HealthWatch: Caveman Diet Makes Room For Saturated Fats

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – If you’re trying to eat like a caveman on the Paleo Diet, meat –which is heavy in saturated fat- is on the menu. However, the consensus may be changing on how dangerous those fats are.

According to the modern Paleo movement, a little bit of “bad” fat can do a body “good,” actually helping your triglyceride levels.

At a sold out symposium at UCLA, new findings on saturated fat wowed researchers, medical doctors and nutritionists from around the world.

“I don’t think it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Loren Cordain, the godfather of the modern Ancestral health movement. Cordain has done a complete turnaround on saturated fats.

The science suggests that it’s really the combination of saturated and unsaturated fats that makes the difference.

“I never met a saturated fat I didn’t like,” said Mark Sisson, author of “The Primal Blueprint.”

Sisson eats good fats like olive oil, nuts, and avocado every day. But he also indulges frequently with saturated fats.

“I’m a huge fan of butter, whole cream, macadamia nuts and coconut oil. Stop me when you’ve had enough,” said Sisson.

Experts believe our prehistoric ancestors ate a diet low in total fat – about half of what we eat today – and that they ate more polyunsaturated than saturated fats.

Dr. Cordain said the culprit behind heart disease is not saturated fat, but inflammation. And that inflammation is stoked by a modern diet – packed with processed foods, no fiber, and easy “carbs.”

Very few nutritionists are going to tell you processed foods are healthful. As for saturated fat, University of California, San Francisco endocrinologist Dr. Robert Lustig doesn’t exactly praise it.

“No it’s not good for you, but it certainly is not bad for you. It just is,” said Dr. Lustig, who likes the Paleo diet because saying it’s rich in fiber, and low in carbohydrates. “I have nothing but good things to say about it.”

The bottom line is that there’s room for saturated fat, as long as you eat all those fiber-rich fruits and vegetables.

For more information on the Paleo Diet, see:

Paleolithic Nutrition: A consideration of Its Nature and Current Implications

S. Boyd Eaton, MD, and Melvin Konner, PhD

Paleolithic Nutrition: Twenty-Five Years Later

Melvin Konner, MD, PhD and S. Boyd Eaton, MD

(Copyright 2011 by CBS SF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


One Comment

  1. ani says:

    . I highly dout that cavemen used oil in their food. They just smoke their meat the ways of their ancestors and hunted for survival and only ate when necessary. And exercise like pulling and pushing? Where in the concept did one get from that? They didn’t evene considered that ‘exercise”. It was somethiing they did naturally.

  2. Mary Titus says:

    This statememnt was written very poorly. it should have stated “Sisson eats good fats including olive oil, nuts,avocados and saturated fats , such as butter, cream and coconut oil” Saturated fats are good fats and are not worthy of being villified. My blood lipids and serum glucose levels remain well within the normal range. I stopped abusing carbohydrates years ago and that is what keeps me healthy.

  3. george says:

    The caveman diet to me seems like a great diet for someone who will follow the diet exact. The most important part of this diet is the use of the creative workouts. Find what works for you. Do some research on the caveman paleo diet before you start make sure you like the items offered on the cave man diet food list and that you can find a workout that works for you.

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