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Old 03-09-2007, 03:49 AM   #1
Allen Yeh
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Default Saturated Fat: Killer or Testosterone Booster?

http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1485979

Anyone read this article yet? I'd just be curious as to those more interested in nutrition have to say.

There was one "study" that cited "acute treatment study that actually showed a 30% decrease in total and free Testosterone following a high fat meal....

As a side, the researchers also found a negative correlation between protein intake and Testosterone levels (i.e. consuming too much protein leads to decreased T)."

Unfortunately there aren't any solid numbers given out.

I just thought it was interesting.
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Old 03-10-2007, 11:17 AM   #2
Robb Wolf
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Hey Allen-
Being the Paleo Whore that I am I'm inclined to look for some answers to this question from that perspective.
Cordain makes the point that there is a seasonal ebb and flow to both total fat content and saturated fat content of wild game, with the peak for both occurring in the late fall:
http://www.thepaleodiet.com/faqs/#Fats

Total caloric intake, carbohydrate intake AND it would appear saturated fat intake can influence androgen levels in a few different ways. The first is raising or lowering total testosterone. The second is increasing FREE testosterone irrespective of total testosterone as a consequence of decreases in sex hormone binding protein (SHBP). If one buys into the seasonal availability of foods and the possibility that fertility in humans was historically tied to food availability, late fall would be the "go time" as relatively high levels of dietary carbohydrate, fat and saturated fat would be available.

If you buy into this perspective it makes sense that sat'd fat can increase testosterone levels.

As to Sat'd fats effects on LDL and heart disease I tend to fall back to the above information in that our ancestors simply did not get that much sat'd fat in the diet EVER, and the amount ingested was always a relatively low % as compared to mono's and polly's. That said it does appear that a very low insulin level may alter metabolism in such a way that high satd fat is either not or less harmful than under conditions of hyperinsulinism. Even under these scenarios its pretty easy to make the preponderance of one's fats come form mono's, even in a low carb situation.

As to the high protein leading to low testosterone levels...here is a guess. We have a protein ceiling of between 35-40% of calories. Above this intake level our livers can not deal with the urea that is a consequence of protein breakdown and we can experience protein toxicity commonly referred to as "rabbit starvation". Now this is a matter of %'s...so long as adequate fat or carbohydrate is present one can metabolize the protein. My guess is that once one reaches a certain protein intake this may register as a stresor as it would indicate inadequate food supply and the potential for impending starvation. Just a guess on this but it fits with the other information. I think it's interesting that protein recommendations for a 170lb male could range form a low of ~130g/day from a Zone perspective to 300g/day from a Cordain/paleo/John Berardi perspective. I think it particularly interesting that all recommendaitons deliver great results.

As always with science...more questions that answers.
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Old 03-10-2007, 03:53 PM   #3
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Whenever I see discussions on saturated fat as a % of intake I always wonder about the differences between the types of saturated fat.

In particular I'm referring to the sat fat in meats vs. coconut oil since I know a lot of us paleo peeps use the oil for cooking (I also like to use coc. milk in hemp protein shakes). Would the MCTs in coconut oil warrant different considerations than animal sat fats?

I know Garrett Smith over at the main crossfit forum has mentioned he doesn't skimp on coc. oil when cooking and he seems to know his stuff!
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Old 03-10-2007, 07:09 PM   #4
Mike ODonnell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Davis View Post
Whenever I see discussions on saturated fat as a % of intake I always wonder about the differences between the types of saturated fat.
I agree as I would like to see the difference between grass fed meat, dairy, and all others...and how the body can or can not handle it...or the degree of stress it puts on the liver and gallbladder..aka if people have liver issues...what should they stay away from.

Funny enough this comes into real life play for me as I have some pain in the liver, gallbladder area...started a day or two ago...has happened before but it usually goes away.....I am guess it has been the recent intake of more fats from almond butter (starting adding to protein shakes)...and the ..sigh...Vanilla Milk Shake I had a couple days back...that seemed to cause some issues....so I am wondering if I inflammed my liver/gallbladder area with excessive fats esp dairy which may cause more stress?? Now back to my ACV and fiber flush....that usually takes care of things....
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Old 03-11-2007, 09:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Davis View Post
Whenever I see discussions on saturated fat as a % of intake I always wonder about the differences between the types of saturated fat.

In particular I'm referring to the sat fat in meats vs. coconut oil since I know a lot of us paleo peeps use the oil for cooking (I also like to use coc. milk in hemp protein shakes). Would the MCTs in coconut oil warrant different considerations than animal sat fats?

I know Garrett Smith over at the main crossfit forum has mentioned he doesn't skimp on coc. oil when cooking and he seems to know his stuff!
Greg-
I think as part of an overall approach using coconut oil for cooking is great. I use a can or two of coconut milk per week also, but this is in the broader context of buying leaner cuts of meat and using ~1 litre of olive oil per week between nicki and I in addition to almonds and pecans. I crunched the numbers on this once but as just an eyeball method I know I'm getting much more mono's that sat'd.
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Old 03-11-2007, 09:48 AM   #6
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I agree entirely Robb. Sounds like I have similar habits. A few weeks ago I tracked a sample week using fitday and found that my fat intake as % of calories broke down into roughly:

22% sat
38% mono
12% poly

This is very low carb < 10%. So my point is that my saturated fat intake is higher than my poly (and wouldn't be considered "low saturated fat"), but I'm not concerned about that as long as my mono stays well above the sat. Actually those figures are probably a bit off because for the meat I ate I just used their standard beef but I actually eat grass-fed (can't recommend highly enough to grab a 1/4 cow in the fall!).
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Old 03-11-2007, 10:19 AM   #7
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I think that ratio or something like it is fine, especially on low carb. I doubt if you would want to get the poly's super high anyway...loads of hormonal effects there and they are prone to oxidation in the cell membrane. We want "enough" poly's but not too many IMO.
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