Just Read: Specific Macronutrients Promote Hepatic Steatosis in Mice – How did this become about Avocados?

A colleague recently wrote me with the news of this press release and tweet. Subject of the message was “We cannot win.”

And yet, despite the imagery and proclamations, I’m not understanding the conclusions made in the communication about the study.

Here are the statement via @UCSFHospitals on Twitter and via their website.

The study, linked to above, didn’t test the ingestion of avocados or olive oil, as depicted on the stock photos.

Although the Western diet is more nutrient diverse than the starch-oleate diet is, the 2 formulas have similar caloric densities and similar proportions of CHO and fat. The fact that starch oleate phenocopied the effect of the Western diet in mice provides a strong rationale to further pursue the disease- promoting potential of this nutrient pair.

I’m intepreting this that the issue is not the type of fat, but the proportion of fat and carbohydrate in the diet.

Notably, our earlier studies combined nutrients in a 60:20 CHO:fat ratio rather than the 42:42 ratio used in the current experiments. Dietary formulas with 60:20 CHO:fat provoke more hepatic DNL than those with 42:42 CHO:fat when compared with chow (A. A. Pierce, 2013 and C. C. Duwaerts, 2014 data not shown). Moreover, in the presence of abundant amounts of simple CHO, even a small amount of dietary saturated fat can accentuate DNL by inducing the enzymes in the lipogenic pathway.

I am unable to reconcile what’s being said to the public and what’s in the study, which worries me because this is what adds to confusion about what it is recommended that people eat.

Ted Eytan, MD