2

votes

Does paleo really lower cardiovascular disease risk?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 03, 2012 at 1:54 AM

This month the Physicians Health Study II results were published on the effect of Centrum Silver on cardiovascular disease (CVD). They showed no association with multivitamin use and likelihood of any kind of CVD, and thus were presented which considerably less fanfare than the results on cancer that showed a small benefit for the older doctors taking Centrum and were widely reported in the media.

Compared to most studies on nutrition, I believe these should be taken seriously. They tracked 14641 doctors over 10-13 years and assigned them to take Centrum or placebo in a double blind fashion.

I wonder, given this study, if the standard American diet leaves any nutrient deficiencies that contribute to CVD. If so, then perhaps consuming some of our lauded paleo foods (grass-fed ruminants, butter, eggs, etc.) will be heart-healthy. We can argue with conventional wisdom about whether saturated fat is harmful in the context of a paleo diet, but one point frequently made on the pro-paleo side is that these foods uniquely hold important nutrients like CLA and K2 that are cardio-protective.

Granted Centrum has CLA nor K2. But it seems that either:

  1. Hardly anyone was deficient in the nutrients Centrum provides, or
  2. A deficiency in those nutrients has little impact on CVD.

How sure should we be that fatty paleo foods, eaten in the quantities many (including myself) tend to, are providing protective and essential nutrients? I don't want to re-debate the conventional wisdom view of saturated fat and heart disease, but how sure are we that it's an acceptable risk to eat lots of saturated fat in order to obtain their unique nutrients?

Thanks for reading a long question -- it's important enough to me that I felt the need to stop being a lurker here.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on December 04, 2012
at 12:46 AM

Ya it was Krauss I was referring to, but ya cool 3x/day is quite a bit. When I looked I could only find the percentages I listed above.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on December 04, 2012
at 12:04 AM

So either don't eat red meat all day every day....or perhaps go give some blood. Hell, go give some blood anyway ;)

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on December 04, 2012
at 12:03 AM

If your talking about the new Krauss study bit...Krauss is actually speculating its the increased iron load from eating red meat 3x/day everyday that caused the increased risk factors.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on December 03, 2012
at 10:38 PM

It's also a pretty short time frame, so hard to tell if cholesterol would stay elevated. I'll be paying attention though to his 5 year study he's got going now to see if there's anything to it.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on December 03, 2012
at 10:35 PM

Well considering that protein intake in the lchsf diet was 31% with only 10% coming from beef while 31% of the diet was carbohydrate along with 15% mufa and 5% pufas, I think it wasn't a beef and cheese only diet. That said though I don't disagree with your sentiment, I bet it's the steric acid in the dairy fat causing extra heme iron absorption like the doctor suggested. I don't think I should disregard it though because, well I'm primal and my diet can look a lot like this at times.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 03, 2012
at 09:49 PM

Oh come on. The only way he could get saturated fat to cause a rise in cholesterol was by feeding subjects a diet consisting only of beef and cheese. If you don't want high cholesterol, don't eat a beef/cheese only diet.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on December 03, 2012
at 06:57 PM

Regarding the vitamin approach, aspirin works better. If you want to paleo it, go beaver down a willow tree.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on December 03, 2012
at 06:56 PM

Population statistics work for me. I'm not such a special snowflake that I don't benefit from raising my HDL and lowering my blood pressure.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on December 03, 2012
at 04:33 AM

The more I research nutrition the more I think I should just take my grandmothers advice and enjoy "everything in moderation"

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on December 03, 2012
at 04:32 AM

Ha, ya I'm definitely with you there. I think a lot of the problems people have may be from micro nutrient deficiencies and/or imbalances for instance high zinc copper ratio can lead to some bad stuff: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0271531785801172 I don't know too much about this but I think our underlying chemistry may have more to do with chronic disease than any amount of fat or carbohydrate.

69d24654933b57b6c0bac5a32717f0eb

on December 03, 2012
at 03:54 AM

Krauss' studies from your link: Lower carb was better, and mostly SFA was just as good as MUFA on the low carb diet. But SFA plus lots of lean beef was bad, but MUFA plus lots of lean beef was ok. Like you, I'm a bit fat phobic due to mixed results like these, and it makes me wonder if SFA is necessary, or if I should just pour olive oil all over some chicken breasts and call it a day.

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5 Answers

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2
7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on December 03, 2012
at 02:58 AM

This interview with Ron Kruass might interest you, he had a big part in showing how carb restriction can reduce CVD risk in "most" individuals.

http://www.meandmydiabetes.com/2012/04/17/ron-krauss-saturated-fat-red-meat-it-depends/

In the majority of people saturated fat seems to be at worst benign and even beneficial if eaten with a variety of different protein sources.

