Does Dietary Saturated Fat Increase LDL Cholesterol? Maybe…
There are lots of arguments back and forth regarding the effects of dietary saturated fat and its effect on cholesterol level. Likely this is because they are both correct: some people can increase their dietary saturated fat without affecting their cholesterol, but some cannot.
A recent review article by Bruce Griffen et al, in the journal Atherosclerosis, describes, in detail, the intricacies of cholesterol and saturated fat absorption. Not only can absorption of these nutrients vary amongst individuals but their absorption can change over time.
Bile, which plays an essential role in the absorption of dietary fat, can undergo modification by gut bacteria, making it less effective in isolating fat and facilitating absorption. Moreover, dietary fat can influence the variety and function of those bacteria:
“The gut microbiota shares a bi-directional relationship with dietary fat, by influencing the absorption of fat through bile salts, and, in turn, being modified by dietary fat.”
This highlights the ability of diet to influence cholesterol levels, not only directly through macronutrient selection but indirectly through its effect on absorption.
Those who do choose to make a significant dietary change like adopting a ketogenic diet or a paleo diet, should regularly measure their lipids to monitor any unexpected changes to their cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin sensitivity.