My dad recently send me an email with this…
Of course the nerd within me decide to dig deeper into this so I put on my reading glasses, slammed some coffee and got to researching. Here was my response to his email…
“Collin what do you think of the saturated fat and brain function/memory article enclosed? If you can’t remember than I understand bacon really is bad.
There are a few issues with this claim that saturated fat causes brain dysfunction and memory loss. First, this study was an observational study. Observational studies only look at changes from start to finish. It’s like watching a horse race—you can watch the race and see that horse A was leading the pack the entire time, but horse B won the race. In the results you only know that horse B won and it does not tell you anything that happened during the race, maybe horse A broke a leg or something? The fact is observational studies are easy to administer but they don’t give you confounding results.
Second, they administered questionnaires to the subjects int he Women’s Health Study (the study cited) and most people actually incorrectly answer these questionnaires by reported what they think they should be eating rather than what actually goes into their mouths. Not to mention most people think all fat is bad for you, cholesterol will kill you and whole grains are healthy!!!
Third, if you look at the original study (which I did) they also found that women who consumed more saturated fat also drank more, had lower levels of education, smoked, and did not exercise. Interestingly enough they also found that women who consumed more saturated fat, and I quote “had a lower prevalence of hypercholesterolemia…” Yes that’s right women who at more red meat, butter and full fat diary had a lower prevalence of high cholesterol—isn’t that opposite of what we have always been told?!?!?
The fact is you cannot place the blame on one nutrient—in this case saturated fat. And for these doctors to come out and say saturated fat causes your brain to age faster, well they are down right wrong. I could say from this study that not getting higher education causes your brain to age faster, or we could even say that higher intakes of saturated fat lower your cholesterol (but this would cause a health war—and it would piss a lot of people off).
Eat saturated fat, but not a lot. Balance different types of saturated fats—from butter, coconut, meat, etc. These sources of saturated fat have other nutrients in them. Grassfed butter is loaded with vimtain K, CLA and even has heart healthy omega-3s! Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties, and actually has been shown to help people with Alzheimer’s! Consume red meat—but from grass-fed cows. It’s lower in fat, has more omega-3s and higher levels of vitamin E!
If learned one thing over the last 2 years it’s that you cannot point the finger at one nutrient. Saturated fats can be bad if consumed all the time, but people also need to remember that water can kill you if you consume too much!”
It is completely wrong on behalf of the investigators of this study to come to these drastic conclusions! People read these headlines and think immediately they need to completely eliminate saturated fat from their diet, and only eat monounsaturated fats. When they should not!
My Advice: always read headlines, like the one here, with a sense of doubt and inconclusive evidence. Of course eating too much saturated fat might cause brain dysfunction, but did they prove it here by asking older women questions? HECK NO!