I came to this way of eating quite fat phobic and to be honest I still am a little. I try and find peace of mind by keeping up with modern nutritional science as best I can and reading up on anthropology and also learning about traditional diets.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on December 03, 2012
at 04:33 AM

The more I research nutrition the more I think I should just take my grandmothers advice and enjoy "everything in moderation"

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on December 03, 2012
at 04:32 AM

Ha, ya I'm definitely with you there. I think a lot of the problems people have may be from micro nutrient deficiencies and/or imbalances for instance high zinc copper ratio can lead to some bad stuff: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0271531785801172 I don't know too much about this but I think our underlying chemistry may have more to do with chronic disease than any amount of fat or carbohydrate.

69d24654933b57b6c0bac5a32717f0eb

on December 03, 2012
at 03:54 AM

Krauss' studies from your link: Lower carb was better, and mostly SFA was just as good as MUFA on the low carb diet. But SFA plus lots of lean beef was bad, but MUFA plus lots of lean beef was ok. Like you, I'm a bit fat phobic due to mixed results like these, and it makes me wonder if SFA is necessary, or if I should just pour olive oil all over some chicken breasts and call it a day.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on December 04, 2012
at 12:03 AM

If your talking about the new Krauss study bit...Krauss is actually speculating its the increased iron load from eating red meat 3x/day everyday that caused the increased risk factors.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on December 04, 2012
at 12:04 AM

So either don't eat red meat all day every day....or perhaps go give some blood. Hell, go give some blood anyway ;)

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 03, 2012
at 09:49 PM

Oh come on. The only way he could get saturated fat to cause a rise in cholesterol was by feeding subjects a diet consisting only of beef and cheese. If you don't want high cholesterol, don't eat a beef/cheese only diet.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on December 04, 2012
at 12:46 AM

Ya it was Krauss I was referring to, but ya cool 3x/day is quite a bit. When I looked I could only find the percentages I listed above.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on December 03, 2012
at 10:35 PM

Well considering that protein intake in the lchsf diet was 31% with only 10% coming from beef while 31% of the diet was carbohydrate along with 15% mufa and 5% pufas, I think it wasn't a beef and cheese only diet. That said though I don't disagree with your sentiment, I bet it's the steric acid in the dairy fat causing extra heme iron absorption like the doctor suggested. I don't think I should disregard it though because, well I'm primal and my diet can look a lot like this at times.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on December 03, 2012
at 10:38 PM

It's also a pretty short time frame, so hard to tell if cholesterol would stay elevated. I'll be paying attention though to his 5 year study he's got going now to see if there's anything to it.

2
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on December 03, 2012
at 02:22 AM

I'm not too surprised that a synthetic vitamin concentrate had no effect on CVD.

And without a "re-debate" of the CW view all I can say to your direct question is that of "how sure am I........" Well, I'm pretty damn sure. Nothing in life or science (especially the softer science of biology) is absolute. Take what you know and make your best guess. Thats life.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on December 03, 2012
at 06:57 PM

Regarding the vitamin approach, aspirin works better. If you want to paleo it, go beaver down a willow tree.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on December 03, 2012
at 06:56 PM

Population statistics work for me. I'm not such a special snowflake that I don't benefit from raising my HDL and lowering my blood pressure.

1
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10979)

on December 03, 2012
at 02:35 AM

Umm, I don't just eat fatty paleo foods, lol. I do take k2-mk4 I also take retinol and d3, sometimes zinc piccolinate with meals. And I take those on top of getting my full rda allowance of vitamins minerals and nutrients from whole foods. I'm not really that sure that paleo lowers CHD but I can say with a great deal of confidence that k2 likely does. I can also say with a pretty high degree of confidence that grains, sugar, hfcs, and nut/seed oils increase odds of getting obesity, cancer, chd, alzheimers and the list goes on.

You're gonna have to do what makes the most sense for me and correlation doesn't mean causation but, does it not seem to bother you that from fossil records it shows that for the most part before our ancestors adapted agriculture we had hefty healthy frames, no osteoperosis or that documented societies around the world in the last 200 years haven't had cancer/CHD before adopting the western diet of wheat and sugar?

0
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on December 03, 2012
at 07:14 PM

Not having read the Centrum study, all I can say is keep in mind that there is a broad difference between SUPPLEMENTATION and good NUTRITION. There's no guarantee that the Centrum supplements are bioavailable. How, for instance, can you benefit from the FAT SOLUBLE vitamin supplements (A,D, E, and K) if you follow a low fat diet? Studies have shown that even dietary forms of those vitamins are not fully bioavailable without fat. So I don't see how you could extrapolate anything about the benefits of a well-formulated Paleo diet based on the Centrum study.

0
Medium avatar

(10601)

on December 03, 2012
at 06:54 PM

I use this model: http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/atpiii/calculator.asp

Inproving CVD risk is only incidentally related to diet and supplements. If you do something that greatly lowers your systolic blood pressure or raises your HDL you lower your risk substantially. Eating less - especially diabetes inducing high glycemic carbs - and being active both do that. If you can create a scenario where vitamin pills help you with the major risk factors more power to you.

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