12 PM

Thanks for posting a link that works! I looked at the graph for serum cholesterol and converted the eurounits to mg/dl. At the very beginning the level was 300, which dropped to 193 in 2005. Thereafter it increased to 210. Framingham does not detect any significant change in risk for 2005-2008 rise, but there is significant risk to being at 300.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on June 13, 2012
at 07:02 PM

They never mentioned LCHF until the end of the study. They could have isolated those actually on a LCHF diet, but instead just hypothesized about "hmm, why did fat intake go up? Must be Atkins,even though the high fat sources are not remotely low carb."

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:55 PM

HAHA! Touche, Ben. :)

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:50 PM

What? Walk away before the snappy rebuttal?

1e443a3241f80129faa05125ce346e47

(734)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:48 PM

"It also proves that whatever cholesterol lowering meds they were on DON'T WORK." Fortunately

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:48 PM

Statins dramatically reduce LDL. But if you plug the numbers in Framingham a 20 point reduction in TC has very little effect on CV risk. One of the outcomes of the Swedish study was also that tC had gone up despite the use of medication.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:38 PM

It also proves that whatever cholesterol lowering meds they were on DON'T WORK.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:38 PM

SEE?! That's exactly what I mentioned in my answer (before I was even able to access the full text article). It *wasn't even low carb!* 46%? COME ON.

5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on June 13, 2012
at 06:33 PM

And I'm a bitch, so that's how I'd handle it, too.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:09 PM

Ive now lost about an hour of productivity time. I didn't mean to insult you and i'm sorry it came across that way. I really must return to work or I'll have to make up for the lost time by missing a workout.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:07 PM

virtually every successful society in known histroy has eaten carbohydrates. I think calling people sugar burners and fat burners is a dangerous marketing term akin to racism and other forms of degredation.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:06 PM

virtually every successful society in known histroy has eaten carbohydrates. I think calling people sugar burners and fat burners is a dangerous marketing term akin to racism.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:03 PM

and he says he doesn't eat them anymore. I don't really KNOW that eating eggs isn't detrimental if you already have a family history of high cholesterol, so I didn't bother. I don't know enough of the science, and I don't think anyone really does. That's why I think we should just mimick what people do who are healthy and getting results. Everyone I know in person who looks, claims to feel healthy, adn performs at a high level eats alot of the "dangerous" foods that some paleohackers condemn- liek this whole class of nutrietns called carbs.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:58 PM

I work at a medical college and my boss eats hard boiled eggs as a snack. Like most people I know, she thinkgs a whole foods diet is healthy and thinks refined grains and sugar are not, but will eat them sometimes. Also, I know a very athletic doctor who used to eat eggs all the time. But then his father had a heart attack and found out he has a family history of high cholesterol....

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:57 PM

and I guess I am lucky because virtually everyone I know will admit that eating whole, real foods and a balanced diet which includes eggs, lean meats, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is healthy. I work at a medical college and my boss eats hard boiled eggs as a snack. Like most people I know, she thinkgs a whole foods diet is healthy and thinks refined grains and sugar are not, but will eat them sometimes. Also, I know a very athletic doctor who used to eat eggs all the time. But then his father had a heart attack and found out he has a family history of high cholesterol....

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:44 PM

Agreed. I get in more pointless arguments on paleohacks than I do in real life. If oyu could catch my inflection and I could catch yours, I'm sure it'd turn out much different- probably look more like friends disagreeing and poking fun at one anohter sarcastically.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:43 PM

Agreed. I get in more pointless arguments on paleohacks than I do in real life. If oyu could catch my inflection and I could catch yours, I'm sure it'd turn out much different- probably look more like friends disagreeing and poking fun at one anohter sarcastically. I have never been called venemous before. Stubborn yeah, but not venemous.

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb

(1644)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:38 PM

It's hard to make out such subtleties in text. And I have responded to that effect, to which they'll usually reply with one of: "but my doctor/magazine/favorite news station said...", giving me a strange look and walking away, or "it's your heart attack". Snarky comebacks to the worst offenders are vital to my mental well-being.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:34 PM

it was a light-hearted critisism, not an insult- subtle difference. Also, if someone said "what about the cholesterol" I'd say that it is likely the case that exogeneous cholesterol intake from food has little bearing on endogeneous blood cholesterol levels.

