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The High Fat Meal

I just had someone post on The Peak Testosterone Forum that he had recently quit a high fat diet.  And it's no wonder:  high fat diets usually do the OPPOSITE of what is expected. 

Right now high fat meals are actually very popular, mostly because a study showed that a Low Carb/High Fat Diet is the fastest way to lose weight. The population of the United States is about one third obese and one third overweight and so any diet that loses weight quickly grabs the attention of the media and the public at large.  A huge amount of water weight is lost in the first few days that, even Atkins himself admitted would come right back in when the weight loss segment ended.

In addition, higher fat diets allow men, almost all of who are avid meat eaters, to keep eating meat and feel safe about continuing to do so.  However, as we will show below, this is quite often an illusion for the simple reason that high fat and low carb are one and the same.

NOTE:  I am NOT attacking meat eating here, but rather a high fat diet based on modern, industrial meats that are nothing like wild game.  Almost all of the problems in this article vanish if one eats range fed meats.  I discuss many options in my page on Low Fat Meats.

Before I go on, though, let me mention that the real problems with higher fat diets occur once the person is off of the dieting phase and enter the maintenance phase.  At this point, carbs have to be introduced into the diet and this is when many of the negative effects begin to occur.  If you are actually losing weight with a Low Carb Diet, you may be okay because one study showed that arterial plaque was reduced in this case with a Low Carb Diet.

However, below we'll show you the evidence, though, that high fat Low Carb meals are an extreme, a form of eating that the body never developed the ability to handle.  The reason?  High fat meals have been so scarce in our past.  For the great majority of the Paleolithic era and before, both in the jungles and outside, high fat meals have been the exception and not the norm.  Remember:  almost all wild game is low fat and oils, butter and dairy are a modern phenomenon.

And, to clarify, what I am talking about when I say a "high fat meal," I mean a meal where the fat calories are approximately 45-55% and above of the total calories and there are some carbs present.  Let's take one of the typical ingredients in a low carb/high fat meal:  ground round.  Let's say a man grabs some 90/10 ground beef.  The package says that it is 10% fat, but this is misleading, because 85 of its 182 calories are actually fat calories, which is right at 46%.  And, typically, other butters and oils are added to the meal on one form or another and the percent fat goes well over 50%.

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NOTE:  This is in contrast with a standard Mediterranean Diet that is around 30-35% fat generally with an emphasis on olive oil.  The Mediterannean Diet has done very well in the studies on everything from erectile dysfunction to Metabolic Syndrome to heart disease and you can read more about the subject in my link on The Many Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet

Once you get near this 50% mark, things get ugly really fast. High fat diets can attack your manhood and general health in a hundred different ways.  Here are 10 Reasons a High Fat Diet Are Often a Bad Idea:

1. Testosterone (Free and Total).  One study of high fat eating found a prolonged loss of testosterone (about 8 hours) after a meal. [4] Furthermore, the study found the loss to be significant, 22% and 23%, in total and free testosterone, respectively.  Ouch! An earlier study found that it was likely that a high fat diet affected the testes as opposed to leutinizing hormone. [6]

2. Inflammation. I always say that all you have to do is watch The Two Big 1.  Inflammation.  The arch-enemy of us males is elevated inflammation and one study found that a Low Carb Diet increased C-Reactive Protein levels, a major marker associated with increased heart disease and Alzheimer's risk. [1] I actually covered his in my Why a Paleo Diet Is Often a Bad Idea link but included it here again, because it is so important.

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Tragically, many Low Carb dieters actually believe that a Low Carb diet actually decreases inflammation levels.  The reasons for this is based on the title of this study: "Comparison of low fat and low carbohydrate diets on circulating fatty acid composition and markers of inflammation." [3] This study compared a "low fat" diet with a Low Carb Diet and found lower inflammation levels in the latter.  However, what is not understood is that this "low fat" diet was actually 25% fat.

Of course, a medium-high carb, medium fat diet can be lethal if done with the wrong carbs and wrong fats and this is just what this study discovered.  If you want to go this route, it is better to sick with a Mediterranean Diet as mentioned above, which has done very well in the studies.  Remember that researchers call a true Low Fat Diet a "very low fat diet" and a low fat diet to them is actually in the 20-30% range.

Again, nothing beats inflammation like a true low glycemic, whole foods Low Fat Diet when it comes to inflammation and I outline this in my link on Many Benefits of a Low Fat Diet.

3. Insulin Resistance. I always say that all you have to do is watch The Two Big I's and the rest will take care of itself.  Almost all chronic disease can be traced back to insulin resistance and inflammation.  Well, high fat meals have long been used by researchers to induce insulin resistance in laboratory animals! For example, one study wrote "chronic high-fat feeding in rats induces profound whole-body insulin resistance, mainly due to effects in oxidative skeletal muscle." [2]

So think of the irony of this:  many Low Carbers are consuming high fat diets in order to cure prediabetes or diabetes only to be throwing their body into a nasty state of insulin resistance.

