Tag Archives: Saturated fat

Ignore the hype: Saturated fats are still dangerous

16 Feb

It is true that dietary advice to avoid saturated fats led many people to adopt unhealthy high sugar diets. However, we should not now assume that saturated fats are good for you. Here is a good summary in The Guardian:

“There is certainly a strong argument that an overreliance in public health on saturated fat as the main dietary villain for cardiovascular disease has distracted from the risks posed by other nutrients, such as carbohydrates. Yet replacing one caricature with another does not feel like a solution.”



“High Fat Diet Consumption is Associated with Brain Inflammation”

5 Sep

Be very careful of the recent claims being made about dietary fat.

It is certainly true that diets high in refined carbohydrates are bad for our heath. And the marketing of low fat / high sugar products has been a public health disaster. But it does not follow from this that all dietary fats are safe, indeed some fats pose a risk to brain health. Here is the abstract from a paper looking at the effects of saturated fats on rat cognition:

“Diets rich in cholesterol and/or saturated fats have been shown to be detrimental to cognitive performance. Therefore, we fed a cholesterol (2%) and saturated fat (hydrogenated coconut oil, Sat Fat 10%) diet to 16-month old rats for 8 weeks to explore the effects on the working memory performance of middle-aged rats. Lipid profiles revealed elevated plasma triglycerides, total cholesterol, HDL, and LDL for the Sat-Fat group as compared to an iso-caloric control diet (12% soybean oil). Weight gain and food consumption were similar in both groups. Sat-Fat treated rats committed more working memory errors in the water radial arm maze, especially at higher memory loads. Cholesterol, amyloid-β peptide of 40 (Aβ40) or 42 (Aβ42) residues, and nerve growth factor in cortical regions was unaffected, but hippocampal Map-2 staining was reduced in rats fed a Sat-Fat diet, indicating a loss of dendritic integrity. Map-2 reduction correlated with memory errors. Microglial activation, indicating inflammation and/or gliosis, was also observed in the hippocampus of Sat-Fat fed rats. These data suggest that saturated fat, hydrogenated fat and cholesterol can profoundly impair memory and hippocampal morphology.”

See here for  a related paper.

And here is an eye opening video from Dr. Greger:

Maternal obesity linked to infant brain inflammation

6 Sep

At least in rats.

In this experiment, female rats were put on a diet high in saturated fat and trans-fats for 4 weeks prior to mating and maintained on that diet through pregnancy and lactation.

When compared to controls both the mothers and pups had significantly higher body weights and the pups exhibited brain inflammation and the problems with spatial learning.

Here is the complete abstract:

“Obesity is well characterized as a systemic inflammatory condition, and is also associated with cognitive disruption, suggesting a link between the two. We assessed whether peripheral inflammation in maternal obesity may be transferred to the offspring brain, in particular, the hippocampus, and thereby result in cognitive dysfunction. Rat dams were fed a high-saturated-fat diet (SFD), a high-trans-fat diet (TFD), or a low-fat diet (LFD) for 4 wk prior to mating, and remained on the diet throughout pregnancy and lactation. SFD/TFD exposure significantly increased body weight in both dams and pups compared to controls. Microglial activation markers were increased in the hippocampus of SFD/TFD pups at birth. At weaning and in adulthood, proinflammatory cytokine expression was strikingly increased in the periphery and hippocampus following a bacterial challenge [lipopolysaccharide (LPS)] in the SFD/TFD groups compared to controls. Microglial activation within the hippocampus was also increased basally in SFD rats, suggesting a chronic priming of the cells. Finally, there were marked changes in anxiety and spatial learning in SFD/TFD groups. These effects were all observed in adulthood, even after the pups were placed on standard chow at weaning, suggesting these outcomes were programmed early in life.”

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