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb

(1644)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:34 PM

I'm really not interested in a "he said/she said" pissing match, especially on PH. There's plenty of flame wars to be had everywhere else on the Internet.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:32 PM

You wrote- "with their muffin top spilling out over their pants." Last time I checked that's an insult, only you didn't say it to their face. Me saying "youre stuck in the stone ages" is as light hearted as a critisism as you responding "what is this world coming to"

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:31 PM

+1 for mentioning mortality rates. In the end, that's what it's all about!

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb

(1644)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:31 PM

I think the point was that scientists have been so single-mindedly fixated on just one measurement for so long that it's been a net detriment to nutritional research.

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb

(1644)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:29 PM

Consider yourself lucky, then. Maybe you should talk to my co-workers who won't leave me the hell alone when I eat three hard boiled eggs for lunch. "BUT THE CHOLESTEROL!" And you're just a venomous person, aren't you? There's really no need to immediately jump to insults when someone even hints at disagreeing with you. I'm obviously aware of the fact that they don't survive entirely on fat free yogurt. I was pointing out the irony.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:26 PM

and you're actually stuck in the stone ages, aren't you? The person eating the tiny cup of fat-free yogurt does not eat like that all the time. They go on a crash diet and then get hungry and binge. Or, they actually do eat like that all the time and they're skeletal and anorexic.

1e443a3241f80129faa05125ce346e47

(734)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:26 PM

So they basically got healthier, despite the trash (cholesterol lowering meds) they took. How's that for a win? :)

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:25 PM

and you're actually stuck in the stone ages, aren't you? The person eating the tiny cup of fat-free yogurt does not eat like that all the time. They go on a crash diet and then get hungry and binge. Or, they actually do eat like that all the time and their skeletal and anorexic.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:21 PM

We have an organic salad bar here at work and I will often grill a flank steak at home and put that over a salad. I get comments on how healthy I eat, not the opposite.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:20 PM

Doctors just looooooove to throw statins at patients. I got tired of arguing with him, let his assistant call it in, and never picked it up. We'll see what my next test looks like...

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:03 PM

I'm kinda confused by the article and study. So, they ate more fat and their cholesterol levels rose. Don't see anything about increased heart disease or decreased longevity. Am I missing something?

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb

(1644)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:01 PM

"Eat less, move more" on Paleohacks? What is the world coming to? Besides, have you never been questioned about eating "artery-clogging red meat" by someone eating a tiny cup of fat-free yogurt with their muffin top spilling out over their pants? Some people just beg for a witty comeback.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:58 PM

Despite my long answer below, I think the best response is *no* response. Let your results speak for themselves.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:51 PM

The Atlantic article adds a lot of Fluff to the study, which I also could not pull up.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:48 PM

We had to start testing somewhere...and shifts in cholesterol size and molecular weight are probably important...cursing cholesterol testing per se comes across as being a Luddite...

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:34 PM

I'd like to upvote this more than once for this line alone: "I think we might actually be better off from a health perspective if they'd never came up with blood tests for cholesterol at all." SO TRUE!

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:32 PM

good answer .

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:30 PM

In all honesty, most of their eyes light up when someone brings food in, and it makes the office a more enjoyable place for them, which makes it more enjoyable for me.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:28 PM

*their, not they're

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:27 PM

I'm at my desk right now and about an hour ago a co worker of mine brought in some ginger-berry scones. The ones that ate from the basket didn't seem to care. I am sure they know it's not the healthiest choice, not everyone is so orthorexic as us p-hackers are. They don't talk about trying to lower their cholestrol and then eat a scone, they just eat a scone because they like the taste. They're priorities are different. I always politely refuse treats such as these and don't say anything about their decision.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:25 PM

You could give them a bloodwork challenge. Everybody gets a baseline test very soon. Six months from now, "I'll show you mine if you show me yours."

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:19 PM

Hate me? Unless you know something I don't, I certainly hope not. I am, however, a persistent health nag and a wet-blanket on their pig-out fests you described above. However, I recently realized I should nag less, so I gave two of my coworkers cash to hold in escrow. If I said anything about Paleo during the month of May, they could keep the cash. I exercised amazing self control and lost no money during that period !!!

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:16 PM

You can eat a low animal fat diet and still get ample amounts of cholesterol from muscle meat.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:15 PM

You can eat a low fat diet and still get ample amounts of cholesterol.

