Remembering Kevin Moore

Ask The Low-Carb Experts (Episode 11): ‘Saturated Fat Is Good For You?’ | Dr. Jeff Volek


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In Episode 11 of “Jimmy Moore Presents: Ask The Low-Carb Experts,” we welcome nutritional health researcher and associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut Dr. Jeff Volek. He is widely regarded and respected as one of the world’s renowned experts in exercise, nutrition, weight loss and low-carb diets today. He is the author of a number of popular books addressing these subjects, including Men’s Health TNT Diet, co-author of The New Atkins For A New You with Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Eric Westman, The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living in 2011 with Dr. Phinney and the forthcoming The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance (which I’ll be sharing more about very soon!).

I interviewed Dr. Volek a few years back in Episode 236 of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” podcast and I’ve personally heard him lecture at various obesity conferences over the years. He will be joining us on The 5th Annual Low-Carb Cruise in May 2012, but we were pleased to have him with us in this episode to discuss a subject he has studied thoroughly over the past few years. Saturated fat is arguably the most misunderstood and maligned real food in the history of mankind and Dr. Volek is THE expert who can answer any and all questions about how it impacts you metabolically. We were privileged to have him here addressing this very important topic and we appreciated having the expertise of Dr. Jeff Volek joining us on ATLCX answering listener questions about anything and everything to do with saturated health in EPISODE 11 on March 29, 2012.

Listen to Dr. Jeff Volek address the topic “Saturated Fat Is Good For You?”:

