Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mmmm, bacon

Wherein mmmm, lard

More from Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories.
The observation that monounsaturated fats both lower LDL cholesterol [the bad kind] and raise HDL [the good kind] also came with an ironic twist: the principal fat in red meat, eggs, and bacon is not saturated fat, but the very same monounsaturated fat as olive oil. The implications are almost impossible to believe after three decades of public-health recommendations suggesting that any red meat consumed should at least be lean, with any excess fat removed.

Consider a porterhouse steak with a quarter-inch layer of fat. After broiling, this steak will reduce to almost equal parts fat and protein. Fifty-one percent of the fat is monounsaturated, of which 90 percent is oleic acid. Saturated fat constitutes 45 percent of the total fat, but a third of that is stearic acid, which will increase HDL cholesterol while having no effect on LDL. (Stearic acid is metabolized in the body to oleic acid, according to Grundy's research.) The remaining 4 percent of the fat is polyunsaturated, which lowers LDL cholesterol but has no meaningful effect on HDL. In sum, perhaps as much as 70 percent of the fat content of a porterhouse steak will improve the relative levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol, compared with what they would be if carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, or pasta were consumed. The remaining 30 percent will raise LDL cholesterol but will also raise HDL cholesterol and will have an insignificant effect, if any, on the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL. All of this suggests that eating a porterhouse steak in lieu of bread or potatoes would actually reduce heart-disease risk, although virtually no nutritional authority will say so publicly. The same is true for bacon and lard.


Blogger Pastor_Jeff said...

I never stopped eating butter, myself. I knew eventually they'd discover that margarine had its own problems.

We're all gonna die someday; might as well enjoy the time we've got. But everything in moderation.

Our relationship to food in America is fascinating. In 60 years we've gone from worrying about having enough food at all to worrying about whether we're getting too many or the right kind of calories. We live better than kings did 3 centuries ago.

On one end you've got people who obsess over calories, exercise, and body shape; who half-starve themselves and use pills, injections and surgery to maintain an appearance of youth as long as possible. At the other extreme, people wolf down every kind of calorie-laden junk food, baptizing garbage in oil at county fairs almost as a quest for the deep-fried grail.

I can't decide whether America or Japan really is the most bizarre culture ever.

1/17/2008 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger XWL said...

I can't decide whether America or Japan really is the most bizarre culture ever.

I'd go with Germans, myself.

A)Even weirder porn than either Americans or Japanese(not that I'd really know)
B)Sprockets(OK, not really German, but inspired by real Germans)
C)David Hasselhoff love
D)Toilets with stool inspection shelves, and the related horror of sitzpinkel
E)Sauerkraut(much worse than any weird Japanese dish, even Natto)
F)Every messed up philosophical system of the last 200 years came forth, or reached its apogee in Germany(and give them time, Jihadism will probably join that list)

I think that about covers it.

1/17/2008 02:41:00 PM  

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