Stories tagged fat

Feb
21
2014

Is obesity in this baby's future?: It could depend on the yogurt's fat content.
Is obesity in this baby's future?: It could depend on the yogurt's fat content.Courtesy Clover_1
Last Christmas, my son's girlfriend introduced me to honey-flavored yogurt, a delicious concoction of creamy sweetness. I've never been a fan of yogurt, but I immediately fell in love with this stuff, and try to keep a container of it on-hand in the fridge at all times. I can't seem to get enough of it.

One of the reasons it's so tasty is because it's made with whole milk which makes it high in fat, and therefore will make anyone who ingests it high in fat, too. Right? Maybe not.

Two new studies seem to point to just the opposite. Several middle-aged men who participated in a Swedish study and consumed high-fat dairy products, were tracked over a 12 year period and showed much less propensity of becoming obese when compared to men who followed a low or no high-fat diet in the same study. The research appeared in the journal Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care.

In the second study involving the meta-analysis of 16 empirical studies showed that - despite working under the hypothesis that a diet of high-fat foods leads to higher heart disease risk and contributes to obesity - no evidence supporting the claim was found. Actually, according to the study which appeared in the European Journal of Nutrition, consumption of high-fat dairy products were instead associated with a lower obesity risk.

Non-fat and low-fat yogurts still command a larger portion of the market but on the organic side of the things products with higher saturated fat content is, surprisingly, on the upswing. It's unclear why that is. A previous study involving children also showed that a low-fat diet was more likely to lead to obesity.

"There may be bio-active substances in the milk fat that may be altering our metabolism in a way that helps us utilize the fat and burn it for energy, rather than storing it in our bodies," said Greg Miller, of the National Dairy Council.

Besides the newly associated weight benefits, whole organic milk also contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It's also speculated that consumption of higher fat content may lead to a greater and faster feeling of being satisfied and full, and lead to a sooner cessation of the urge to eat.

For purely scientific reasons I'll be heading for the refrigerator in a moment to see if that's the case.

SOURCE
NPR story

Aug
19
2011

An albino alligator: Imagine how creamy and awesome its fat would be!
An albino alligator: Imagine how creamy and awesome its fat would be!Courtesy Mila Zonkova
Am I right? Alligator powered trucks? Like, big ol’ trucks with alligators trotting along on treadmills? Or harnessed like vertically challenged oxen? Or with their feet sticking through the floor of the trucks, running all Flintstones-style?

Oh, wait, none of those things. Ha ha ha. My bad. Alligators will actually power trucks by being rendered into diesel fuel. Laugh out loud.

Or, at any rate, alligators could be rendered into truck-powering diesel fuel. There aren’t necessarily any plans to do so.

The idea to render alligators came from a recent study authored by researchers form the University of Louisiana and published in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. Most of the 700 billion gallons of biodiesel produced in this country each year come from soybean oil. As we increase production of biodiesel (we consume 45 billion gallons of diesel every year), some people are concerned that using soy as a feedstock will cause the price of food to increase, so scientists are on the lookout for alternative products to use for biodiesel. Alligator fat, it turns out, is pretty nicely suited to be turned into diesel—it has the right chemical composition, and requires less processing than many other feedstocks.

Are alligators taking the place of 19th century sperm whales as a living source of fuel oil, you ask? When does the scouring of the swamps begin? Weeeeell, sort of never. I know you’d like to go make your fortune by hunting alligators for their sweet, sweet fat, but the study is only proposing using fat from existing alligator farming and hunting operations. Apparently, the alligator meat industry disposes of about 15 million pounds of alligator fat every year. While processing that quantity would only make a very small dent in current biodiesel production, it’s still much more efficient than dumping it in landfills. And it’s much more hilarious.

Coming on the heals of a very successful effort to charge higher health insurance premiums to state worker who smoke (and thus leading them to quit), the state of Alabama is taking things to the next level. It's given state workers notice that they will pay higher insurance rates if they're overweight, don't get a regular check-up and don't show progress in lowering their weight. Read the full details here.

May
10
2008

You want fries with that?: A high-fat diet may be helpful for some diseases. But it’s still a bad idea to pig out on fat, grease, starch and sugar.
You want fries with that?: A high-fat diet may be helpful for some diseases. But it’s still a bad idea to pig out on fat, grease, starch and sugar.Courtesy pointnshoot

(With apologies to Woody Allen.)

Researchers in England have found that a high-fat diet is effective in reducing seizures among epileptics.

Meanwhile, doctors in Boston report that having fat around your bottom may help prevent diabetes.

*NOTE: as with all medical news, we here at Science Buzz are not qualified to give medical advice. If you suffer from epilepsy or diabetes, consult with your doctor before changing your diet. And if you do not suffer from these diseases, DO NOT use this news item as an excuse to pig out. Really, the basic fast food meal of a burger, fries and a soft drink is just about the worst thing you can put in your body, short of arsenic.

