Good Fats Research

 

Dietary Fat Increases Vitamin D-3 Absorption

A recent article published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that taking a vitamin D-3 supplement with a fat-containing meal improved absorption.

In this study, 50 healthy white men and women age 50 and older were randomly assigned to one of three groups: A fat free meal, a meal with a 1:4 ratio of monounsaturated fats to polyunsaturated fats (30% fat), or a meal with a 4:1 ratio of monounsaturated fats to polyunsaturated fats (30% fat). After a 12-hour fast, subjects took a 50,000 IU vitamin D-3 supplement with their assigned meal. Results showed that the taking a vitamin D-3 supplement with a meal that contains fat increased vitamin D-3 absorption by 32%, but the ratio of mono- to polyunsaturated fats did not play a role in absorption rates.

Young Parents At Highest Risk of Diet Related Illnesses

New parents may be at higher risk for chronic disease, a recent study shows. According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, new parents tend to eat more saturated fat than people who aren’t parents, placing them at higher risk for developing obesity, high cholesterol, heart disease, and Type 2 Diabetes. The lead author cites convenience foods as the primary culprit, due to the time constraints and stress of parenthood. Overall, diets of parents and non-parents remained fairly similar throughout the seven-year study, with the exception of saturated fat.

Salad dressings made with healthy oils can improve the health benefits of salads

Purdue University researchers found that the phytochemicals in vegetable salads are best absorbed with salad dressings that include good fats. Dressings made with monounsaturated fat like canola oil promoted nutrient absorption. According to the lead author of the study, the absence of fat in a fat-free dressing reduces the benefits of eating vegetables.

Mediterranean Diet in Healthy Lifestyle and Prevention of Disease

A large meta-analysis, which included more than 1.5 million participants, looked at the relationship between adhering to the Mediterranean diet (vegetables, fruits, legume, grains, fish and moderate intake of red wine with meals) and mortality (death) as well as the incidence of cardiovascular disease and chronic neurological diseases. The results show that participants who closely followed the Mediterranean diet was associated with a 9% decrease in overall mortality, a 9% decrease in death related to cardiovascular disease, a 6% decrease in the incidence of or death from cancer and a 13% decrease in the incidence of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Fat Intake May Affect Mortality After Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer

New research published in The Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine indicates that men with nonmetastatic prostate cancer who replace 10% of daily energy from carbohydrates and animal fats with healthy fats may have a reduced risk of all-cause mortality. In a prospective study of more than 4,500 men, those who replaced animal fats and carbohydrates with vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and avocados were 29% less likely to die from the spreading of prostate cancer and 26% less likely to die from other diseases.

Furthermore, those who added just one tablespoon of an oil-based salad dressing to their diet each day saw a 29% decreased risk of dying from prostate cancer and a 13% decrease risk of dying from all other causes. In contrast, a 5% and 1% replacement of carbohydrate intake with saturated and trans fats, respectively, was associated with higher all-cause mortality. Although the findings cannot be labeled as conclusive, researchers indicate that the results are promising and merit a randomized controlled trial to see just how healthy fats affect the prostate.

Saturated Fat May Promote Abdominal Fat Storage While Unsaturated Fat May Promote Lean Tissue

New research suggests that the type of fatty acid consumed may affect the body’s tendency to store fat or build muscle.

For seven weeks, 39 young, healthy, normal-weight men and women ate an extra 750 calories daily from a muffin made primarily with either sunflower oil (polyunsaturated fat) or palm oil (saturated fat). Before and after measurements of adipose and lean tissue were taken. While both muffin groups gained a similar amount of weight, the saturated fat muffin group experienced an increase in both liver and visceral fat compared to the polyunsaturated fat muffin group, as well as activity in genes that regulate metabolism, insulin resistance, body composition and fat cell differentiation. The polyunsaturated fat muffin group also saw a three-fold increase in muscle mass compared to the saturated fat group.

Although study authors say more research is needed, they indicate these results could be important for those with metabolic diseases such as diabetes, as well as the elderly for whom maintaining muscle mass is especially important.

Long Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Reduce Blood Pressure

Results from a meta-analysis show eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids (EPA + DHA) are as effective, if not more effective in some cases, as lifestyle interventions for reducing blood pressure in nonhospitalized patients who are hypertensive but not currently taking any blood pressure medications.

