Ditching Saturated Fats Could Improve Memory and Cognition

A board to discuss various diet-centered approaches to treating or controlling Multiple Sclerosis, e.g., the Swank Diet

Ditching Saturated Fats Could Improve Memory and Cognition

Postby ThisIsMA » Mon May 21, 2012 7:11 pm

As a person with MS who has dramatically reduced her saturated fat intake, I found this article in The Atlantic encouraging:

Ditching Saturated Fats Could Improve Memory and Cognition

May 18 2012

Saturated fats don't just clog your arteries -- they hinder your brain's effectiveness, too.

You can read the whole article here:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/05/ditching-saturated-fats-could-improve-memory-and-cognition/257386/
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Re: Ditching Saturated Fats Could Improve Memory and Cogniti

Postby CaveMan » Sat May 26, 2012 5:27 am

I had a look at the article, but couldn't get access to the full study paper,
A number of issues to consider:
Firstly the declaration "Saturated fats don't just clog your arteries -- they hinder your brain's effectiveness, too.", from what I have been reading Saturated fats & Cholesterol intake being a causal factor in heart disease is a myth that started with a poorly carried out study by Ancel Keys in the 1950's and every study done since to reinforce this belief has either shown the reverse or been inconclusive, the link below goes into some of this, (just ignore the authors muscleman pic, the info is good and you can research further from some of the links provided):
http://www.leangains.com/2010/06/diet-m ... llacy.html
So if the reverse is true for heart disease, then maybe the declaration should read "Saturated fats don't clog your arteries -- they improve your brain's effectiveness, too."
The other point is the quoted statement by the head researcher about "substituting bad fats with good fats", this is an emotive statement like the "good cholesterol, bad cholesterol" descriptors, any biologist or true researcher knows there is no such thing as bad cholesterol and likewise for the other fats, there is just appropriate and inappropriate dietary intakes. Either this person was misquoted, is misguided and needs to go back to school or was fishing for a headline, my guess it was to grab the headline, which then makes me question the quality of the study, interpretation of the results & the conclusions drawn.
A number of societies like the Inuit , Masai & others existed wholely on animal based diet which was up to 80% saturated fats, they have done so for thousands of years with no ill effects, low cholesterol and free of autoimmune or heart disease.
I fear that with that study there will be a lot of "devils in the detail".
I am just an interested individual trying to crack the autoimmune nut.
Partner has Graves Disease, 5 years, showing good test results, looking forward to potential remission in the near future.
3 friends have MS, 1 just recently diagnosed, severity 7/10.
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Re: Ditching Saturated Fats Could Improve Memory and Cogniti

Postby Selmahope » Wed May 30, 2012 6:52 pm

I would not reference the Masai and the Inuit as prime examples of health. Both groups of people who existed on primarily animal products have very short life span's. In the case of the Masai less than 50 years of age. If you look at all of the long lived mammals they are primarily vegetarian. Carnivores have the shortest life span. I'm not saying I have all the answers-but I used to read the weston price info for over a decade which would reference these 2 groups of people. They are not references for the fountain of youth! There are cases like Essie Honiball that have cured disease, in her case an advanced case of TB, at age 30 on a fruitarian diet! She is alive and well today at 88 and exists on a handful of nuts a day and fruit! I'm assuming she also eats green. I've studied nutrition for over 15 years in an effort to reverse my chronic illness going from type O blood type weston price diet to than Dr. Wahls and now trying a highly raw vegan diet. The more I study, the more confusing it gets! I read Essie Honiball's book and I must say it is fascinating. The more I study- the common theme is lots and lots of fruit and veggies! I must say after a year on this diet, I really don't want to eat fatty animal products. Well except for maybe cheese, which I don't! But do miss the wine and cheese!
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Re: Ditching Saturated Fats Could Improve Memory and Cogniti