7e36094a0f7a2fbad24290225405220b

(2064)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:11 PM

Plus one for that, HeatherC. High cholesterol does not lead to heart attacks. Cholesterol is a vital component of every cell in your body. We would all die without it.

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19 Answers

best answer

17
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:13 PM

The Cholesterol Fed Rabbit, Ancel Keys And His Cherry Picking Ways

And Chris Masterjohn has a lot to say about Cholesterol as well.

I think we might actually be better off from a health perspective if they'd never came up with blood tests for cholesterol at all.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:48 PM

We had to start testing somewhere...and shifts in cholesterol size and molecular weight are probably important...cursing cholesterol testing per se comes across as being a Luddite...

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:34 PM

I'd like to upvote this more than once for this line alone: "I think we might actually be better off from a health perspective if they'd never came up with blood tests for cholesterol at all." SO TRUE!

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 13, 2012
at 10:44 PM

@Tyler - exactly. You know what they say: "When all you have is a hammer..." The thing is, we now have hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers, plyers, and electric drills. So why is everything still a nail? (Actually, I think even the mainstream medical community is starting to come around, but it's gonna take a loooong time (and a lot of loud voices) to counter the statin propaganda. Those drugs make some people $$$$.

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb

(1644)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:31 PM

I think the point was that scientists have been so single-mindedly fixated on just one measurement for so long that it's been a net detriment to nutritional research.

16
4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:57 PM

Considering that study lists burgers (with bun), pizza and chips as part of the "high fat/low carb" diet, I'd say it doesn't say much of anything about paleo.

When the study says "low carb", they mean marginally lower carb than SAD (or SSD). Like, going from 40% to 35% of calories. This isn't a true low carb diet like we would consider it.

As John Turner said, and not to sound anti-science, because I'm not, but large scale nutrition studies like this seem to have so many flaws that they do more harm through spreading bad information than they do good through telling us anything about how we should eat.

Finally, for a study like this, I could care less about the participants' cholesterol rates. Why don't they report on the mortality rates and causes of death? Why obscure the information we really want by filtering it through one more link of causation that needs to be made?

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:31 PM

+1 for mentioning mortality rates. In the end, that's what it's all about!

10
F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:10 PM

The best thing to tell them is that the diets were neither low-carb nor Paleo.

The macronutrient breakdown was roughly 40% fat, 14% protein, and 46% carbohydrate.

From the full text:

Changing intake patterns for fat and carbohydrate 1986 to 2010 In 1986, mean reported fat intake, adjusted for age and BMI, was 39.2% of the men???s total reported energy intake (E%). Carbohydrates made up 45.9 E% and protein 13.6 E%. For women the corresponding levels were 35.5 E%, 49.2 E% and 14.3 E% for fat, carbohydrates and protein, respectively, in the same year (Figrue 2). From 1986 to 2010 two significant trend breaks in reported fat intake were identified for both men and women. A decrease from 1986 to 1992 resulted in a reduction of reported fat intake by 2.9 E% in men and 4.4 E% in women. These levels stayed largely stable until 2002???2004, and thereafter a significant increase occurred, and reported fat intake reached levels above those in 1986. Thus, in 2010 men got 39.9% and women 37.7% of their reported total energy intake from fat. The trends were similar in 10-year age groups (Additional file 1: Figure S1). Intake of saturated fat correlated highly with total fat, i.e. Spearman correlation coefficients were 0.86 for men and 0.87 for women. Reported intake of saturated fat followed a similar pattern as total fat, and the correlation coefficients were virtually identical each year (data not shown). In the same period reciprocal trend shifts were seen for reported carbohydrate intake (Figure 2). The fraction of energy originating from protein was virtually unchanged over the 25-year period, i.e. a slight increase by 0.9 E% was seen for both men and women but no significant trend break was identified (Figure 2).

Also, the foods associated with fat consumption were:

Time trends for foods associated with high fat intake Fats used for spreading on bread and cooking, dairy products, oil for salad dressing or cooking, various types of meats and sausages as main dish or on sandwiches, pizza, deep- fried potato chips (French fries), and non-sweet snacks (including potato and maize crisps (chips), cheese-flavoured puffed products, popcorn, and peanuts) were identified to be associated with high fat intake (fatE%)

Here's a link to the provisional PDF: http://www.nutritionj.com/content/pdf/1475-2891-11-40.pdf

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on June 13, 2012
at 07:02 PM

They never mentioned LCHF until the end of the study. They could have isolated those actually on a LCHF diet, but instead just hypothesized about "hmm, why did fat intake go up? Must be Atkins,even though the high fat sources are not remotely low carb."