The study included 70 randomized controlled trials that examined the effect of EPA + DHA on both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. In all studies, compared with placebo, EPA + DHA intake was associated with significantly greater reductions in both blood pressure measurements. Seafood, fortified foods, fish and algal oil, as well as purified ethyl esters, were the most common sources of the fatty acids. Study authors stated these results are statistically significant, as well as clinically meaningful, and indicated that EPA + DHA could prevent an individual from needing to take antihypertensive medication and could help those in a lower stage of progressive hypertension control their blood pressure.

Consumption of unsaturated dietary fats can improve diabetes risk factors

In a recent study in Diabetes Care, researchers found that a low carbohydrate, high fat diet resulted in greater reduction in type 2 diabetes risk factors.

In this 24-week randomized controlled trial, 93 overweight/obese adults with type 2 diabetes were selected for one of two diets: A low carbohydrate diet [14% carbohydrates, 28% protein, 58% fat (35% MUFA, 13% PUFA)] or a high carbohydrate diet [53% carbohydrate, 17% protein, <30% fat (15% MUFA, 9% PUFA)]. Saturated fat was limited to <10% in both diets, and participants attended 60-minute exercise classes three days per week. Although both groups experienced similar results in weight loss, blood pressure and fasting blood glucose, the low carbohydrate, high fat group had greater reductions in triglycerides, greater increases in HDL-C, greater reductions in HbA1C and greater reduction in use of type 2 diabetes medications.

Oils higher in monounsaturated fat improve nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Results from a recent study in Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics found that consumption of canola and olive oil, which are higher in monounsaturated fat, improved grading of fatty liver, liver span, measures of insulin resistance and lipids in Asian Indians with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

The study included 93 males with NAFLD. Each was randomized into three groups — olive oil, canola oil and commonly used soybean/safflower oil (control group) as a cooking medium —plus each received counseling for therapeutic lifestyle changes. Researchers measured BMI, fasting blood glucose, fasting insulin levels and lipids. The results showed that olive oil led to a significant decrease in weight and BMI compared with the control group. Meanwhile, the canola oil group experienced a significant decrease in fasting blood glucose and triglycerides. This study shows that a diet which includes canola and olive oil may improve NAFLD.

 

Effect of a Low-Glycemic Diet Supplemented with Canola Oil in People with Type 2 Diabetes

A low glycemic diet supplemented with canola oil may improve glycemic control, according to a study published in Diabetes Care.

This randomized controlled trial included 141 subjects with type 2 diabetes. For three months, the intervention group followed a low glycemic diet that was supplemented with a canola oil-enriched bread, while the control group followed a high fiber diet and was given a whole wheat bread supplement. Fifty-five and 64 subjects in the intervention and control groups completed the study, respectively. Results showed that the low-glycemic group had a greater improvement in glycemic control, and the change was even greater in those who had elevated systolic blood pressure. Both groups experienced improvements in cardiovascular factors.

Purified Palmitoleic Acid for the Reduction of C-Reactive Protein and Serum Lipids

A recent research study found supplementation of cis-palmitoleic acid, a naturally occurring omega-7 monounsaturated fatty acid, benefited heart health by producing reductions in C-reactive protein, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol, along with an increase in HDL cholesterol.

In this double-blind, randomized controlled trial, 60 adults with dyslipidemia and elevated C-reactive protein were split into two groups. One group took a daily supplement of purified cis-palmitoleic acid for 30 days while the other group took a placebo. All subjects were instructed not to change their current diet during the study. Compared to the control group, the supplement group experienced a 44% reduction in C-reactive protein, 15% reduction in trigylcerides, an 8% decrease in LDL, and a 5% increase in HDL.

Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet May Reduce Stroke Risk

A new study published in Stroke found that high adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced incidence of ischemic stroke.

In this cohort study, 20,197 subjects age 45 and older were evaluated on their adherence to a Mediterranean diet. Participants received scores from 0-9, based on their adherence. Over the course of the follow up (an average 6.5 years), 565 participants had strokes (88% ischemic, 12% hemorrhagic). After adjusting for uncontrolled variables, researchers found a 21% reduced risk for ischemic stroke when comparing high (5-9) and low (0-4) adherence to the Mediterranean diet. When groups were split into high (6-9), moderate (4-5) and low (0-3) categories, risk reduction ranged from 22% to 31%. In addition, for every 1-point increase in score, there was a 5% reduction in risk. No relationship was found between adherence and risk for hemorrhagic stroke.

