Cholesterol and Health News: Eat Butter!

Time Magazine Eat More Butter

Time magazine’s cover story, Ending the War on Fat, declares “Eat Butter” to improve cholesterol and health. This historic message reverses 30+ years of bad nutritional advice largely based on unproven hypotheses, inconclusive research, opinion and bureaucracy. Although the front cover might imply we slather butter on everything, the predominant theme of the story illustrates how saturated fat should have never been vilified as an evil artery-clogging substance. When it comes to cardiovascular disease and health, redefining nutrition goes beyond looking at a single macronutrient.

We belong to a small and growing group of nutritionally-minded people whose message is finally reaching mainstream and challenges the status quo. The federal dietary guidelines (once described as a “vast nutritional experiment”), now decades old, still advise replacing saturated fat with often highly refined and processed carbohydrates, sugars, grains, and polyunsaturated vegetable oils. During those years we saw a steep rise in the occurrence of chronic disease, exactly the opposite of what was expected. Meta-analyses here and here looking at decades of research show that replacing saturated fat with the aforementioned foods have no favorable effect. The “nutritional experiment” has been a complete failure as saturated fat alone was never the problem.

It’s now evident that consuming foods containing processed carbohydrates drive hormones like insulin to promote chronic disease including obesity, diabetes and atherosclerosis. Restricting dietary carbohydrates and replacing them with nutrient dense foods containing natural saturated fats (both animal and plant based) improves health and cardio-metabolic markers as demonstrated in recent meta-analyses here and here.

Like authors Gary Taubes, and Nina Teicholz have written, Time magazine’s senior writer Bryan Walsh once again tells this story, and when Time speaks people tend to listen. We hope to see more research looking at nutrition and its long-term effects on health, but in the meantime let’s see if federal policy, big industry, and healthcare follow suit based on today’s knowledge.

Watch our Cholesterol OMG presentation and see how saturated fat consumption improves cholesterol and health as is discussed in Time magazine and by registered dietitian Joy Bauer in her NBC Today show segment. I’m encouraged to see mainstream now discussing advanced lipid testing including cholesterol particle count, size and quality!

Here is a link to the Cholesterol OMG PowerPoint in .pdf format.

Our presentation takes an entertaining look at the history of cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, and includes patient examples. We discuss cholesterol, cardiovascular risk assessment and non-standard high-quality nutrient dense diets that are lower in carbohydrate, higher in saturated fat, and higher in food quality. Diets such as Low carb high fat (LCHF), Paleo, Primal and Weston A. Price improve inflammatory markers, cholesterol quality, and health.

In our office, we perform standard and advanced lipid testing including total cholesterol, LDL-C, HDL-C, triglycerides, LDL-P, small-LDL-P, sdLDL, ApoB, particle size, and markers of cardiovascular inflammation and oxidative stress. There are several companies who perform these tests including Liposcience NMR, Berkeley Heart Lab, Atherotech VAPHealth Diagnostics Lab HDL, and Cleveland Heart Lab inflammatory testing. We also perform or order cardiovascular imaging studies including carotid intima media thickness (C-IMT)carotid doppler, and EBCT heart calcium scores.

We’d enjoy discussing the new ACC, AHA, NHLBI cholesterol guidelines with you in our office and also addressing your personal concerns regarding medication, statins, and the inflammatory and oxidative components of cardiovascular disease.

  • charles grashow

    What is your expert opinion in 2014 regarding rising LDL-P on VLCKD diets and cardiovascular risk?

    “replacing saturated fat with often highly refined and processed carbohydrates, sugars, grains, and polyunsaturated vegetable oils”

    What about complex minimally processed carbohydrates and whole foods like brown rice, fresh/frozen fruits?

  • Good job, well done. My new favorite test is the non cholesterol stanols and strerols.

  • “It’s now evident that consuming foods containing processed carbohydrates…”
    I agree with this part of the sentence. As for the rest of the sentence, I put the blame on wildly-fluctuating blood glucose levels increasing hunger signals from the brain thus resulting in over-eating, rather than effects of such foods on insulin levels per se.

