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The New Skinny on Fats

The New Skinny on Fats

  • You pray for good health and a body that will be strong in old age. Good — but your rich foods block the gods’ answer and tie Jupiter’s hands. Persius (34 AD -62 AD) Roman poet

  • Fats Fuel Heart Disease: Suboptimal intakes of n‐6 polyunsaturated fat, saturated fat, and trans fat resulted in 711,800, 250,900, and 537,200 coronary heart disease deaths per year, respectively, in 2010 (3%, 3.6%, and 7.7% of global CHD mortality). Over 20 years, proportional CHD mortality decreased by 9% for insufficient n‐6 PUFA intake and by 21% for higher SFA intake but increased by 4% for higher TFA. Journal of the American Heart Association.

  • Taking Fat Off the Menu: The recently updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 suggests an eating pattern low in saturated fats—including fat-free or low-fat dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, and fortified soy beverages)—and also cutting back on foods and beverages that are higher in these fats.

  • New Focus on Polyunsaturated Fats: The battle against heart disease and stroke is shifting focus from reducing intake of saturated fats to increasing consumption of polyunsaturated fats. Foods high in PUFA: soybean, corn, and sunflower oils; tofu, nuts and seeds; and fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, trout). Recommended: Replace refined carbohydrates and saturated fats with heart-protective vegetable oils.Journal of the American Heart Association

  • Fatty Acids Organic to Milk: Organic bovine milk has a more desirable fatty acid composition than conventional milk. Concentrations of total polyunsaturated fat and n-3 PUFA were higher by an estimated 7% and 56%, respectively, in organic milk. The higher grazing/conserved forage intakes in organic systems may be the main reason for the differences. British Journal of Nutrition

  • Fatty Acids Have Low Profile in Meat: Concentrations of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids were similar or slightly lower in organic vs nonorganic meat. Larger differences were detected for total polyunsaturated fatty acids and n-3 PUFA (23% and 47%, respectively, in organic meat). As with organic milk, feeding practices prescribed under organic farming standards may explain these differences as may differences between animal species/meat types. British Journal of Nutrition

  • Avacados are Advocated: A meta-analysis added support for avocados, a source of monounsaturated fat, for optimizing plasma lipoproteins to reduce cardiovascular disease risk. Avocado-substituted diets significantly decreased total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Substituting dietary fats with avocados vs adding to the free diet is recommended. Journal of Clinical Lipidology

  • The King of Nuts for Lipid Changes: In a weight loss intervention for overweight and obese women, insulin‐sensitive women lost more weight with a lower fat, higher carb diet than with a higher fat, lower carb diet. The most favorable changes in lipid levels resulted from a higher fat diet rich in walnuts. Journal of the American Heart Association

  • Obese Insensitive to Fat Taste: The effects of low-fat and portion control diets on fat taste thresholds, fat perception, and preference in persons with overweight or obesity were assessed. Both diets reduced weight and decreased fat taste thresholds. Perception of fat concentrations in foods was increased after the low-fat diet only. Food preference did not change with either diet. Obesity

  • Not Immune to High Fat Levels: A triglyceride-rich environment can alter blood monocyte distribution, promoting extravasation of Gr1low cells. The cells’ behavior in response to dyslipidemia highlights the significant effect high levels of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins may have on innate immune cells. Cell Reports

  • Suicide Link: A comprehensive assessment of serum lipid levels and suicide found an inverse association. Lower serum total cholesterol level was associated with higher risks: suicidality, + 112%; suicide attempt, + 123%; and suicide completion, + 85%. The findings did not explain the associations. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience

Diet is crucial in the development and prevention of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States and worldwide. Researchers have long known that fat consumption has a strong correlation with disease risk, but the latest research is producing important new findings about the roles various kinds of fats may play in causing—or preventing—this disease.

Click through the slides above for a quick reveiw of very recent studies.

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