Young Parents At Highest Risk of Diet Related Illnesses

New parents may be at higher risk for chronic disease, a recent study shows. According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, new parents tend to eat more saturated fat than people who aren’t parents, placing them at higher risk for developing obesity, high cholesterol, heart disease, and Type 2 Diabetes. The lead author cites convenience foods as the primary culprit, due to the time constraints and stress of parenthood. Overall, diets of parents and non-parents remained fairly similar throughout the seven-year study, with the exception of saturated fat.

Adding monounsaturated fat to the diet may increase ‘good’ cholesterol

An increased intake of monounsaturated fats (MUFAs, such as canola or sunflower oils) may raise HDL cholesterol (i.e. good cholesterol) without raising LDL cholesterol (i.e. bad cholesterol). Researchers with the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto recruited patients with hypercholesterolemia (presence of high levels of cholesterol in the blood) and provided a restricted diet high in MUFAs, which included high-MUFA sunflower oil. After two months, the researchers noted the addition of MUFAs increased HDL cholesterol in patients consuming the specialized diet. Researchers concluded that cholesterol-lowering diets may be ‘significantly’ enhanced if dieters include a moderate amount of monounsaturated fat.

Monounsaturated fats can lower ‘bad’ cholesterol

Monounsaturated fats (omega-9 fatty acids) have been shown to decrease LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol while also having positive effects on HDL (‘good’) cholesterol and total cholesterol levels. Researchers at the University of Manitoba compared a diet rich in high-oleic canola oil versus a typical western diet (high in saturated fat). Participants who consumed the diet high in omega-9 fatty acid demonstrated lower total cholesterol levels, including a 7% reduction in LDL cholesterol. The authors concluded that consumption of the high-oleic canola oil was cardioprotective.

The Effect of Mediterranean Diet on Metabolic Syndrome and its Components

Metabolic Syndrome (MS) consists of multiple conditions that are risk factors for cardiovascular disease including high blood pressure, abnormal blood glucose, a high waist circumference, and abnormal blood cholesterol levels. The syndrome is increasing in prevalence along with obesity and diabetes and is becoming more of a public health concern.

A meta-analysis examined the results of 50 research studies to determine the effect the Mediterranean diet has on MS and its associated conditions. The studies compared a low fat diet, a standard diet and a Mediterranean diet, and the data show the Mediterranean diet had beneficial effects on MS as a whole and was also associated with improved waist circumference, increased HDL cholesterol levels, lower triglyceride levels, lower systolic blood pressure, and lower fasting glucose levels.

The positive effects on waistline are especially important, considering that abdominal fat tissue plays a prominent role in metabolism and the development of MS. Additionally, the benefits of adhering to a Mediterranean diet were even stronger when physical activity was added into the equation.

Replacing some oil blends with canola or high-oleic canola may lower abdominal fat

New research examined more than one hundred participants at risk for metabolic syndrome shows canola and high-oleic canola oils can lower abdominal fat when used in place of other selected oil blends in a diet for weight maintenance.

Presented at the American Heart Association’s EPI/NPAM 2013 meeting, the study indicates participants were given a calorie-controlled, heart-healthy diet with a daily smoothie containing one of five study oils. Results showed that consuming canola or high-oleic canola oils on a daily basis for four weeks lowered belly fat by 1.6%. Abdominal fat was unchanged by the other three oils, which included a flax/safflower oil blend, corn/safflower oil blend and high-oleic canola oil enriched with DHA. The data indicates that simple dietary changes, such as using a high monounsaturated fat vegetable oil, may reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and therefore, heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Saturated Fat May Promote Abdominal Fat Storage While Unsaturated Fat May Promote Lean Tissue

New research suggests that the type of fatty acid consumed may affect the body’s tendency to store fat or build muscle.

For seven weeks, 39 young, healthy, normal-weight men and women ate an extra 750 calories daily from a muffin made primarily with either sunflower oil (polyunsaturated fat) or palm oil (saturated fat). Before and after measurements of adipose and lean tissue were taken. While both muffin groups gained a similar amount of weight, the saturated fat muffin group experienced an increase in both liver and visceral fat compared to the polyunsaturated fat muffin group, as well as activity in genes that regulate metabolism, insulin resistance, body composition and fat cell differentiation. The polyunsaturated fat muffin group also saw a three-fold increase in muscle mass compared to the saturated fat group.

Although study authors say more research is needed, they indicate these results could be important for those with metabolic diseases such as diabetes, as well as the elderly for whom maintaining muscle mass is especially important.

