The biggest fear people have when they switch from a high-carb low-fat diet to a LCHF diet is their fear of dietary fat. This fear of any dietary fat comes from over 50 years of false information . Information about saturated fat and cholesterol clogging our arteries. This has been repeated by our health officials and doctors so many times that everyone just assumes that this must be true. It turns out if you are a type 2 diabetic and are insulin resistant what you do need to fear is the saturated fat and cholesterol made from excess carbohydrates in your diet. It also turns out that dietary fat that you eat goes through a different process than the saturated fat that is made in the liver from excess or unused carbohydrate. I will try and explain this difference to you between dietary fat and the saturated fat made from excess carbs.
Fat and cholesterol are not water soluble and do not mix very well with your blood. They both need to be repackaged with a lipoprotein to be delivered through your bloodstream to your body`s cells. There are two distinct lipoprotein systems. One is for dietary fat that you eat and the other is for fat made in the liver. Saturated fat made in the liver from excess dietary carbs and fructose are packaged with a VLDL lipoprotein which is also made in the liver. Once this saturated fat is delivered to the fat cells VLDL morphs into LDL cholesterol. Most of this LDL cholesterol from VLDL is the small dense pattern B. This is the only cholesterol that can be problematic as it is the only one that can be oxidized. Small dense pattern B LDL are small enough to fit in between the walls of the arteries.
If you are a type 2 diabetic or are insulin resistant a lot of your dietary intake of carbohydrate will end up into this saturated fat which needs to be delivered in the blood with this VLDL cholesterol. This is exactly what you don`t want to happen. You want your LDL cholesterol to be pattern A large and fluffy. The more saturated fat your liver makes from excess carbs the more VLDL it has to make to be able to transport all this fat that is being made in the liver. This is why someone who is insulin resistant who eats a high-carb diet ends up with high triglycerides in their blood. Their liver is constantly having to make this saturated fat from excess carbs that the insulin resistant person cannot use for energy. And to make matters worse all this saturated fat that their liver is making they can`t use it for energy. Constant high insulin levels from this high-carb diet denies them access to this stored body fat. There is also one other thing that makes consuming a high carb diet, if you are insulin resistant, even worse.
Dr. Jeff Volek and Dr. Steve Phinney have shown in a lot of their research that when one is insulin resistant and they eat a high carb diet a large percentage of the fat made in the liver is converted to a different fat. The name of this fat is palmitoleic acid (POA) . They found that this POA fat increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes. And also increases excess belly fat,high blood pressure,lower HDL cholesterol, increased insulin resistance and higher triglycerides. In their research when they converted these type 2 diabetics to a very low-carb high fat diet the saturated fat level in their blood went way down even though they were eating a lot of dietary saturated fat. This POA fat also went way down while they followed this very low-carb high fat diet. These people ate 3-4 times more saturated fat on LCHF than on the standard high-carb low fat diet. And their blood levels of saturated fat and POA fat were a lot lower in fact normal. Their fasting triglycerides also fell to the normal range. So this tells me that if you are insulin resistant and eat a high carb diet the fat that your liver makes from the excess carbs that you cannot use for energy get turned into a bad type of fat. And your cholesterol profile gets changed to the dangerous small dense pattern B LDL. And you also end up with very high triglycerides in your blood. Now for a look at what happens with dietary fat.
When you eat any type of fat (except for short and medium chain saturated fat ) your body has to break it down into smaller units so it can be packaged with a lipoprotein. Your pancreatic digestive enzymes break down this fat into smaller units it is then packaged with a different lipoprotein. Your intestines make the lipoprotein chylomicrons and this dietary fat is repackaged with chylomicron and gets transported in your bloodstream for delivery to your cells to be used for energy and other functions. This delivery system of this dietary fat is very different from the delivery system of the fat made in the liver from excess carbs. If you are insulin resistant and follow a LCHF or ketogenic diet you will have normal insulin levels. This will enable you to use this dietary fat for your body`s energy needs. On the other hand if you are insulin resistant and eat a high carb diet you will have high insulin levels. This will deny you access to this dietary fat for your energy needs and most of it will end up in your fat cells.
In closing I would hope that you would lose your fear of dietary fat. If you are insulin resistant and adopt a ketogenic or LCHF diet your blood sugar and insulin levels will fall. Your liver will stop making all that very bad type of fat (POA) from excess carbs. Your blood level of saturated fat will fall to normal because you can now use saturated fat for energy and your fasting triglycerides will eventually fall to normal as well. Your LDL cholesterol will change from Pattern B small and dense to pattern A large and fluffy which every cell in the body needs. You will increase your HDL cholesterol. You will have access to your stored body fat for energy and the fat that you eat you will be able to use for energy also. You will stop making unusable fat in the liver and start using your stored body fat for energy. Your poor liver instead of constantly having to make all this fat from excess carbs and all this bad VLDL Cholesterol will be free to do the many other tasks that it is in charge of.
Also I would like to add a few things that dietary saturated fat does in the human body
Your body`s cells must be made of at least 50% saturated fat. Saturated fat gives our cells their necessary stiffness and integrity.
saturated fat is the building blocks used to make most of your hormones
Your heart prefers saturated fat over carbs for energy. Your heart runs 28-38% more efficient on saturated fat .
your lungs have a protective barrier over them made of 100% saturated fat. This protective barrier prevents asthma and other breathing disorders.
Saturated fat strengthens your immune system by priming the white cells to destroy bacteria virus and fungi. And saturated fat also helps to fight against tumors
For calcium to be absorbed into our bones at least 50% of our dietary fat intake must come from saturated fat.
Saturated fat is needed for the proper utilization of the essential fatty-acids omega-3 and omega-6.
Saturated fat also protects the liver from the toxic effects of alcohol and drugs
Your body can take saturated fat and make the necessary mono-unsaturated fat needed by the body. This conversion however cannot go the other way.
These are just a few of the reasons that we need dietary saturated fat. There are many mor