You've probably already noticed my criticism of dietary fats and the so-called ketogenic diet. I dare to point out, however, that I have not a hate for fats. IMHO, the problem with fats is not a problem of total fats amount. Rather, problem are the amount and use of different classes of edible fats. For example, it is well known that a healthy ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids is 1:2.5. Much less known about short-chain to long-chain and to medium-chain fats ratio.
Let's consider how diet can affect the balance of fatty acids beyond their direct intake with food.
For example, let's compare the diet of a chimpanzee and a human. As a rule, wild chimpanzees that live in their natural range are in excellent health. At the same time, in animals that begin to consume human food, for example, in a zoo, purely "human" degenerative diseases begin to appear. Chimpanzee
from a genetic point of view is the closest to a biological species. An adult chimpanzee diet provides ~ 50 g of fat, 70 g of protein, 320 g of digestible carbohydrates, and 200 g of indigestible carbohydrates (fiber) per day. Fiber is not assimilated because mammals are not produce the enzymes needed to break it down. However, these enzymes are produced by gut bacteria that inhabit the colon. As a result of the metabolism of fiber, some types of bacteria form short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). Figuratively speaking, there is a mutually beneficial deal. Bacteria colonize a warm and safe place rich in tasty bacterial food and pay for their lunch with their work (energy from fat).
The ratio of calories from various food sources (fat:protein:carbohydrates) in chimpanzees is approximately 450:280:1'280. The daily caloric content is ~ 2'000 kcal (or 2'250 kcal in human equivalent). This is energy received in an explicit form. However, let's not forget about the energy source hidden from our eyes. Another 30-60% of energy (600-1'200 kcal) the chimpanzee's body receives from the intestinal microbiome in the form of 70 g of fat. That is, one and a half times more than eaten. Taking this additional fat into account, the total calorie content of the monkeys is at least 2'600 kcal (2'900 kcal in human equivalent). And the ratio of calories fat:protein:carbohydrates will take the following form: 1'050:280:1'280. Humans
in "well-fed" countries consumes 120-150 g of dietary fat every day - at least twice as much as chimpanzees. Since the human colon, in comparison with the chimpanzee's colon, is three times less in relative volume, the internal production of SCFA in humans, depending on the diet, is 2-9% of the total energy consumed from food (~ 3'500 kcal/day). That is, the daily production of SCFA is 8-35 g. This raises the total caloric content up to 3'800 kcal/day. Nevertheless, even in the most advantageous case for a human, he receives half the short-chain fat than the biological species closest to him. In reality, in "well-fed" countries the situation is much worse, because the consumption of fiber here is 25 g/day, i.e. 8 times less than that of chimpanzees. The situation is aggravated by high consumption of sugar, which alters the intestinal bacterial profile, and inappropriate use of oral antibiotics.
Clearly it will look like this.
Here, the difference in the ratio of short-chain endogenous fats to medium- and long-chain exogenous fats in humans and chimpanzees is clear. If we take the average values of SCFA production in both biological species, then in chimpanzees this ratio is 1.5:1, and in humans in rich countries (unsuccessful in health) - 1:0.2.
In anticipation of fair criticism that the comparison should not be between a man and a monkey, but between people with different diets, another graph was drawn up. Despite the difference in genetics between mammalian species, the benefits of short-chain fatty acids are clear. As the ratio of fat:fiber rises, the risk of breast cancer gradually increases, and this association increases markedly after a score of 6.
In recent years, researchers have begun to pay increasing attention to the fact that short-chain fatty acids may play an important role in health and the risk of many diseases. SCFA can reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and a host of other common conditions.
Now remember the current dietary guidelines to eat less dietary fat and more vegetables (fiber). In my opinion, this is nothing more than a veiled recommendation to shift the balance between exogenous (acquired from food) and endogenous (produced locally) in favor of the latter. A diet that generates short-chain fatty acids is the real "healthy" high-fat diet, not the ketogenic high-fat diet that some fashion magazines present.
Ruminants like sheep and cattle are actually considered vegetarians. But their caloric needs are met by about 70% from SCFA, thanks to the excellent work of intestinal bacteria and a perfectly adapted gastrointestinal tract. Bacterial fat makes us healthy. And fat from supermarkets is, rather, the opposite.Conclusion
: Eat fiber, take care of your gut friends.
The following types of fiber are best suited for SCFA production:
Inulin: artichoke, garlic, leeks, whole wheat, rye, and asparagus.
Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS): fruits and vegetables, including bananas, onions, garlic, asparagus.
Resistant starch: cereals, legumes, green bananas, potatoes.
Pectin: apples, apricots, carrots, oranges and others.
Arabinoxylan: hull of cereals. It is the most abundant fiber in wheat bran (~ 70% of total fiber).
Guar gum and gum from fruit trees.
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