Mediterranean Diet May Play Role in Diabetes Primary Prevention

Results from a sub-group analysis of the original PREDIMED trial show that simply adhering to the Mediterranean diet—in the absence of caloric restriction or supplemental exercise—can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

More than 3,500 people between the ages of 55 and 80 who were considered at high cardiovascular risk were randomized to follow either a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts or a low-fat control diet. After approximately 4 years of following the diets, results showed a 40% reduced risk of developing diabetes for the extra virgin olive oil diet compared to the low-fat control diet. Participants following the mixed nuts diet saw a non-statistically significant risk reduction of 18%. These results supplement those seen in the original PREDIMED trial, where both variations of the Mediterranean diet contributed to decreased risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event. Study authors concluded that a Mediterranean diet enriched with extra-virgin olive oil but without energy restrictions can reduce diabetes risk among people with high cardiovascular risk.

Linoleic acid is associated with lower total and CHD mortality

In a recent article from Circulation, dietary linoleic acid was shown to reduce the risk of heart disease when replacing saturated fat.

In this meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies, researchers focused on dietary linoleic acid, the predominant fatty acid in polyunsaturated fat. Researchers evaluated all recent studies that reported an association between omega-6 fatty acids and coronary heart disease. Final data included more than 310,000 subjects, representing 13 published and unpublished cohort studies. Results showed that for each 5% energy increase of omega-6 that replaced equivalent energy from saturated fat, there was a 9% lower risk of cardiovascular events and a 13% lower risk of coronary heart disease deaths. These data confirm that when polyunsaturated fat replaces saturated fat, the risk for cardiovascular disease decreases.

Linoleic acid (but not other n-6 PUFA) reduces risk of total and CHD mortality

New research from Circulation found that linoleic acid, the major dietary n-6 polyunsaturated fat, may lower risk of total and coronary heart disease mortality in older adults.

In this prospective cohort study, 2,792 subjects without cardiovascular disease were evaluated for total and cause-specific mortality between 1989 and 2010. Analyses included evaluations of linoleic acid, γ-linolenic acid, dihomo-γ-linolenic acid and arachidonic acid. The results demonstrated that higher linoleic acid levels were associated with a 13% lower total mortality. Other circulating n-6 fatty acids, including arachidonic acid, were not significantly associated with total or cardiovascular disease mortality.

 

Nutrient Intake and Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Neurology published a cross-sectional research study that linked a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and slower cognitive decline.

Subjects were 1219 adults age 65 and older without dementia. Researchers tracked what they ate for an average of 1.2 years before testing their blood for β-amyloid protein (indicative of plaque build-up in the brain). Of 10 nutrients examined, the only association found was with omega-3 fatty acids. Researchers found that higher consumption of this PUFA was linked with lower levels of β-amyloid, meaning these subjects had a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and slower cognitive decline.

Mediterranean Diet and Age-Related Cognitive Decline

Research published in the JAMA Internal Medicine showed that following a Mediterranean diet produced cognitive benefits in older adults.

In this study, 334 participants between the ages of 55 and 80 were randomly assigned to one of three groups: a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts, and a control diet with advice to reduce dietary fat. Participants followed this diet for four years. Cognitive testing was done prior to starting the diet and again at follow-up. Both groups on the Mediterranean diet showed improvements in cognitive function compared to the low-fat group. The olive oil group had better memory scores and those in the nut group showed the greatest improvements in executive function skills. The low-fat group showed declines in several cognitive measures.

The Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on Maternal Depression during Pregnancy

A study published in International Journal of Community Based Nursing and Midwifery found that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation was effective in improving mild depression in pregnant women.

In this double-blind clinical trial, 80 women were randomly assigned into two groups. For six weeks, one group took an omega-3 supplement of 1000 mg, and the other took a placebo. Both groups took a depression inventory before and after the intervention. Results showed a reduced depression score in both groups, but the mean difference in scores was significantly higher in the intervention group. There were no complications for mothers or infants as a result of the supplementation.

Mediterranean Diet in Healthy Lifestyle and Prevention of Disease

A large meta-analysis, which included more than 1.5 million participants, looked at the relationship between adhering to the Mediterranean diet (vegetables, fruits, legume, grains, fish and moderate intake of red wine with meals) and mortality (death) as well as the incidence of cardiovascular disease and chronic neurological diseases. The results show that participants who closely followed the Mediterranean diet was associated with a 9% decrease in overall mortality, a 9% decrease in death related to cardiovascular disease, a 6% decrease in the incidence of or death from cancer and a 13% decrease in the incidence of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Canola oil

Canola oil is an excellent source
of monounsaturated fats.