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:38 PM

SEE?! That's exactly what I mentioned in my answer (before I was even able to access the full text article). It *wasn't even low carb!* 46%? COME ON.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 07:12 PM

Thanks for posting a link that works! I looked at the graph for serum cholesterol and converted the eurounits to mg/dl. At the very beginning the level was 300, which dropped to 193 in 2005. Thereafter it increased to 210. Framingham does not detect any significant change in risk for 2005-2008 rise, but there is significant risk to being at 300.

9
Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:22 PM

What should you say to them about it?

I dunno. What do you say to them about this:

  1. "My over-weight, high-carb, low-fat eating coworkers." Have you ever pointed out that their Lean Cuisines don't seem to be working?

  2. I'm trying to pull up the full pdf of this study, but it doesn't want to load at the moment. But the first thing to note is, it looks like the Atlantic article is purely correlational. (And we know the difference between correlation and causation, right kids?) Also, the abstract says it was based on "self-reported food and nutrient intake." Giving people food recall questionnaires is, in terms of clinical research, notoriously shaky, shady, and unreliable. (Heheh...this is why people are sometimes encouraged to do a food journal when they're not getting the results they want with Paleo. We forget that the "one little piece" we grab of something, oh, 4 or 5 times a day, adds up! You think these people who self-reported as following a low-carb, high-fat diet are going to own up to all the times they slipped, cheated, or what-have-you? "I'm totally low carb, except for my friend's wedding...oh, and the weeklong cruise I went on...oh, and the Christmas party...and Easter...and...)

And since I can't bring up the full pdf, I can't determine the quality of this study. Was it even really a "low carb diet?" Medical "research" literature is full of studies on "low carb diets" that compared, say, a standard diet of about 60% calories from carbs to the "low carb diet" of 45 or 40% carbs. That. Is. Not. Low. Carb. So when you add back lots of fat on top of 45% carbs, NO, of COURSE your weight and blood lipids probably won't improve. Jeez. (Especially if you're sedentary!)

I'm sorry -- I'd like to say more, but really, without being able to read the actual study, we have no idea if the research really says what The Atlantic tells us it does. (I'm getting an MS in nutrition and am in a class called "Evidence Based Nutrition" right now. This is all we do -- evaluate the legitimacy of studies, and lemme tell ya, most of them are very good -- for lining your birdcage, that is!!)

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:51 PM

The Atlantic article adds a lot of Fluff to the study, which I also could not pull up.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:25 PM

You could give them a bloodwork challenge. Everybody gets a baseline test very soon. Six months from now, "I'll show you mine if you show me yours."

36ba71ea8bc4f736f4113433fde572bd

(347)

on June 13, 2012
at 08:38 PM

I agree with Amy: 1) correlation != causation, 2) food recall questionnaires are provably awful for identifying food intake. Other problems: all the measure is cholesterol. See Figure 2 here and decide if you want lower or higher cholesterol -- particularly if you're female: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3303886/ Shrug. It's a big kerfuffle really about not much.

6
5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:20 PM

You can probably find a study that shows more or less anything. Who cares about one more?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:32 PM

good answer .

6
34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:03 PM

I guess this matters if you believe the cholesterol hypothesis. Not sure what to tell your co-workers if they think cholesterol levels are linked to heart disease. You would have to get around that if they're going to get their heads around this.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:16 PM

You can eat a low animal fat diet and still get ample amounts of cholesterol from muscle meat.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:15 PM

You can eat a low fat diet and still get ample amounts of cholesterol.

7e36094a0f7a2fbad24290225405220b

(2064)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:11 PM

Plus one for that, HeatherC. High cholesterol does not lead to heart attacks. Cholesterol is a vital component of every cell in your body. We would all die without it.

5
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:44 PM

"What do you think of this study damning the way you eat?"

"I dunno, how do you suggest I eat?"

"Well, I eat oatmeal every morning, lean cuisine for lunch, and I have pasta for dinner with lots of red wine!"

