Explaining Fat & Cholesterol Intake

by 482 · October 16, 2013 at 11:18 AM

My father (age 73) has been adapting an 80/20 paleo diet for the past 3 months or so. I've been preparing most of his meals, and he is all for it. Enjoying the food, not missing the grains, self-reported energy gains, and neighbors comment that he 'looks' healthier.

However, he still refuses to eat things that are high in animal fat. He will have a bit on occasion, but generally avoids bacon, chicken skins, egg yolks, steamed chicken wings (Alton Brown has an incredible recipe that avoids oils on food.com), and other things he generally believes to be "high in fat". Now, he has read The Primal Blueprint, but can't grasp that these fats, saturated especially, aren't evil.

Background on him: slightly overweight, but not too bad. Bad joints and a few lingering injuries, OCPD lungs from smoking. He feels eating those fats, since he isn't as active at me, will clog his arteries, spike his cholesterol, and make him fat.

Is he right, given his age and lack of much physical exercise? If not, how can I begin showing him the light? Any articles I can forward to him? All input is much appreciated.

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273 · October 15, 2013 at 08:52 PM

I have many people comment on the amount of saturated fat that I consume. They say things similar to your father, like that will clog your arteries, give you heart disease, a stroke, etc, etc. Anyway, these people are just worried because this is what has been pushed down their throats for so long, and they can't contemplate that what the government has been telling them is wrong (because the government never lies right :-). Anyway, because of the amount of questions I kept getting, I got tired of explaining it to everyone. So, I decided to put a post up on my blog with a number of high quality resources on the topic of saturated fat, dietary cholesterol, and health. Have it a look, it may be helpful for you.


2318 · October 15, 2013 at 05:55 PM


Is your father the type of person who can be persuaded by written information written by doctors outside the mainstream? If not, it's unlikely any articles you show him will make a difference. Humans, as a general rule, are not easily swayed by facts alone. We need an appeal to our subconscious decision-making mechanisms, e.g., emotions, moral foundations, appeals by friends we know have our best interests at heart and who are doing what they're trying they want us to do, combined with facts. Even then, it's tough to persuade people. Jimmy Moore, a low-carb celebrity, recently told a story about his grandfather, who's in his mid-80's, whose idea of dietary control of diabetes is to take insulin before a meal.

Are there any people in his peer group following a paleo-template diet? Are there any reputable doctors who advocate paleo eating that you know who'd talk to him? Can you find any stories, either here, or on other forums (like Mark's Daily Apple) from those in his age group who've experienced an improvement in health by eating a paleo-template diet?

225 · October 15, 2013 at 05:55 PM

could try explaining it as many have 'vegetables are solid at room temp but they will not clog your arteries' ie you could show him that butter melts below your body temp....just as a neat palor trick that makes intuitive sense if thats how you view fat.

or you could get him some reading on what actually does clog arteries... explaining the cholesterol as firefighters and whatnot... causation and correlation.

or things like dietary cholesterol =/= cholesterol levels in blood, or explain to him how insulin is a storage hormone and that fat does not trigger its release.... although fat is more easily made into body fat..... although without the insulin it may just raise your base metabolic rate?(think mcT)

lots of things to say... if you know how it works it will be far easier to convince him, rather than just saying i believe this so you believe it to.

http://eatingacademy.com/ has some good articles on the topic

25994 · October 15, 2013 at 05:52 PM

Fat is not the preferred energy source for the body.

Or I should say, we do not know whether fat is the preferred energy source for the body. We know that fat is the preferred energy storage unity for the body. Which is nice since it's more than twice as energy dense.

Given your fathers' self-reported energy levels, I wouldn't push anything. Bacon is not, despite the love-affair, a dietary necessity.

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