More science to show fat is smart, carbs not

As we all know in South Africa, Prof Tim Noakes has been, and still is, demonised for changing his mind a few years ago on the role of carbohydrates in the diet in favour of a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF, also known as Banting) diet for people who are insulin resistant or diabetic. Now, a small but significant study by US scientist, Dr Jeff Volek, helps to explain why Noakes does indeed have some more science on his side to support his LCHF diet.

Writes Marika Sboros of www.biznews.com:

Volek, professor in the department of human sciences at the Ohio State University, is a world authority on LCHF research. He has conducted over 250 studies, and works closely with another international LCHF expert, Dr Stephen Phinney, the Harvard and Stanford trained physician scientist and nutritional biochemist, and professor of medicine emeritus at the University of California, Davis, who has spent 35 years studying diet, exercise, fatty acids, and inflammation.

Dr Phinney and VolekThe two have collaborated on books including The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance, The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, and the New York Times best sellerThe New Atkins for a New You.

Volek (left) and Phinney (right) have become firm friends with Noakes, after their formidable body of research and belief in the power of personalised nutrition as medicine prompted Noakes’ to make the about-turn on carbohydrates a few years ago, that so infuriated his critics.

Phinney will be in South Africa to speak at the first international LCHF conference to be held in Cape Town from February 20 to 22, 2015.

Volek’s latest study published  in the journal PLOS (Public Library of Science) One shows that increasing saturated fat in the diet does not does not lead to increased levels of saturated fat in the blood, while increasing the amount of carbohydrates raises the levels of a fatty acid associated with diabetes and heart disease.

The research follows another important study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in March,  by US and UK scientists, showing that the link between saturated fat and heart disease was “not statistically significant”.

That study by researchers from the University of Cambridge and Medical Research Council, University of Oxford, Imperial College London, University of Bristol, Erasmus University Medical Centre and Harvard School of Public Health, and was funded by the British Heart Foundation, Medical Research Council, Cambridge National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre and Gates Cambridge.

Volek is quoted in a university press release on his latest study saying  there is “widespread misunderstanding about saturated fat”, and despite population studies failing to find a link between dietary saturated fat and heart disease, dietary guidelines continue to advocate restriction of saturated fat.

“That’s not scientific and not smart,” he said. “But studies measuring saturated fat in the blood and risk for heart disease show there is an association. Having a lot of saturated fat in your body is not a good thing. The question is, what causes people to store more saturated fat in their blood, or membranes or tissues?”

Volek’s study its own could be enough to prompt UCT academics to apologise to Noakes for personal and professional attacks on him – and orthodox dietitians to consider more seriously the science on diet to reduce serious chronic disease. But, as Noakes knows all too well, there’s just no satisfying some people, especially those who are wedded to conventional scientific wisdom.

Source: Biz.news.com

Journal Reference:

Effects of Step-Wise Increases in Dietary Carbohydrate on Circulating Saturated Fatty Acids and Palmitoleic Acid in Adults with Metabolic Syndrome

Brittanie M. Volk, Laura J. Kunces,Daniel J. Freidenreich, Brian R. Kupchak, Catherine Saenz, Stephen D. Phinney, Jeff S. Volek et al

Published: November 21, 2014

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113605