NOTE:  The same study above also noted that "prior exercise, a single low-fat meal, or fasting all significantly increased insulin-stimulated glucose utilization."  [2] In other words, exercise, fasting or a Low Fat Diet can all somewhat counteract a High Fat meal.  But one can't help but ask the question, why do it in the first place?

4. Endothelial Dysfunction. Low Carbers love to slam high carbohyrdrate meals.  What they don't realize is that high fat meals actually increase endothelial dysfunction. Of course, if you've read much on this site, you realize that endothelial dysfunction is virtually synonymous with erectile dysfunction. [5] Now, admittedly, eating vegetables was found to partially overcome this in the study.  But, again, why risk it?  The high fat meal was found to reduce the ability of the arteries to expand and platelets were found to clump together more easily, i.e. "sludge".

5. Blood Flow! High fat meals hammer endothelial function, as mentioned above, and correspondingly blood flow. Less nitric oxide, less expandable arteries and less fluid plasma all translate to decreased blood flow. And, yes, erections are all about blood flow, so this will not be good for your sex life. Knowledgeable researchers have known that this is a significant problem with high fat diets and have actually studied ways to try to cirdumvent the issues. For example, one study found that massive doses of Vitamin C helped heart patients retain their endothelial function post-meal. [9] Yet another study found that exercise can do the same in healthy adults. [10] And, as I mention elsewhere on the site, walnuts have been found to partially do the same. Doesn't the fact that you have to so diligently protect yourself from the effects of a high fat diet tell you something?

6. CCK Resistance. Researcher discovered that that rats fed a high fat diet developed CCK resistance. [8] Cholecystokinin, or CCK, is the messenger to the brain which tells the liver to loeert blood sugar output.  

7. Cognition and Learning. As I document in my Brain Killers link, many studies have shown that high fat diets are very hard on the brain. Of course, this is not surprising considering that poor blood flow and insulin resistance are very hard on the brain.

8. Cortisol. The last thing a man needs is to increase cortisol and a low carb, high fat diet was found to do just that. [7]

9. BPH (Prostate Enlargement). As men age, they often struggle with an enlarged prostate and difficulty with urination.  What causes this?  Well, researchers have recently discovered that one of the key factors is insulin resistance and - you guessed it - a high fat diet is a risk factor because it induces insulin resistance. Check out my link on BPH Prevention for more information.

10. Endotoxemia.  Endotoxemia is a condition where harmful chemicals (antigens) released by bacteria in the gut raise inflammation levels in the body.  What causes endotoxemia?  Researchers found that a single high fat meal raised endotoxin levels by 50% and postulated that "low-grade endotoxemia may contribute to the postprandial inflammatory state and could represent a novel potential contributor to endothelial activation and the development of atherosclerosis." [11] That's right:  high fat could potentially harden your arteries, including the ones in your penis.

 

CAUTION: If you have a medical condition or are on any medications, please discuss any changes with your doctor first. Certain supplements, foods and even juices can alter absorption rates of certain medications for example. Play it safe.

REFERENCES::

1) J Am Coll Nutr, 2007 Apr;26(2):163-9, "Low carbohydrate, high fat diet increases C-reactive protein during weight loss"

2) Diabetes, Dec 1997, 46(12):2022-2028, "Diet-Induced Muscle Insulin Resistance in Rats Is Ameliorated by Acute Dietary Lipid Withdrawal or a Single Bout of Exercise: Parallel Relationship Between Insulin Stimulation of Glucose Uptake and Suppression of Long-Chain Fatty Acyl-CoA"

3) Lipids, 2008 Jan,43(1):65-77, Epub 2007 Nov 29, "Comparison of low fat and low carbohydrate diets on circulating fatty acid composition and markers of inflammation"

4) Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental, Nov 2001, 50(11):1351-1355, "Effects of a high-fat diet on postabsorptive and postprandial testosterone responses to a fat-rich meal"

5) Am J Clin Nutr, 2003 Jan, 77(1):139-43, "Effect of dietary antioxidants on postprandial endothelial dysfunction induced by a high-fat meal in healthy subjects"

6) Metabolism, 1990 Sep, 39(9):943-6, "Effects of a fat-containing meal on sex hormones in men"

7) The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism November 1, 2007 vol. 92 no. 11 4480-4484, "Dietary Macronutrient Content Alters Cortisol Metabolism Independently of Body Weight Changes in Obese Men"

8) Cell Metabolism, Aug 6 2009, 10(2):99-109, "Intestinal Cholecystokinin Controls Glucose Production through a Neuronal Network", Grace W.C. Cheung, et. al.

9) Clinical Cardiology, May 2002, 25(5): 219-224, "Vitamin C preserves endothelial function in patients with coronary heart disease after a high-fat meal"

10) European Journal of Applied Physiology, Oct 2006, 98(3):256-262, "The effect of acute exercise on endothelial function following a high-fat meal"

11) Am J Clin Nutr, 2007 Nov, 86(5):1286-92, "A high-fat meal induces low-grade endotoxemia: evidence of a novel mechanism of postprandial inflammation"

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