Sunday, February 14, 2010

low rates of coronary heart disease despite a diet high in saturated fat

Well this shouldn't really be a surprise. The science is saying that there is no link between the intake of saturated fat and the risk of CHD [coronary heart disease], stroke, or CVD [cardiovascular disease].

Here is another study which is supporting that idea. (The study is full of assumptions by the way - the claim is that this is a "potentially atherogenic diet".)

Anyway, the Masai have a low carb, high fat diet but they have very healthy blood pressure and lipid profiles.

These researchers suggest their health is due to their high levels of energy expenditure. Who knows, maybe it is due to their diet!

Is their health in spite of or because of their diet?

Daily energy expenditure and cardiovascular risk in Masai, rural and urban Bantu Tanzanians

Background Several studies have revealed that the Masai, pastoralists in Tanzania, have low rates of coronary heart disease despite a diet high in saturated fat. It has also been suggested that they may be genetically protected. Recent studies detailing other potential protective factors, however, are lacking.

Methods A cross-sectional investigation of 985 Tanzanian men and women (130 Masai, 371 rural Bantu and 484 urban Bantu) with mean age of 46 (9.3) years. Anthropometric measures, blood pressure, serum lipids, and the reported dietary pattern and physical activity level were assessed.

Results 82% of Masai subjects reported a high fat/low carbohydrate intake, whereas 77% of the rural Bantu subjects reported a low fat/high carbohydrate intake, while a high fat/high carbohydrate intake was the main dietary pattern of the urban Bantu group as, reported by 55%. The most conspicuous finding for the Masai was the extremely high energy expenditure, corresponding to 2565 kcal/day over basal requirements, compared with 1500 kcal/day in the rural and 891 kcal/day for the urban Bantu. Mean body mass index among the Masai was lower than the rural and urban Bantu. Mean systolic blood pressure of the Masai was also lower compared with their rural and urban Bantu counterparts. The Masai revealed a favourable lipid profile.

Conclusion The potentially atherogenic diet among the Masai was not reflected in serum lipids and was offset probably by very high energy expenditure levels and low body weight.


Anonymous said...

So remember kids! It's all about looking thin and running on that treadmill for hours every day!

Chris said...

Precisely. The researchers can't cope with the idea that the Masai with the high fat diet are so healthy. Surely it can' be the must be the exercise!

Dave said...

But but how can that be? Physically active AND on a low carb diet?? I've always been told by 'experts' that you need carbs for energy and that it would be foolish for any athlete to not consume large amounts of carbs. Clearly the Masai must have sugary recovery shakes that they are hiding from the researchers!

rappstar said...

Another possibility that is even more likely, IMO, as someone who eats a high fat diet and exercises a lot is that a high fat diet is actually ESSENTIAL for someone who exercises. It's impractical - especially in the absence of things like gatorade, etc. - to eat a high carbohydrate diet to sustain high physical output. That is, their high fat diet and high energy expenditure levels are inseparable. They are able to exercise so much BECAUSE they eat a lot of fat, which in turn probably makes them healthier and better able to process that fat. I doubt very much it's a cause-and-effect. It's much more likely that they are reliant on each other. I would wager that it would negatively impact them if they kept their diet the same and stopped exercising or vice versa.

Chris said...

Dave - very good

Chris said...

Rappstar - very good comment!

Anonymous said...

You hear the same silly assumptions with other indigenous people living in their tradiional way such as the Inuit. People think its down to the activity rather than abundant levels of Vits A,D etc from their natural diets. Incidentally the Masai were also studied and compared with Bantu tribes by Weston A Price in the 1930s who found lower (virthually none existent) tooth and gum disease amongst the Masai and other cattle herder tribes compared with settled farming groups.

Chris Anon

Mike T Nelson said...

At high levels of exercise, your body is extremely metabolically flexible---it can burn BOTH fats and carbs quite well, without ill effects.

Of course there is no sub for essential fats which have to come from the diet and there are no essential carbs.

rock on!
Mike T Nelson PhD(c)
Extreme Human Performance

donny said...

I don't know of any other group that eats quite that much fermented milk. I can't find any studies where anybody tried to live mostly on plain yogurt or anything like that, either. Who knows?

Sildenafil said...

I think this is a very good notice because a lot of people think saturated fat is related to coronary heat disease, even with this notice we have to be careful.

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Levitra kaufen said...

Interesting. I guess it is more about the eating behavior of western culture that includes a lot of sugar and other ingredients that is not included in a diet of a Masai.