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Food: Less fat, this year's other big resolution?

Food: Less fat, this year's other big resolution?

Studies estimate this

People in rich countries get approximately 40% of their calories from fat.

The authors specify here that if little fat is needed in the diet, these fatty acids should not exceed 10 to 15% of the daily intake.

the study It stands out from previous research on the effects of high-fat diets, as it reproduces in mice these types of Western diets high in saturated fat: model animals were fed three different diets over a 24-week period, in which at least 40% of Calories come from fat. At the end of these 24 weeks, the researchers examined not only the microbiome, but also the genetic changes that occur in different parts of the intestine. The three systems were as follows:

  1. A diet based on saturated fats from coconut oil,
  2. A diet based on monounsaturated fats from modified soybean oil,
  3. A diet based on polyunsaturated fats from unmodified soybean oil.

The analysis indicates that compared to a diet low in fatty acids,

  • All three groups show changes in gene expression, the process that converts genetic information into proteins;
  • A diet high in fat, even from plants, also leads to these types of changes;
  • Significant changes in genes associated with fat metabolism and the composition of intestinal bacteria: For example, researchers observed an increase in pathogenic Escherichia coli and suppression of Bacteroidetes, a family of bacteria that helps protect the body from pathogens;
  • Alterations in genes that regulate susceptibility to infectious diseases: i.e. a decrease in certain pattern recognition genes, which normally recognize infectious bacteria;
  • Cytokine signaling genes that normally contribute to the control of inflammation are also reduced;
  • In other words, these diets alter the genes of the host's immune system and also create an environment conducive to the growth of harmful intestinal bacteria;
  • These three high-fat diets increase the expression of ACE2 and other proteins that the Covid spike proteins use to enter and infect the body;
  • These three high-fat diets increase stem cells in the colon that can be precursors to cancer.
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What about soybean oil? The same team had previously investigated the relationship between soybean oil and obesity and diabetes, which are now well-documented major risk factors for the coronavirus. New research reveals that:

  • The negative changes observed in the microbiome appeared to be more pronounced in mice fed a diet containing soybean oil.
  • Note, in 2015, the team showed that soybean oil causes obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance and fatty liver in mice. In 2020, the team showed that the same oil can also affect genes in the brain associated with diseases such as autism, Alzheimer's, anxiety and depression.
  • The authors explain that these effects apply only to soybean oil and not to other soy products, tofu, or soybeans themselves.

What about coconut oil? In terms of the strength of effects on gene expression, coconut oil caused the largest number of changes, followed by unmodified soybean oil. The differences between the two soybean oils suggest that the polyunsaturated fatty acids found in unmodified soybean oil, especially linoleic acid, play a role in altering gene expression.

While humans and mice share 97.5% of their functional DNA, although these findings need to be validated in humans, It's worrying, as high-fat diets continue to grow in popularity around the world, and soybean oil is one of the most consumed oils in many countries, including the United States, Brazil, China and India.