Chris Masterjohn, the author of the post, provided some interesting information and tried to make a balanced report. Unfortunately, he couldn't. For example, even a pedestrian like myself can find some big holes.
Dr. Mann's report found the Masai had much more, not equal, intimal wall thickening (a beginning stage of atherosclerosis) than the average American. "Measurements of the aorta showed extensive atherosclerosis with lipid infiltration and fibrous changes but very few complicated lesions. The coronary arteries showed intimal thickening by atherosclerosis which equaled that of old U.S. men."(1)
Another Masterjohn quote (one sentence): "Mann found the size of the lumen to increase rather than decrease with age because the size of the vessels more than compensated for intimal thickening, and found the degree of atherosclerosis to actually reverse itself during the ages of 12-30, when the Masai eat a strictly pure meat, blood and milk diet and are active warriors, which is also when their always-low cholesterol levels are at their lowest."
Masterjohn said that the atherosclerosis reversed itself, ages 12-30. But children aren't supposed to have atherosclerosis to reverse. A significant percentage of Masai children autopsies showed fibrosis, an advanced form of atherosclerosis. (Recall that Korean soldiers autopsied in the Korean war, were almost all clean of any atherosclerosis. The US soldiers typically had significant atherosclerosis.) Notice that Masterjohn's reasoning misses the very essential point, that Masai children already often have serious atherosclerosis. The "reverse" of atherosclerosis from age 12-30 is probably statistical variation, due to the luck of the draw, for who ended up on the autopsy table.
Masterjohn speculates the worse results that Dr. Mann reported (compared to Bruce Taylor's earlier study), might be due to "The old and the young Masai do have some access to such processed staples as flour, sugar, confections and shortenings through the Indian dukas scattered about Masailand." This leads to a rediculous conclusion. Note that we Americans, on the SAD (Standard American Diet), have many many times more white flour, sugar, etc, than the Masai. But we have less atheroslcerosis than the Masai. That suggests that the SAD is protective for atherosclerosis, compared to the Masai diet. If someone wants to emulate the Masai for the artery health first reported by Bruce Taylor, you must NEVER break the diet with any carbs, especially flour or sugar. Also, be very lean (rippled abs) and very fit. Any failure or deviation from this, and your arteries will be worse than the average Americans.
What in this discussion make anyone want to emulate the Masai diet? Whatever the Masai do, we do not want to do the same.
Chris Masterjohn has obviously taken a lot of time to very carefully prepare this discussion. Unfortunately, his goal is obviously to defend a high fat diet, not to see where the data leads. Chris' severe bias clouds his vision.
Here's a view that helps us understand how such conclusions can be reached. And yes, saturated fats and refined carbohydrates are quite bad. When a study is run on people on the SAD (Standard American Diet), if they eat less saturated fat, they usually are eating more white flour. Not much difference is seen, especially when the study starts with a food recall questionnaire, which is inaccurate, and then follows them for 10 years, assuming the diet did not change, which it often does.