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Saturated Fat

Saturated fat is fashionable.  It's sexy.  It's glamorous. Us guys love our grills.  We love the convenience of fast food and a quick burger.  Plus, as I covered in my link on The TwoFs:  Fat and Fiber, saturated fat (in the short term) is pro-testosterone.  Saturated fat is also necessarily part of the popular Low Carb/Atkins/Paleolithic Diets that are currently the rave.  The bottom line is that most people on a Western, more affluent diet love their meat.

So then why am I such a wet blanket about saturated fat?  If you've read my site much, you know I believe that saturated fat will lead almost all guys down a path of heart disease and impotence. So why am I so certain I'm right?

First of all, virtually all the Super Cultures, the ones with virtually no heart disease and/or high rates of centenarians, etc., have low cholesterol.  The only exception that I know of are the Tokeluans, who eat very high quantities of coconut meat and and have total cholesterol in the low medium range:  182.  However, the Tokeluans eat abundant fish and exercise, due to a rural third world lifestyle.  But in modern society, how many guys do we know that can work and walk night and day to nullify the effects of the saturated fat that they consumed?  And I certainly hope no one is eating fish daily as the methylmercury buildup in their systems will eventually catch up to them.  The bottom line is that saturated fat and a modern lifesytle just do not go togetherNOTE:  I cover this same idea regarding the Masai, the African tribe that live off cattle, in great detail in this link about The Dangers of the Paleolithic or Atkins or Low Carb Diet.

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This is what you need to know:  researchers have repeatedly seen that there is no heart disease when cholesterol is under 150.  It's that simple.  You can almost eliminate your chances of heart disease by simply following that simple rule early enough in life. [2]  This was verified by researcher Dean Ornish when he found that putting patients on a Low Fat Diet actually reversed heart disease.  Even Dr. Davis, author of Track Your Plaque and Wheat Belly, says that you need to have LDL levels below 70 to reverse arteriosclerosis.  And that will not happen unless you greatly restrict your levels of saturated fat.  (See my link on the LDL Levels Associated with Reversing Plaque for more information.

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.

1)  Insulin Resistance.  Researchers use high fat and saturated fat diets to induce insulin resistance in research animals!  This link has been known for awhile and has been verified in humans on (nondiabetic) participants. [2] Insulin resistance is a male curse and is associated with Metabolic Syndrome, which in turn is associated with decreased testosterone, heart disease and erectile dysfunction. Again, if you exercise like a wild man, you can probably overcome insulin resistance.  But how many of us can commit to walking four hours per day or spending two hours in the gym?

2)  Cholesterol.  Saturated fat boosts cholesterol.  In fact, I just read a book by a researcher [3] who had cholesterol of about 240 and was shocked that it dropped like a rock to 170 when he laid off saturated fat.  His family had a genetic predisposition toward high cholesterol and many of his relatives had died young of heart disease.  He basically though there was no answer for him until he dropped saturated fat.

3)  Erectile Dysfunction.  Saturated fat temporarily stuns or hardens the arteries leading to decreased blood flow.  [4]  This is the last thing a guy needs because we need blood flow to our penis for maximum sexual performance.  Why would you do anything that will slow down your erections?? 

4) Arteriosclerosis and Arterial Plaque.  One prominent Olive Oil researcher made an interesting observation in an animal study:  olive oil created as much ateriosclerosis as saturated fat. [5]  Notice the significance of this:  he was warning us against the Dangers of Olive Oil by comparing it with saturated fat.  In other words, what he was essentially saying is that "saturated fat is the nastiest fat as far as clogging your arteries and Olive Oil is right there with it".  But the bottom line is that researchers the world over recognize that saturated fat is the Great Sludge Builder.

5) Cancer.  Researchers already had significant evidence that saturated fat promoted cancer, but in this last year studies came out linking it to several major cancers including prostate cancer [6], intestinal cancer [7] and, for the woman in your life, breast cancer [8]. In addition, saturated fat is a known cholesterol booster and moderate and above cholesterol levels are associated with advanced and aggressive prostate cancer. [13] [14]  So not only does saturated put you at risk for getting cancer in general, but it also likely leads you into some of the most hellish forms as well.

6) Cognition and Brain.  Please this link on Brain Killers for how Saturated Fat and High Fat Diets are very hard on the brain and can actually "make you stupid".

7) Cholecystokinin (CCK) Resistance.  This actually is not unique to saturated fat, but researchers in 2009 found that rats fed a high fat developed cholecystokinin resistance. [11] Cholecystokinin, or CCK, sends a signal to the brain, which in turn sends a signal to the liver to decrease glucose (blood sugar) production. A high fat diet blocks this path and leads to increased blood sugar levels.

8) Impairs HDL.  Researchers have found that six hours after a saturated fat meal the participants' HDL was had diminished protective qualities. [12]

9) Cortisol. Saturated fat has been associated with increased cortisol levels in already stressful situations. [15]  Of course, cortisol is one of stress hormones and decreases testosterone and memory and increases heart disease. 

You will see silly statements about low cholesterol causing cancer and suicide in children and all kinds of similar statement.  But consider this again:  the Super Healthy Cultures in the world almost all have cholesterol under 150.  Are they throwing themselves off bridges?  Are they dying of cancer?  No, they're living to ripe old age like a human being should! 

Consider  the Tarahumara of northern Mexico:  these eatings eat a high carb, low fat, low protein diet and have one of the highest centenarian rates in the world and virtually no heart disease. 

You will also see studies quoted that show there is an increase in mortality for those low cholesterol.  The reason for this is simple:  those studies forgot to remove participants who had developed some kind of significant disease or condition which was responsible or lead to the low cholesterol.  If you remove these people, it's a whole different story.

Here's the bottom line that I want to emphasize as well:  I have corresponded with dozens of guys who have been helped with erectile dysfunction by eliminating or significantly reducing saturated fat.  But never have I heard of anyone improving erectile dysfunction by adding saturated fat.  And the reasons above say it all:  saturated fat just doesn't help the kind of heart and erectile difficulties that middle aged and beyond guys face.  In fact, quite the opposite - it's a diametrically opposed hindrance.

If you want health, energy, sexual vitality and much cleaner arteries than your neighbor, then you've to let him keep sucking down his saturated fat while you move on to the Low Fat Diet or possibly Mediterranean Diet.


1) Roberts W. Getting more people on statins. Am J Cardiology 2002;90:683-685

2)  Circulation. 1991, 84:2020-2027

3)  Statin Drugs and Their Natural Alternatives, Jay S. Cohen, MD.

4) Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2006; 48(4): 715-720

5) Rudel, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, not yet published, but press release were in May 2009.

6) UroToday (2008, May 10). Diet High In Saturated Fat Contributes To Prostate Cancer

7) Cancer Research, November 15, 2008,68:9274

8) Am J Clin Nutr, 2008 Nov;88(5):1304-12

9) J. Nutr, 1996, 126:1992–1999;Nutriguía. Manual de nutrición clínica en atención primaria, eds., 2000, Requejo AM, Ortega RM, pp 251–260, Editorial Complutense. Madrid.

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

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

13) Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2009, 18:2807-2813, "Men with low serum cholesterol have a lower risk of high-grade prostate cancer in the placebo arm of the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial"

14) Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2009; 18:2814-2821, "Prediagnostic total and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and risk of cancer"

15)  J of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, 1995, 19(6):482-491, "Improved Clinical Status and Length of Care With Low-Fat Nutrition Support in Burn Patients"


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