Anyway, there is ample evidence today that essentially shoots down these claims. I reviewed these in a previous post here.
Recent Study Summary:
A recent study has provided further evidence that having adequate fat in the diet will decrease the risk for metabolic syndrome (METSYN). The study (here) was part of the bigger PREDIMED trial, which is a multicentre, randomized trial between
Oct 2003 and Dec 2010 involving men and women (age 55-80) at high risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 dietary interventions: Mediterrenean (MED) diet supplemented with olive oil, a MED diet supplemented with nuts or the control (CON) that was given the usual low fat diet advice. There was no mention in the intervention of weight loss or increased physical activity. They examined data from 5801 participants. Importantly, the MED diets used were energy-unrestricted meaning NOT calorie controlled.
They found: over the 4.8 year follow-up of the study that: a) METSYN developed in 50% of the 1919 subjects who did NOT have the condition at baseline; b) there was no difference in baseline risk for developing METSYN across the treatment groups; c) 28.2% of subjects with METSYN underwent reversion (no longer meeting criteria for condition) and this was much more likely in either MED diet group; d) specifically, the MED diet + olive oil group had significant decreases in central obesity and fasting glucose measures, while MED diet + nuts decreased only central obesity.
The authors conclude that: A MED diet supplemented with either EV olive oil or nuts is NOT associated with onset of METSYN, but such diets are more likely to cause reversion of the condition. Energy-unrestricted MED diets (i.e. with extra EV olive oil and/or nuts) could help decrease the risk of central obesity and hyperglycemia in people at high risk for CVD.
Overall, I thought the study was pretty well done, although it was hard to find the specific nutrition protocol for the PREDIMED study (in terms of the overall carb, protein and fat breakdowns for each diet). I would assume, however, based on the NON-calorie restricted nature of their MED diets that they the low fat diet would have significantly more carbs in it vs. the MED diets, which would have more fats for sure. Based on the results they see, I think this provides further evidence that FAT is NOT the villain it’s been made out to be. This also suggests that carbs are much more likely to be the culprit for increasing both cardiovasular and METSYN risk. The other thing that I didn’t like was that the outcomes they used were traditional blood panels. I would have loved to see LDL particle size, C-reactive protein and oxidized LDL be measured, all of which have been shown to be strongly predictive of CVD risk (over and above the standard cholesterol panels). I think that would have shown even more significant changes to risk.
I don’t necessarily agree 100% with the North Americanized version of the MED diet (a bit too much emphasis on refined grains and legumes), but I do love the fact that it does NOT restrict FAT or Calories! This is one of the keys that I’ve found helps people make lasting change in their quest for fat loss, health, performance & longevity! I also think that the truly traditional MED diet is GREAT with it’s focus on animal products including meats, eggs, seafood, and added fats as whole olives & nuts and EV olive oil. Importantly, these foods would be properly raised with little to no chemical pesticides, etc… and the animals would be fed their evolutionary designed diets (i.e. Cows, goats, sheep eating grasses) and not mass-produced grains, etc… that we see in North America.
How can we benefit from this:
Honestly, I think that the best way we can all benefit from this work is to immediately remove the SUGAR and GRAINS from your diet for at least 30-60 days and record baseline health biomarkers, and measurements and then journal daily how things are going physically, emotionally, cognitively and whatever other way you might be interested in improving. Redo your measurements and health biomarkers at the end of your 30-60 day trial and see how you are doing. I honestly believe that you will look, feel & perform better. I know this from my own experience, and from the thousands of clients I’ve consulted with. But I know that none of that matters, so honestly, just GIVE IT A TRY and see for yourself!
I’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences with lower carbohydrate, higher fat nutrition? Feel free to comment below! Also, please contact us with any questions or topics you WANT to learn more about for the future.
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