  • Learn why saturated fat was vilified in Gary Taubes’ books
  • Nutrients you consume in food “don’t act in isolation”
  • You can’t just talk about saturated fat without carbohydrate too
  • Saturated fats are “non-essential” and make it on its own
  • Carbohydrates get converted into saturated fat in the body
  • The consistent message that saturated fat is “unhealthy”
  • His November 2007 study in Lipids on saturated fat
  • He thought he was going to “change the world” with his research
  • Low-carbers who ate more saturated fat had lower blood saturated fat
  • Low saturated fat dieters had more blood saturated fat
  • His follow-up study that fed the subjects isocalorically
  • The same results happened with blood saturated fat levels
  • A “well-formulated low-carb diet” uses fat for fuel
  • Low-carb inhibits saturated fat and increases burned saturated fat
  • The unpublished research that measures saturated fat in tissues
  • There’s less accumulation of saturated fat because it’s being used
  • Saturated fat can’t be harmful if it’s turning to CO2 and water
  • If it’s possible to get too much saturated fat in your diet
  • Determining how much carbohydrate is “too much” for you is key
  • Accumulation of saturated fat is a manifestation of too many carbs
  • High blood saturates increase risk of heart disease and diabetes
  • Cholesterol is probably not worth looking at for heart health
  • The primary function of saturated fat on a low-carb diet is fuel
  • A low-carb diet is quite effective at raising HDL cholesterol
  • It’s extremely difficult to raise this “stubborn lipoprotein”
  • The study comparing eggs vs. egg substitutes observing HDL
  • Dietary cholesterol may be key part of improving lipid numbers
  • There’s a strong genetic component associated with HDL
  • Exercise and fish oil are “fairly weak” at raising HDL
  • Low-carb diets are more consistent at raising HDL than anything
  • Whether saturated fat is good for you or just not bad
  • If you’re eating high-carb, then you should cut saturated fat
  • On low-carb, there’s no concern consuming saturated fat
  • Eating “copious amounts” of saturated fat is essential for fuel
  • Saturated fat is satisfying, satiating and sustainable
  • Burning fat for fuel gives you “quite the reserve” of fuel
  • If you miss a meal when fat-adapted, you’re “not in a crisis”
  • Dave Aspry’s Bulletproof Coffee with grass-fed butter
  • Monounsaturated fat would be great fats on a low-carb diet, too
  • Fat in animal products have as much or more monounsaturated fat
  • From evolutionary perspective, we should mimic fat content in nature
  • Mixing saturated with monounsaturated fat is ideal
  • You can get a high-oleic safflower oil that’s lower in omega-6
  • If there is a distinction between the kinds of carbohydrates
  • Quality of carbohydrates is important on a variety of levels
  • But you can’t ignore the quantity which is “more important”
  • There are people who can tolerate a higher carbohydrate intake
  • Be careful consuming fructose (which is “highly lipogenic”)
  • Consume high-water content fruits like berries instead
  • There are people who promote low-GI diets that don’t promote low-carb
  • There’s evidence that saturated fat in the body is “harmful”
  • Not “you are what you eat” but “you are what you save from what you eat”
  • Saturated fat is not benign if it accumulates in the body
  • Dietary saturated fat on a low-carb diet is indeed benign
  • Dietary carbs have a more dominant role in saturated fat in the body
  • Not sure if there is a connection between low-carb and hair loss
  • Well-formulated low-carb diets are anti-inflammatory
  • The impact of saturated fat on Lp(a) and LDL particle size
  • External changes tend to have “little impact” on Lp(a)
  • He’s seen a positive change in Lp(a) on low-carb diets
  • LDL cholesterol has many different sizes (small, medium, large)
  • Research implicates that small, dense LDL particle are the worst
  • Low-carb “very very consistently” increases the LDL particle size
  • It’s also “very intimately tied to the triglyceride levels”
  • The NMR Lipoprofile or VAP Test will measure LDL particles
  • If consuming saturated fat like coconut oil increases body heat
  • The thermogenic effect usually happens with alcohol and protein
  • Fat tends to have lowest thermogenic effect of the macronutrients
  • The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil may be the culprit
  • The “metabolic advantage” of low-carb diets needs to be studied
  • Whether a high saturated fat diet can lower arterial plaque
  • There’s no research that has been conducted on this question
  • It’s “questionable” drugs or low-fat regresses arterial plaque
  • If you have plaque now, a low-carb diet would be “reasonable”
  • His research looking at vascular function on a low-carb diet
  • Whether saturated fat can become rancid or not
  • Saturated fat is “fairly stable” compared with polyunsaturated fat
  • Flax seed oil needs to be refrigerated and away from light
  • Why the body converts excess protein to make glucose
  • There are cells in the body with “an obligate need for glucose”
  • If you eat a ketogenic low-carb diet, then ketones can fuel brain
  • Over half the brain’s energy supply can come from ketone bodies
  • Requirement for gluconeogenesis goes way down when keto-adapted
  • There’s no concern that you break down muscle mass on low-carb
  • High-protein diet can be “counterproductive” from GNG/insulin effect
  • You won’t reach the level of ketosis needed on “halfway low-carb”
  • What are the “healthy fats” promoted by the health “experts”
  • On a low-fat diet, you have to eat the polyunsaturated fats
  • On a low-carbohydrate diet, 65%+ fat is consumed
  • Healthy fats on low-carb are saturated and monounsaturated fats
  • Why polyunsaturated fats on a low-carb diet are a bad idea
  • Avoiding soybean, safflower, corn and peanut oils is best
  • Choose olive oil, coconut oil, and butter when eating low-carb
  • If you can afford it, go with grass-fed meats when possible
  • There’s not a lot of data on toxin levels with feeding methods
  • Particle size tests “are not routinely done” in doctor’s offices
  • The various technologies used to measure cholesterol particles
  • His research has seen “trends are very consistent” on all tests
  • A good surrogate for LDL particle size is triglyceride/HDL ratio
  • How to convince engineers about the healthy saturated fat message
  • Meta-analysis research looking at saturated fat and heart disease
  • America has reduced saturated fat and replaced with carbohydrate
  • This has INCREASED the risk for coronary heart disease
  • There are individual diets that need to match up with genomes
  • The role that microbiota in the gut are playing in obesity
  • Looking at how people respond to various levels of carbohydrates
  • Whether reducing saturated fat and calories will lower body fat
  • There’s no reason to lower saturated fat in your diet
  • There’s no reason you can’t gain weight on low-carb with excess calories
  • What role saturated fat plays in lowering T3 levels
  • He’s seen “no change in thyroid levels” in his low-carb studies
  • 10: ‘All Things Thyroid (Thyroid 101)’ | Chris Kresser
  • His research hasn’t looked at the full thyroid panel
  • The composition of cell membranes is “very important”
  • Having the right proportion of fats in the cells is critical
  • Convincing evidence that fats play a role in insulin sensitivity
  • Dietary saturated fat and muscle membrane saturated fat not same
  • He wrote The Art And Science book for physicians

    Here’s an infographic that details the healthfulness of saturated fat:

    There are four ways you can listen to Episode 11:

    1. LISTEN LIVE ON THURSDAY NIGHTS AT 7PM ET by calling (712) 432-0900 or on Skype at “freeconferencing.7124320900”–whether you call or Skype, be sure to use the access code “848908.” You can listen and even participate on the topic discussion by asking your questions directly to the featured expert.