Postby CaveMan » Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:11 am

The reference to Inuit & Masai was primarily of societies that existed on animal protein & fat diets and did not have a history of chronic disease markers such as autoimmune, heart or cancer diseases, not that I thought their diet was the ideal diet.
Regarding life expectancy of these groups, I think a simple measure of life expectancy in years is meaningless without the additional data as to how and when this figure was achieved and what other factors were at play. I did a little bit of reading on the Inuit and as far as I can tel the first recorded measure of average life expectancy was around 46 years in the 1840's from memory, but that would have probably also been similar to the white settlers at that time as well. Recent studies in Canada indicate Inuit life expectancy is a full 10 years lower than the general population, but that has more to do with social conditions than traditional diet, which very few are even able to simulate nowdays. Without knowing what the actual causes of mortality are, like physical injury, viral or bacterial disease or chronic diseases the life ecpectancy measure means nothing.
I also looked at the life expectancy of mammals (& other animals) and the average life expectancy had a generally linnear relationship with the size of the animal and no clear differentiation on the diet type, so generally the largest animals tended to have the longest average life expectancy, but not a hard and fast rule.
I also did a bit of reading on the Hunza (India), Abkhasia (central Asia), Vilcabamba (Equador) & Okinawa (Japan), all being quoted as extremely long lived, there is still a lot of questions about actual longevity as there is real data lacking, but what is not in question is that those that live to old age remain in good health both physically & mentally, so there is something to be said for looking into both diet, lifestyle & climate of cultures living in their traditional settings, just taking on a single factor like diet may be completely irrelevant to the matter. Currently the highest average life expectancy is in Andorra, small landlocked country in the pyrenees between France & Spain, average elevation of 2,000 m, and an average of 300 days of sunshine per year, diet is generally mediterranian type. The mediterranian diet has been much touted for health benefits, but does not seem to be anywhere near as effective outside the region so my guess is there is a lot more to it.
Some of the major similarities in all these so called healthy places seem to be Sunshine either through low lattitude or high altitude, both of which increase available UVB, A high level of varied daily activities resulting in significant nutritional turnover in the body as well as maintaining muscular, cardiovascular & bone strength, an outdoor lifestyle & exposure to significant temperature variations and a peaceful demeanour, contentedness with life.
A lot of my recent reading has been on Cholesterol functions & related topics and although humans can survive on purely animal based or purely plant based diets I do not feel either is ideal for longterm health, the ideal lies somewhere inbetween I feel. Cholesterol has been much maligned over the years, but is an essential body nutrient and is so precious to the body that there are multiple systems involved in it's preservation and recycling, it is the precursor to numerous hormones including Vitamin D and there is some suggestion that high cholesterol levels may be an indicator of lack of sunlight exposure. The liver is key to controlling and recycling cholesterol and the bile system is part of the system in disposing of excess remnants and other toxins, if the digestive system is not stimulated by dietary fats then bile is not released and this detox pathway is effectively blocked and these products accumulate in the liver, this effect is exasperated by high insulin levels from a high GI &/or High GL diet, particularly with high levels of fructose resulting in fatty liver & diabetes type issues. So with my current understanding I feel it is important to eliminate all high GI and processed carbs, and also to have a decent fatty feed occassionally to stimulate the liver bile function.
I am still learning as I go, we are currently into the six week mark of a paleo diet plan and it feels pretty good, one of the unexpected results is the lack of craving for sugar (chocolate, Icecream, cakes etc.), I think this is due to gaining some Insulin stability and getting it off the rollercoaster. We are basically 40% meat, poultry, seafood, 20% fruit, 20% veg & 20 % nuts, seeds & misc, No cereal grains, no dairy (except a bit of Yoghurt), trying to throw as much variety in as possible.
But I agree with you fully in that the more you learn, the more you realise there is to learn.
I am just an interested individual trying to crack the autoimmune nut.
Partner has Graves Disease, 5 years, showing good test results, looking forward to potential remission in the near future.
3 friends have MS, 1 just recently diagnosed, severity 7/10.
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