"Yeah? And how's that working out for you?"

(Walk away before response is given)

That's how I'd handle it, but I'm a prick.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 13, 2012
at 07:33 PM

The snappy rebuttal is the "How's that working out for you?". Walking away is just icing (butter) on the cake (steak).

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 08:46 PM

I would have waited to hear the donut eater respond with something like "miss your meds today?" or "care for part of my donut?"

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 13, 2012
at 08:39 PM

Are you sure you are reading the right perspectives here? :-) Maybe I should have italicized "that" to insinuate that it was verbalized sarcastically.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:50 PM

What? Walk away before the snappy rebuttal?

5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on June 13, 2012
at 06:33 PM

And I'm a bitch, so that's how I'd handle it, too.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 07:49 PM

A rebuttal using the same statement is like saying "yeah but what are you?" I'd expect something a little snappier from someone under the influence of coffee and donuts.

5
877ded1787562057ee2e1a4548b6050a

on June 13, 2012
at 04:28 PM

I feel better than ever eating this way. I don't need anymore studies to make me feel good or bad about how I eat.

4
276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb

(1644)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:48 PM

Don't worry, guys. Stabby took care of it in the comments. All is well in the world again.

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb

(1644)

on June 13, 2012
at 08:01 PM

Honestly, I think the battle against awful reporting is in many ways more important, considering the crap that the uneducated "public opinion" got us into in the first place.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 08:24 PM

I'd call it sloppy reporting. I like the population study itself but the writer did a hack job trying to make it bleed.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 07:45 PM

aka stabby raccoon?

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on June 13, 2012
at 07:56 PM

I just kind of nit-picked and debated the article's points, which I consider to be one important battle in a war against bad science. But I didn't say anything about the study being talked about. Yes it suggests that cholesterol went up, we can likely blame the diet, but I don't think that any increase in serum LDL cholesterol is bad, and I think that the degree to which it would increase anyway would depend on many dietary factors. It's a sloppy study, and the LDL = Plaque theory is bunk. The other comment linking to Masterjohn gets my thumbs up.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 08:27 PM

As far as the serum cholesterol rise, it's not enough to pose an increased risk by anyone's measure. Again, the writer looked at the abstract and concluded that the sky was falling.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on June 13, 2012
at 07:57 PM

Or not sloppy study per se, it's an unhelpful study, and a sloppy interpretation by the media, who doesn't understand what Chris Masterjohn and others do about cholesterol.

3
Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:33 PM

Alternate answer:

You could get some info from the Weston Price Foundation website that would explain low cholesterol levels have been linked with violence, aggression, suicide, and violent death. (Plus greater mortality rates from cancer.) Low cholesterol ain't all it's cracked up to be.

3
193f00d53ebcb13940c7a55afc78ad17

on June 13, 2012
at 04:19 PM

As Heather already mentioned, it depends on if you believe high cholesterol is dangerous or not. I don't have time to review the full report, but the linked article does not indicate if the increased levels were in HDL, LDL or both. If HDL increased and LDL lowered or stayed the same, I'd argue the LCHF diet may have, in fact, been healthier.

Other things to consider are that these types of studies usually do not differentiate protein/fat sources, so you can assume most are conventional (non grass fed) and thus higher in Omega6 levels than what paleo camps advocate. They may also be using lower quality fats/proteins (again I don't have time for a full study review).

In the end, you just have to read up on things, form your own opinion, and follow it blindly. It's what humans have been doing since the dawn of time, and it's gotten us this far ;)

2
Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:37 PM

Witty comeback. Hmmmmm...

The database was created because of high incidence of CV problems in Swedish men. To no one's great surprise total cholesterol went up when the population started eating more animal fat. People on Paleohacks report the same thing every day.

My favorite CV risk tool is Framingham. Increasing TC has a slight effect in increasing CV risk, but nothing like high blood pressure and low HDL do. So factors which improve those two are the ones really worth worrying about, and paleo lifestyle improves both.

So at the end my witty comeback is

"What are you doing to reduce YOUR risk of stroke or heart attack?"

If they're obese I'd be interested in whether their response is medication...

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:20 PM

Doctors just looooooove to throw statins at patients. I got tired of arguing with him, let his assistant call it in, and never picked it up. We'll see what my next test looks like...