    2. Listen at the iTunes page for the podcast:

    3. Listen and comment about the show at the official web site for the podcast:

    4. Download the MP3 file of Episode 11 [96:36m]:

    If you cannot join us LIVE on the podcast on Thursday nights at 7PM ET, then you can still ask your questions of the expert guests in two ways. First, you can visit AskTheLowCarbExperts.com and fill out the form along the right-hand side of the page under “Submit Your Question” to input your name, e-mail address, the name of the expert you want to ask, and your question for them. These questions will be asked LIVE on the show airing on Thursdays. Or, for your convenience we have set up a way for you to e-mail us your questions directly to AskTheLowCarbExperts@gmail.com. Be sure to include your name, the name of the expert you want to ask your question to in the subject line, and your question on the specific topic of discussion. This is a golden opportunity for you to tap directly into the wealth of knowledge and experience on all things related to healthy low-carb living featuring the best and brightest experts in the realm of health!

    Did you have any feedback about what Dr. Jeff Volek shared about “Saturated Fat Is Good For You?” Share your thoughts about it in the show notes section of Episode 11. Come back and join us for EPISODE 12 on Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 7PM ET featuring the lovable China Study-busting darling herself Denise Minger from the “Raw Food SOS” blog addressing the topic of “The Fallacy Of Vegan/Vegetarian Diets.” Her debut book release Death by Food Pyramid is set to release in late 2012 and if you haven’t already read her China Study blog posts then go check ’em out! As a former vegan herself (listen to Denise share her story in Episode 405 of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show”), she knows all the arguments that vegans and vegetarians make for eating the way they do. But she also is abundantly aware of the flaws in logic that people who adhere to plant-based diets tend to succumb to. Feel free to go ahead and start submitting your questions for Denise about vegan/vegetarian diets by using the “Submit Your Question” form (on the right-hand side of the web site) or e-mail your name, the name of the expert you want to ask your question to in the subject line, and your question on the specific topic of discussion to AskTheLowCarbExperts@gmail.com (please keep your questions limited to the specific topic for this episode). If you have any burning questions related to saturated fat, then be sure to tune in LIVE on Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 7PM ET to ask your question directly to Denise Minger.

    Here are the upcoming experts and topics we’ll be covering on #ATLCX:

    EPISODE 13: April 12, 2012 | Dr. Cassandra Forsythe | “Low-Carbing Women & Weight Lifting”
    EPISODE 14: April 19, 2012 | Dr. Larry McCleary | “Dietary Remedies For ADHD”
    EPISODE 15: April 26, 2012 | Dr. Eric Westman | “Exploding The Low-Carb Myths”
    5-3 to 6-20: NO PODCASTS
    EPISODE 16: June 7, 2012 | Maria Emmerich and Valerie Berkowitz | “Low-Carb, Pregnancy & Kids”
    EPISODE 17: June 14, 2012 | Sarah Fragoso and Jason Seib | “All Things Exercise (Exercise 101)”
    EPISODE 18: June 21, 2012 | David Getoff | “The Truth About Sweeteners”
    EPISODE 19: June 28, 2012 | Julia Ross | “How To Beat Carbohydrate Addiction”
    6-29 to 7-18: NO PODCASTS
    EPISODE 20: July 19, 2012 | Dr. Jonny Bowden | “All Things Vitamins (Supplements 101)”
    EPISODE 21: July 26, 2012 | Nora Gedgaudas | “Are Starches Really Safe?”
    7-27 to 8-15: NO PODCASTS

    Spread the word about this podcast: PLEASE REVIEW THE SHOW ON ITUNES!

    • WHOAH. I wasn’t going to listen tonight but the first bullet point threw me for a loop. “Why saturated fats were vilified in Taubes’ books”. I was like “wait, what?”. I listened to the first few minutes and got myself straightened out. lol

      Can’t wait to hear the rest! Yay butter!

      • Anonymous

        Ha ha!! Had to keep you on your toes. 🙂

    • Anonymous

      He said “Butter!” And then he said it again! 🙂 Love Dr. Volek, wish he was more active in the community – he could dispel so many myths, like that thyroid misconception.

      • Anonymous

        He’s a researcher, so not a lot of time to be active online. But I will tap into him as a resource in a post on thyroid soon.

    • Jack

      Tremendous interview! I’ve listent to it three times now and I understand more and more. What really helped me was getting Dr. V’s book “The art and science of Carb living.” Reading the book helped a newbe like me understand some of the diffiuclt concepts like how eating sat fat is good for you, but if your body makes sat fat out of carb, it can be very dangerous.
      I highly recommend all of you to read this book! It can be a little on the science side, but it so well written and easy to understand. I just ordered Dr. V other two books as well. Looking forward to reading them as well.
      Thanks again Jimmy for such an education to not only a low carb life, but a better life. Jack