Saturated Fat not a Bad Fat

New research links diabetes, heart disease risk to diet high in carbs, not fat

We in the grassfed beef world have being telling folks for years that we NEED good fats in our diet.  You CANNOT get these healthy fats in vegetables. 

​One of my problems is that many grassfed beef producers are not finishing animals correctly. 

So, what is finishing correctly?  I have done a video that shows you what a grass finished cattle should look like.  The ribeye steaks on the left are an EXCELLENT example of what a grassfed and finished ribeye should look like.  Thank you to Dr. Allen Williams for the picture and GREAT JOB on finishing cattle the right way.

I have read about many producers slaughtering grassfed cattle at 15 - 18 months of age.  I would say to you that more than likely, your cattle are not properly finished.  Can you get your genetics to a place where you can slaughter that early AND be finished on grass only, maybe so, but I have yet to see it.  I have seen some cattle that are acceptable at 20 months but they would be properly finished at 24 most of the time.

I have worked in all aspects of raising grassfed beef and I fully understand the need to turn heads to generate cash flow.  So the question for you is, what is most important for your operation, generating the highest quality product you can to generate the highest return possible (Restaurants will pay a premium for Prime Grassfed Beef and the picture above is just that.)?  Or, is it more important to generate cash flow fast and forgo some quality of the finish and quality on your animals?  Whatever is right for you, the more fat in your product, the more health benefits for your customers as the study talked about below shows.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Doubling or even nearly tripling saturated fat in the diet does not drive up total levels of saturated fat in the blood, according to a controlled diet study.

However, increasing levels of carbohydrates in the diet during the study promoted a steady increase in the blood of a fatty acid linked to an elevated risk for diabetes and heart disease.

The finding “challenges the conventional wisdom that has demonized saturated fat and extends our knowledge of why dietary saturated fat doesn’t correlate with disease,” said senior author Jeff Volek, a professor of human sciences at The Ohio State University.

“It’s unusual for a marker to track so closely with carbohydrate intake, making this a unique and clinically significant finding. As you increase carbs, this marker predictably goes up,” Volek said. The researchers found that total saturated fat in the blood did not increase – and went down in most people – despite being increased in the diet when carbs were reduced. Palmitoleic acid, a fatty acid associated with unhealthy metabolism of carbohydrates that can promote disease, went down with low-carb intake and gradually increased as carbs were re-introduced to the study diet. In the study, participants were fed six three-week diets that progressively increased carbs while simultaneously reducing total fat and saturated fat, keeping calories and protein the same.

When that marker increases, he said, it is a signal that an increasing proportion of carbs are being converted to fat instead of being burned as fuel. Reducing carbs and adding fat to the diet in a well-formulated way, on the other hand, ensures the body will promptly burn the saturated fat as fuel so it won’t be stored.

“When you consume a very low-carb diet your body preferentially burns saturated fat,” Volek said. “We had people eat 2 times more saturated fat than they had been eating before entering the study, yet when we measured saturated fat in their blood, it went down in the majority of people. Other traditional risk markers improved, as well.”

The research is published in the Nov. 21, 2014, issue of the journal PLOS ONE.

Volek and colleagues recruited 16 adults for the study, all of whom had metabolic syndrome, defined as the presence of at least three of five factors that increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes (excess belly fat, elevated blood pressure, low “good” cholesterol, insulin resistance or glucose intolerance, and high triglycerides).

After getting them to a baseline reduced-carb diet for three weeks, researchers fed the participants the exact same diets, which changed every three weeks, for 18 weeks. The diets started with 47 grams of carbs and 84 grams of saturated fat each day, and ended with 346 carb grams per day and 32 grams daily of saturated fat.

Each day’s meals added up to 2,500 calories and included about 130 grams of protein. The highest-carb level represented 55 percent of daily calories, which roughly matches the estimated daily percentage of energy provided by carbs in the American diet.

Compared to baseline, there were significant improvements in blood glucose, insulin and blood pressure that were similar across diets. Participants, on average, lost almost 22 pounds by the end of the trial.

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