1

votes

Brain Aging from Red Meat

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 20, 2012 at 5:00 PM

This article - http://www.boston.com/dailydose/2012/05/18/tweaking-dietary-fat-intake-could-help-slow-brain-aging-study-suggests/OO7tmvxhB2E8V0algT7DlL/story.html?comments=all#readerComm has a VERY misleading title, and the conclusions in the paper it links to don't specifically mention red meat or dairy, but if the study is indeed accurate, how does this translate to grass fed beef and raw dairy from grass fed cows?

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 13, 2013
at 06:27 PM

Is it really safe to assume the researchers properly accounted for every confounding variable? Is that even possible? If you agree correlation does not establish causation, what is the point of your poisonous plant example? And why add that last paragraph? Seems irrelevant to me.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 13, 2013
at 06:22 PM

I'm the one didn't care to read the study in detail above. I agree 100% a lot of my dietary beliefs are rooted in some sort of faith/trust in specific experts or even "experts." I have posted about it before http://paleohacks.com/questions/111837/does-being-paleo-come-down-to-faith I would argue though the same is true of almost anyone's dietary beliefs. Unfortunately, it only seems to be a point of concern if those beliefs do not line up with conventional wisdom. Otherwise, the beliefs are readily taken as facts (e.g., SFA is deadly).

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on April 13, 2013
at 05:16 PM

+1. I'm disturbed that someone voted this down.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on May 20, 2012
at 06:22 PM

those women probably got their saturated fats @ mcdonalds. correlation =\= causation, like mike said

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7 Answers

2
4e204558cf309a5d71be5de775b48b6e

on April 13, 2013
at 02:34 PM

I don't take sides in these kinds of things. But I am a stickler for discussing the science correctly.

What I'm seeing in the responses here reflects a cult mentality. For example, the sentiment of "I haven't read the study but I'm sure someone else will debunk it, this giving me something to believe in which is more in keeping with my current (cult) belief system".

The fact of the matter is that there is credible evidence showing correlation between SFA consumption and cognitive decline. The scientists involved in the the study have a great deal of experience with doing multivariate analyses properly. The dataset is large and about as high quality as long term cohort data gets. So the trivial refutations I'm seeing, like "They didn't take into account calories consumed." are pretty lame.

From the standpoint of science, it's quite true that correlation does not establish causation. However, from a decision-making standpoint, it does shift the probabilities. If you're on a camping trip and a friend eats a native plant and he dies the next day, and then on that day, another friend eats the same plant and dies the next day, that does not establish causation. But are you going to eat that plant? Hiding behind "correlation isn't causation" is just sticking your heads into the sand to avoid cognitive dissonance.

Paying selective attention only to studies with results you approve of (like the 2010 Krauss and Hu meta-analysis) is not being "evidence-based". And remember, that study only dealt with CVD (not diabetes risk or brain health). And even then, it didn't say that there was nothing wrong with SFA. It said that the level of evidence was such that the emphasis, by public health organizations, upon reduction of saturated fat compared to other measures was not well supported. Subsequent research by Krauss (yes, a real RCT) shows that SFA in combination with red meat may indeed be a significant CVD risk factor. More research is needed.

Less research has been done on various fats and the brain. Ignore what research, like this, which has been done, at your own peril.

Besides... and ignoring for the moment that there was never any such thing as one single paleo diet in out history... if you want to call yourself "Paleo" you should be eating animal hearts, lungs, liver, gall-bladder, kidneys, brain, in proportion to all that muscle meat paleo folk seem to focus upon. The consideration of whether it's grain or grass fed is quite secondary to proper proportion of organ tissue vs muscle tissue.

-Steve Bergman

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on April 13, 2013
at 05:16 PM

+1. I'm disturbed that someone voted this down.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 13, 2013
at 06:22 PM

I'm the one didn't care to read the study in detail above. I agree 100% a lot of my dietary beliefs are rooted in some sort of faith/trust in specific experts or even "experts." I have posted about it before http://paleohacks.com/questions/111837/does-being-paleo-come-down-to-faith I would argue though the same is true of almost anyone's dietary beliefs. Unfortunately, it only seems to be a point of concern if those beliefs do not line up with conventional wisdom. Otherwise, the beliefs are readily taken as facts (e.g., SFA is deadly).

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 13, 2013
at 06:27 PM

Is it really safe to assume the researchers properly accounted for every confounding variable? Is that even possible? If you agree correlation does not establish causation, what is the point of your poisonous plant example? And why add that last paragraph? Seems irrelevant to me.

2
1407bd6152d9fdbc239250385159fea1

on May 20, 2012
at 06:09 PM

First basic problem: " compared dietary surveys " -- food journal studies are best used for a dog's makeshift toilet when it's raining outside, not extrapolating actual conclusions from.

Second basic problem: Read the conclusions drawn from the study, they basically equate to: "We didn't really prove anything, but because we think saturated fat is inflammatory and hence detrimental to cardiovascular health, we're also just going to blame cognitive decline on the legion of doom and saturated fat."

It's just ridiculous. Like a previous commenter said, this 'study' is not worth your time.

2
Cccb899526fb5908f64176e0a74ed2d9

(2801)

on May 20, 2012
at 05:14 PM

The article didn't seem to account for variation in overall caloric intake, nor were other dietary factors taken into account; what, for example, was the vehicle of fat delivery? a nice steak? or a milkshake?

2
Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on May 20, 2012
at 05:08 PM

Caveat: I haven't read the study in detail and don't really care to. I'm sure someone will soon post a comprehensive debunking of it. My guess is that one of the biggest issues is that this is correlation and not causation. If conventional wisdom is that saturated fat is bad, then on average perhaps more intelligent people are more likely to know of the reduce saturated fat recommendation and to try to follow it. So yes, then intelligence could be correlated to lower saturated fat intake. The problem? Convention wisdom has been wrong. Once that gets fixed and some time passes, I bet the correlation will reverse.

1
F1b82cc7e6d90384ad30007dd6c1b9e3

(1187)

on May 20, 2012
at 05:57 PM

skip it, not worth your time

0
56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on April 14, 2013
at 12:58 AM

There exists a whole world of dietary experiences out there, as soon as you cross the border or crack a book. Which populations have little or no dementia? That will give you a much more scientifically robust answer to your query. No, I won't read the article. My life is too short.

0
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on April 13, 2013
at 04:30 PM

From what I've read, the best way that's currently known to help avoid brain aging is occasional fasting to encourage cleanup of old damaged tissues.

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