Watching the battles between the defenders of saturated fat and those defending seed oils has been fun. Recently, Dr. Layne Norton posted a video saying that seed oils were fine and maybe even beneficial to health. Paul Saladino MD responded to him with his video going through the studies that Norton used.
Saladino pointed out that Norton was using meta-studies to make his point, but when you looked at the studies included you find out that those showing saturated fat are worse included transfats. One of the studies showing saturated fat was worse included a group with a higher number of smokers.
Before watching these videos, I had a higher opinion of Norton than Saladino. Norton is good at attacking hyperbolic nonsense peddled by many contrarian health influencers. Meanwhile, Saladino has said some dumb stuff about carbs and insulin that he has only recently admitted he was wrong about. However, after watching these videos, I found Saladino more persuasive. He dove deeper into the data and uncovered points that Norton did not address.
Saladino did not convince me that saturated fat was safe or beneficial. He convinced me that the metastudies Norton used to show saturated fat to be harmful were flawed. Are there controlled studies with people at a healthy weight who are consuming saturated fat (but not transfats) that have a better or worse outcome than those consuming seed oils? That is the information I want to see.
I also found the end of the Saladino video regarding heavy metals in seed oils to be alarming. Norton just waved his hand and dismissed that point. I don’t know to the extent that environmental toxins are harming human health, but it is a concern of mine. I may need to add that to my 2022 seed oil debate post, although it could be connected to a potential metabolic lowering effect (#3).
Some of you can guess where I side on this issue. Am I on team saturated fat or team seed oils? Neither. I’m on team carbs.
I’m the guy with the camera. 😁
I minimize both saturated fat and seed oils.
I stopped using seed oils a decade ago. I don’t cook at high temperatures to minimize advanced glycation end products (AGEs). You don’t need seed oils if you have an Instant Pot. From PubMed:
Modern diets are largely heat-processed and as a result contain high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Dietary advanced glycation end products (dAGEs) are known to contribute to increased oxidant stress and inflammation, which are linked to the recent epidemics of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
This also means I’m not charring up meat on the grill. I consume very little red meat. In 2022, I did a dietary experiment during an elimination diet where I increased the amount of red meat I consumed. During this test period, I did not consume transfats or processed meats. My lipid levels got mostly worse, including a 41% increase in LDL.
I am aware that saturated fat defenders don’t like the LDL marker. I know their argument and I also know the rebuttals. On this point, I am slightly more persuaded by those who say elevated LDL is a concern. Many of the people who lied to me about carbs, insulin, legumes, and soy are some of the same people saying high LDL is perfectly fine.
But even if the LDL critics are correct, my health journey is all about risk reduction in the absence of knowledge. And since I lack certainty on this topic I choose to minimize saturated fat. Fish, avocados, and nuts/seeds seem to be the safest fats. If I need an oil, I reach for extra-virgin olive oil from California*.
*California EVOO is supposedly the least likely to be counterfeit.
I am enjoying the back and forth in the seed oil and saturated fat debate. I think we are going to learn a lot in the coming years. I want to know how much this even matters to metabolically healthy people. In the meantime, I’ll continue eating a lower-fat diet with my Instant Pot.