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:48 PM

Statins dramatically reduce LDL. But if you plug the numbers in Framingham a 20 point reduction in TC has very little effect on CV risk. One of the outcomes of the Swedish study was also that tC had gone up despite the use of medication.

1
F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:47 PM

You can also mention that many hunter-gatherer groups have blood cholesterol levels hovering around 260, and they have none of the diseases of modern civilization.

The criteria for "high cholesterol" are arbitrary and suited to help one entity, and one entity alone???drug companies. It is a poorly understood test and we're not even sure what to do with the results. Results that, by the way, vary widely depending on the day and time.

You could also arm yourself with the list of side effects from cholesterol meds: memory problems, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, etc.

But take heart, the fact that these people are grasping at straws means they have nothing of any real substance to nail you with.

1
A089b683ee0498f2b21b7edfa300e405

on June 13, 2012
at 06:35 PM

0
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on June 14, 2012
at 03:15 AM

HDL is good. LDL large fluffy is neutral. LDL small dense is bad. Which cholesterol went up?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 14, 2012
at 12:02 PM

Open the link to the study that Sam Knox provides in his hack. If you look at the last graph you'll see the serum cholesterol results over time. Based on the magnitude of the numbers I think it's total cholesterol.

0
723519573be05b5edeb0659025b2fcd2

(306)

on June 13, 2012
at 10:25 PM

Some good responses to this at LessWrong.

0
1e443a3241f80129faa05125ce346e47

(734)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:17 PM

"On average, Swedes who switched from a lower fat diet to a higher fat/lower carbohydrate diet saw their blood cholesterol creep up"

This just proves that low carb-high fats diets are healthier (from a cholesterol perspective, at least) (if you don't believe in the whole cholesterol-will-kill-you B.S).

"despite an increased use of cholesterol lowering medication."

Low carb-high fat diets even conquer toxic chemicals, apparently. What more can you expect? :)

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:38 PM

It also proves that whatever cholesterol lowering meds they were on DON'T WORK.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:55 PM

HAHA! Touche, Ben. :)

1e443a3241f80129faa05125ce346e47

(734)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:48 PM

"It also proves that whatever cholesterol lowering meds they were on DON'T WORK." Fortunately

0
58d456f4c4d551a697e65ada8c32ad4f

on June 13, 2012
at 05:13 PM

Witty comeback, are you 15? Just let it be. Know what works for you, keep doing it...

I have higher cholesterol, my HDLs are killing me!

0
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on June 13, 2012
at 04:06 PM

"Please give me some witty come-backs when my over-weight, high-carb, low-fat eating coworkers smugly ask me about this latest study"

They are obese because they eat too much and move too little. I also pretty much guarantee they are not eating a low fat diet. Or do you follow them around and watch what they eat all day? I'm going to guess that they are just the same as my coworkers and eat baked goods like muffins, scones, and donuts, etc. I bet chips aren't unheard of either. Oh, they probably also eat cheese. High carb, sure, but high everything else as well.

PS I bet they hate you.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:30 PM

In all honesty, most of their eyes light up when someone brings food in, and it makes the office a more enjoyable place for them, which makes it more enjoyable for me.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:43 PM

Agreed. I get in more pointless arguments on paleohacks than I do in real life. If oyu could catch my inflection and I could catch yours, I'm sure it'd turn out much different- probably look more like friends disagreeing and poking fun at one anohter sarcastically. I have never been called venemous before. Stubborn yeah, but not venemous.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:44 PM

Agreed. I get in more pointless arguments on paleohacks than I do in real life. If oyu could catch my inflection and I could catch yours, I'm sure it'd turn out much different- probably look more like friends disagreeing and poking fun at one anohter sarcastically.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:26 PM

and you're actually stuck in the stone ages, aren't you? The person eating the tiny cup of fat-free yogurt does not eat like that all the time. They go on a crash diet and then get hungry and binge. Or, they actually do eat like that all the time and they're skeletal and anorexic.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:27 PM

I'm at my desk right now and about an hour ago a co worker of mine brought in some ginger-berry scones. The ones that ate from the basket didn't seem to care. I am sure they know it's not the healthiest choice, not everyone is so orthorexic as us p-hackers are. They don't talk about trying to lower their cholestrol and then eat a scone, they just eat a scone because they like the taste. They're priorities are different. I always politely refuse treats such as these and don't say anything about their decision.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:19 PM

Hate me? Unless you know something I don't, I certainly hope not. I am, however, a persistent health nag and a wet-blanket on their pig-out fests you described above. However, I recently realized I should nag less, so I gave two of my coworkers cash to hold in escrow. If I said anything about Paleo during the month of May, they could keep the cash. I exercised amazing self control and lost no money during that period !!!