    “Restricting dietary carbohydrates…”
    Should that read “Restricting processed carbohydrates…”? Resistant Starches have minimal effects on blood glucose levels and act as prebiotics for colonic bacteria, fermenting into butyric acid (a 4-carbon saturated fatty acid).

    • Bill Lagakos just posted a link to , which supports my theory that it’s excessively-fluctuating blood glucose level that makes high-GL diets fattening in people with an impaired 1st phase insulin response (i.e. over-fat people).

      • Nigel, I do not understand why you wish to distinguish between fluctuating blood glucose vs. fluctuating insulin in terms of driving appetite? Both trigger the hunger and reward centers along with leptin, ghrelin, vagal afferents etc…

        • I think that postprandial hyperinsulinaemia causes drowsiness, but it’s the subsequent drop in blood glucose level that triggers hunger.

  • “The federal dietary guidelines (once described as a “vast nutritional experiment”), now decades old, still advise replacing saturated fat with often highly refined and processed carbohydrates, sugars, grains, and polyunsaturated vegetable oils.”
    Hardly anybody followed the federal dietary guidelines. See

    • Nigel, Let’s “Stick it to the Man”. Unfortunately, I think federal policy does influence herd behavior, marketing and the food industry. Those who simply agree to live healthier and eat better do ignore federal policy (like you say) and are way ahead of the game.

      • I think that people are far more influenced by “Big Food” than by federal policies. “Big Food” also influences government subsidies by lobbying. See

        • Edward Bernays, The father of desire, propaganda, public relations, herd marketing and corporate america. Great story, but I thinks the Brits are just jealous!

  • “…see how saturated fat consumption improves cholesterol and health as is discussed in Time magazine and by registered dietitian Joy Bauer in her NBC Today show segment.”
    How much saturated fat consumption per day do you recommend? Min? Max?

    • Nigel, Saturated fat intake depends on metabolism, weight and body fat. Stages of insulin resistance is one important measurement of metabolism we use in our office.

      Type II diabetics who need to lose weight do best on max saturated fat. A VLCKD, 70-90% of calories from all saturated fat (SFA) will invariably include other fats, mono (MUFA) and poly (PUFA). Metabolically favorable for diabetics and controls appetite.

      Saturated fat on the minimum side, certainly more than the federal dietary guidelines. 50%-60% SFA perhaps.

      Important to follow all the metabolic markers and see what happens!

      • Thanks for replying. According to Prof. Roy Taylor, the fastest way to deplete the liver of glycogen & fat in someone with Type II diabetes is a PSMF (~1g/kg weight of protein, very low carb, very low fat (just enough EFA’s to stimulate gall-bladder emptying)). I won’t link to my blog as it puts me in moderation, but I believe you’ve seen the post to which I’m referring.

        Why do you believe that adding max saturated fat is of benefit?

        • Nigel, both methods (VLCKD vs. PSMF) regulate quantity and calories and create a ketogenic state. I just find that most get hungry if you cut carbs and fat. Also it seems to be hard to restrict the fat long-term.

          • It’s not necessary to restrict fat long-term, as once liver derangement has been reversed (after about 4 weeks on a PSMF), dietary fat is no longer stored as liver fat.

          • Nigil, Agreed that liver function will improve, but what about controlling the hunger on PSMF? Are you saying its ok to increase fat intake after 4 weeks?

          • According to Prof. Taylor’s lecture (have you watched it?), there were no complaints about hunger while on the PSMF. Once liver derangement has almost completely gone (I think it took about 4 weeks), fat intake can be increased somewhat (i.e. not to “a whole stick of butter” levels). Ditto carb intake from whole veggies & whole fruits.

          • Nigel, I listened to Dr Taylor’s lecture. In our clinical practice (most humble and filled with anecdotes) we see the same results doing VLCKD. Dr. Westman and others have done the proper experiments to support. Whatever works. I see more of a similarity to the methods, it is just a matter of tweaking fat intake. Reminds me of the “Traditional Bulletproof Coffee Technique”, very funny: Might as well be you, Nigel, in this clip!