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Adipose tissue PUFA content

by (2379)
Updated about 11 hours ago
Created January 10, 2012 at 9:25 PM

Hi there,

Since I eat quite a lot of lard I was a bit worried about it's high PUFA content of approx. 12%.

But then I vaguely remembered an article which said that lard and human adipose tissue have a similar composition. After a little bit of research I found this pdf:

http://www.pdiconnect.com/content/19/2/154.full.pdf

According to this study, the average human adipose tissue comprises of:

  • MUFA: ~65%
  • PUFA: ~12%
  • SFA: ~23%

This is indeed nearly the same PUFA content as in lard. Although various sources state that overall PUFA consumption should be limited to less than 4% of the complete caloric intake.

Now the question is:

I assume the human body stores it's fat exactly in the most healthy composition. Anything else wouldn't make any sense from an evolutionary stance. Therefore, anybody burning body fat would automatically have a PUFA consumption of ~12%.

Can I conclude that a PUFA intake from lard is optimal for humans? And that the 4%-PUFA-calories-a-day rule doesn't sustain?

EDIT:

I should have mentioned that the study is about the adipose tissue composition of dialysis patients on the island of Crete - anyway the control group has nearly the same values.

Thanks for the answers so far! So it seems that like grainfed animals' fat composition changes along with their diet, the ratios in human adipose tissue change as well with diet.

Has anybody a comparable study about human adipose tissue composition maybe in other cultures?

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41560 · January 11, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Our bodies store long-chain fatty acids primarily. It would be expected that long-chain PUFAs get incorporated with little modification.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41560 · January 11, 2012 at 1:44 AM

What a silly and overly complex graph. The only measured values are horizontal lines labeled with countries. The curves are simulations. If anything I see the graph as supporting high omega-3 supplementation. As the 4en% curve stays fairly close to the ideal N6% in HUFA (assuming this occurs at 1:1 o3:o6), even at high en% omega-6s in diet.

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15013 · January 10, 2012 at 11:44 PM

What Mitch said. Lard is not a horrible fat source, but it's not a great nutrient source. So it shouldn't be a huge percentage of your calories!

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544 · January 10, 2012 at 11:31 PM

If your fat intake was 33% of your diet by calorie, and composed entirely of lard, that would make your PUFA intake 4%, yes?

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41560 · January 10, 2012 at 11:29 PM

Our bodies don't simply rely on statistical probability to determine our tissue composition. Now, what the optimal amount of PUFA is in human tissues and what dietary inputs result in that optimum, I've seen no work on that.

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15013 · January 10, 2012 at 11:10 PM

Travis, there were controls in that study! That said, I agree you cannot determine optimal dietary fat composition from that.

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15013 · January 10, 2012 at 11:04 PM

I would not conclude that the PUFA content of adipose tissue of a specific population means that dietary PUFA in the same composition is optimal.

This diagram from Bill Lands' work (from a Stephan Guyenet blog post) shows that the amount of omega 6 in adipose tissue is directly related to the amount of dietary omega 3 and omega 6 ... and that the best bet is to keep omega 6 low, especially if you aren't getting sufficient omega 3.

adipose-tissue-pufa-content

My take is that lard is fine as a fat source ... unless it turns out to be half or more of your calories. Or unless you're getting lots of omega 6s from other sources.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41560 · January 11, 2012 at 1:44 AM

What a silly and overly complex graph. The only measured values are horizontal lines labeled with countries. The curves are simulations. If anything I see the graph as supporting high omega-3 supplementation. As the 4en% curve stays fairly close to the ideal N6% in HUFA (assuming this occurs at 1:1 o3:o6), even at high en% omega-6s in diet.

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39831 · January 10, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Your conclusions are way off. The composition of our fat depots reflects that of our diets. The link you have given only tells you what that composition is for dialysis patients on the island of Crete. The PUFA content of lard is too high, though you're likely leagues ahead of where someone who eats the SAD is.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37
15013 · January 10, 2012 at 11:10 PM

Travis, there were controls in that study! That said, I agree you cannot determine optimal dietary fat composition from that.

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10199 · January 11, 2012 at 12:46 AM

Interesting how you can get confirmation of completely off-topic ideas by reading hacks. This discussion is further confirmation for me that the fat we eat becomes our stored fat untransformed by the liver. Into the bloodstream direct from the GI, and from there direct to the adipose if we are storing. A high carb/fat food (like a twinkie), eaten in excess so blood glucose is sky high, and we store whatever fat a twinkie contains. Same goes for pig lard, olive oil or beef tallow. If you are what you eat I'd rather be an animal than a twinkie.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41560 · January 11, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Our bodies store long-chain fatty acids primarily. It would be expected that long-chain PUFAs get incorporated with little modification.

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