In this slide deck I describe the effects of low cabrohydrate diet and fat quality on LDL particle size and number.

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Recently Time magazine encouraged people to eat butter. Some proponents and key opinion leaders of low carb diet community also maintain that butter is either beneficial or neutral for health. Some have even aired black and white statements such as “…saturated fat has nothing to do with heart disease“.

Time magazine and many of these advocates seem to claim that the real culprits are carbohydrates. If you able to cut all refined and most complex carbs out of your diet, you are just fine. You can enjoy butter without putting yourself at risk of heart attack, they happily declare. I agree that carbohydrates may have more to do with heart disease than we have conventionally thought but in regards to butter I remain sceptic.

Science of nutrition is complicated. You need to consider the bulk of evidence from the different ladders of evidence pyramid to draw conclusions. There is often lack of randomized trials with mortality and morbidity end points in the field of nutrition. In contrast, there is a wealth of randomized trials with risk factors as end points such as LDL, HDL, apolipoprotein B (apoB) and more.

In this slide set I demonstrate the effects of carbohydrates restriction on the most powerful risk factors of coronary heart disease, ie. on apoB, non-HDL-cholesterol and total cholesterol:HDL -ratio without leaving out LDL and HDL outcomes. The examples and calculations are based on the meta-analysis of 60 randomized trials (Mensink et al. 2003). I come back to LDL-particle size in another slide deck which clearly is the hot spot for low carbers.

Even though these risk factor are powerful predictors of heart disease, they are not enough to reach conclusive verdict. It’s necessary to take into account the results of prospective cohorts and those mostly decades old mortality and morbidity trials that are available. I have done this earlier by setting modern margarine and butter against each other, read here.

So is it saturated or unsaturated fat that wins the battle of ” the best substitute of carbohydrate”. See the slides below.

PS. These results are based on weight stable situation. No weight loss bias.

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In this slide deck I represent scientific evidence refuting claims such as “Dietary recommendation are all wrong, they have caused the obesity and diabetes epidemic”. I also illustrate that only few eat very healthy and that modern junk food consumption is associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Following dietary recommendations is associted with improved health.

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Butter is not healthier than margarine or vegetable oil

by Reijo Laatikainen on December 16, 2013

This slide deck depicts scientific data regarding health effects of butter, margarine and vegetable oils. I show how unequivocal the scientific data is due to many interacting factors and imperfect research methods. My conclusion: Dietary pattern loaded with butter is unhealthier than otherwise similar food pattern having vegetables oils or margarine as main edible fat.

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My presentation at 8th World Conference of Science Journalists: Diet discussions in social media

June 25, 2013

I presented today my thoughts on diet discussions in social media at 8th World Conference of Science Journalists in Helsinki. The other speakers in the session spoke more on how the low carb communities and other interest groups behave and why they do so. I wanted to focus on neglected origins of debate: namely exaggaration […]

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Nordic diet study and its aftermath

June 24, 2013

Nordic diet was recently hyped in some media due to SYSDIET study and increasing popularity of Scandinavian cuisine (“Noma diet”). 24 week long SYSDIET study demonstrated that Nordic diet reduces some indicators of cholesterol metabolism and one inflammatory marker (IL-1Ra) when compared to unhealthy diet without affecting blood pressure, insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. My […]

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Predimed investigator Jordi Salas-Salvadó responds to Ornish’s critique and more

March 4, 2013

You have probably heard of Predimed study. It was an extraordinary study which cemented the benefits of Mediterranean diet. One of the principal investigators, professor Jordi Salas-Salvadó kindly answered some questions I had on my mind regarding the Study. Jordi Salas-Salvadó works as a professor of nutrition and director of human nutrition unit at Rovira i Virgili […]

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Predimed study: Mediterranean diet prevents cardiovascular events

February 27, 2013

A large Spanish randomized controlled trial on Mediterranean diet cemented the cardiovascular benefits of Mediterranean diet pattern. Mediterranean diet, supplemented either with extra virgin olive oil or nuts, reduced the risk of by cardiovascular events by 30 % in people already treated with many drugs, like statins. The control diet was lower in fat and […]

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Sydney Diet Heart Study, a die hard story

February 16, 2013

After  40 years of its ending, the main results of Sydney Diet Heart Study are finally published. This is the only published randomized trial where saturated fat based diet outperfoms PUFA based diet in terms of coronary heart disease deaths. However, the modern margarines, canola oil, flax seed oil and nuts are healthy. Read the […]

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Why nuts do not cause weight gain as expected

January 3, 2013

In the last post I elaborated on the dietary factors that are linked to weight management in long term. Nuts seemed to protect from weight gain. Nuts are packed with calories; so: how is this possible? This slide deck summarizes the scientific evidence in humans. Why nuts do not cause weight gain from pronutritionist

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