Bacon on Eggs, anyone?

A study came out that examined the effect of increased levels of saturated fat in the blood on inflammation and tissue damage. You may well imagine that the effect was not good. And anyway, saturated fat in your blood? Eew! Lay off that bacon, right? Well, not so fast.

There has been a lot of controversy about whether saturated fat is actually bad for you. Some people like to make out like the controversy is only taking place in various (deranged) health blogs and within the minds of dieting individuals who would really like to burn off the calories in their cake and eat it too.

Just to set that worry aside, there are actually many studies, which have found no clear evidence linking consumption of saturated fat to health problems. Trans fats, yes, saturated, no. Here is a very recent meta-analysis on the subject:

But what about that study that says saturated fat in the blood causes inflammation? Well, we must remember that saturated fat in the blood is not necessarily a consequence of saturated fat consumed. Not long ago, eggs were given a reprieve when studies concluded that eating cholesterol does not normally cause higher levels of cholesterol in the blood. So it should be obvious that we should study what causes high levels of saturated fat in the blood.

Well, one interesting study showed that doubling levels of saturated fat in individuals with the metabolic syndrome (who are therefore prone to inflammation) did not cause the levels of the saturated fat in their blood to go up. Instead, a high-fat low-carb diet caused for these markers to decrease.

What did cause for these markers to go up again was an increase in carbs. It is possible that high-carb, high-fat would make for the least optimal diet. Sounds like fast food to me. The study was relatively small scale, only 16 individuals, but they all ate the exact same diet, which makes the experimental set-up much more reliable than most population-based nutrition studies where no one really knows what the heck everybody is really eating and the number of confounding variables is staggering.

Studies are so conflicting and non-conclusive that I personally try to minimize risks by sticking to the happy medium. I enjoy my week-end breakfast with bacon and eggs, and tone down on them during the week. Now, if only I managed to do the same thing with chocolate…



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