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:28 PM

*their, not they're

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb

(1644)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:29 PM

Consider yourself lucky, then. Maybe you should talk to my co-workers who won't leave me the hell alone when I eat three hard boiled eggs for lunch. "BUT THE CHOLESTEROL!" And you're just a venomous person, aren't you? There's really no need to immediately jump to insults when someone even hints at disagreeing with you. I'm obviously aware of the fact that they don't survive entirely on fat free yogurt. I was pointing out the irony.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:34 PM

it was a light-hearted critisism, not an insult- subtle difference. Also, if someone said "what about the cholesterol" I'd say that it is likely the case that exogeneous cholesterol intake from food has little bearing on endogeneous blood cholesterol levels.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:03 PM

and he says he doesn't eat them anymore. I don't really KNOW that eating eggs isn't detrimental if you already have a family history of high cholesterol, so I didn't bother. I don't know enough of the science, and I don't think anyone really does. That's why I think we should just mimick what people do who are healthy and getting results. Everyone I know in person who looks, claims to feel healthy, adn performs at a high level eats alot of the "dangerous" foods that some paleohackers condemn- liek this whole class of nutrietns called carbs.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:32 PM

You wrote- "with their muffin top spilling out over their pants." Last time I checked that's an insult, only you didn't say it to their face. Me saying "youre stuck in the stone ages" is as light hearted as a critisism as you responding "what is this world coming to"

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb

(1644)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:01 PM

"Eat less, move more" on Paleohacks? What is the world coming to? Besides, have you never been questioned about eating "artery-clogging red meat" by someone eating a tiny cup of fat-free yogurt with their muffin top spilling out over their pants? Some people just beg for a witty comeback.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:25 PM

and you're actually stuck in the stone ages, aren't you? The person eating the tiny cup of fat-free yogurt does not eat like that all the time. They go on a crash diet and then get hungry and binge. Or, they actually do eat like that all the time and their skeletal and anorexic.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:06 PM

virtually every successful society in known histroy has eaten carbohydrates. I think calling people sugar burners and fat burners is a dangerous marketing term akin to racism.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:21 PM

We have an organic salad bar here at work and I will often grill a flank steak at home and put that over a salad. I get comments on how healthy I eat, not the opposite.

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb

(1644)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:38 PM

It's hard to make out such subtleties in text. And I have responded to that effect, to which they'll usually reply with one of: "but my doctor/magazine/favorite news station said...", giving me a strange look and walking away, or "it's your heart attack". Snarky comebacks to the worst offenders are vital to my mental well-being.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:07 PM

virtually every successful society in known histroy has eaten carbohydrates. I think calling people sugar burners and fat burners is a dangerous marketing term akin to racism and other forms of degredation.

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb

(1644)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:34 PM

I'm really not interested in a "he said/she said" pissing match, especially on PH. There's plenty of flame wars to be had everywhere else on the Internet.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:09 PM

Ive now lost about an hour of productivity time. I didn't mean to insult you and i'm sorry it came across that way. I really must return to work or I'll have to make up for the lost time by missing a workout.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:58 PM

I work at a medical college and my boss eats hard boiled eggs as a snack. Like most people I know, she thinkgs a whole foods diet is healthy and thinks refined grains and sugar are not, but will eat them sometimes. Also, I know a very athletic doctor who used to eat eggs all the time. But then his father had a heart attack and found out he has a family history of high cholesterol....

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:57 PM

and I guess I am lucky because virtually everyone I know will admit that eating whole, real foods and a balanced diet which includes eggs, lean meats, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is healthy. I work at a medical college and my boss eats hard boiled eggs as a snack. Like most people I know, she thinkgs a whole foods diet is healthy and thinks refined grains and sugar are not, but will eat them sometimes. Also, I know a very athletic doctor who used to eat eggs all the time. But then his father had a heart attack and found out he has a family history of high cholesterol....

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