A new study finds that obesity and over-eating may be caused by the lack of one single gene. (Though there are certainly other causes as well.)

Nov
12
2007


People who are overweight stand a greater risk of dying from some diseases, but not for othersCourtesy Roger Cullman

Pretty bad. People who are overweight are more likely to die from diabetes and kidney failure than the general population. And people who are obese are more likely to die from heart disease and certain types of cancer.

These common-sense truths were reconfirmed last week by a report from the Centers for Disease Control, which analyzed decades of data from 39,000 Americans. However, the news was not all bad. For instance, obese people had the same overall mortality rate from cancer as the population as a whole. Which means that while they were at greater risk of dying from cancers that attack fatty tissues (including the breast, uterus, ovaries, kidneys, colon, throat and pancreas), they were actually less likely to die from other forms of cancer.

For folks who are overweight but not obese, the picture is even more complicated. Neither cancer nor heart disease killed this group at higher-than-average rates. In fact, researchers found lower mortality in this group for all other causes of death, including infectious diseases and accidents.

The researchers aren’t sure why this should be. One theory is that carrying a little extra fat – but not too much – gives the bodies the energy reserves it needs to fight off illness.

Another possibility is raised by the way the study defined “overweight” and “obese.” They did not measure the patients’ body fat directly, but rather used a mathematical calculation known as the Body Mass Index or BMI. This widely-used tool gives doctors a rough estimate of a person’s body fat – a number over 25 classifies a person as “overweight.” A BMI 30 or higher qualifies as “obese.”

The trouble is, BMI basically divides weight by height (with a couple other calculations thrown in for fun). The greater the weight, the higher the BMI for a given height. The problem is, people can add weight as fat, or they can add weight as muscle. Somebody who exercises a lot may be strong, healthy… and have a BMI that qualifies as overweight.

If that’s the case, then that would explain why the “overweight” group fights off disease and injury so well. Which is good news if you’re fit, but not so good news if you’re flabby.

Aug
17
2007

Yum, yum, eat 'em up!: Photo by jaboobie at Flickr.
Yum, yum, eat 'em up!: Photo by jaboobie at Flickr.
When my mother was pregnant with me she must have been eating a whole lot of junk food according to a new study published by the British Journal of Nutrition.

Researchers at the Royal Veterinary College in Great Britain discovered that pregnant rats that overindulge candy bars, potato chips and other junk food seem to pass those cravings on to their innocent and unsuspecting offspring.

So far, the study only involved rats, but I’m certain my mother is the reason I really crave Lorna Doones® and chocolate donuts.

The female rats in the study were fed either a bland yet nutritious sort of rat chow, or given access to as much tasty junk food as they wanted. The diets were continued in some rats up to birth, and through the breastfeeding period.

When the offspring were divided up, some of the group from the rat chow-only mothers was offered just rat chow to eat; the remainder of that group was mixed in with the offspring from junk food-fed mothers and given the choice of boring rat chow or delicious junk food.

The rat chow-only offspring ate the least amount of food, but for the offspring given a choice evidently too much junk food isn’t enough, especially the babies whose mothers had been fed only junk food. Their offspring preferred the empty-calorie treats and consumed twice as much food as the offspring of chow-only group.

The reason for this, the scientists think, is that the “pleasure chemicals” unleashed by the rat mother when eating high-fat foods may have some sort of effect on the brain of the fetus.

It should be reiterated that the study only has to do with rats. No such study has been done on humans, but I’ll tell, I’d probably be a good study subject. My mom still loves to ingest lots of sweets and I’m not far behind her.

Not good for one's heart: Photo by &y at Flickr Creative Commons.
Not good for one's heart: Photo by &y at Flickr Creative Commons.
Which brings me to another disturbing study, which, in my case, could also be connected to junk food.

University of Texas researchers have determined that having a pot belly –even a fairly small one- increases your risk of heart disease.

"Fat that accumulates around your waist seems to be more biologically active as it secretes inflammatory proteins that contribute to atherosclerotic plaque build-up, whereas fat around your hips doesn't appear to increase risk for cardiovascular disease at all,” according to Professor James de Lemos, the research lead. “Even a small pot belly puts us at higher risk when compared to a flat tummy."

I guess that means I either have to cut down on my junk food intake or ratchet up my exercise regimen.

"What's important is that people consider their body shape as well as their weight,” said June Davison, a cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation. “Controlling both by eating less and being more active is an effective way to reduce your risk of heart and circulatory disease”

Well, I suppose, but even exercise has some controversy attached to it.

Last week a study stated that even light exercise was beneficial.

But then this week a new study proclaims that workouts must be “tough” to be of any benefit.

Oh, the heck with it. I'm going back to the couch with a bag of donuts on my pot belly and wait for some more agreeable studies to come out.

LINKS

Cravings story
Pot belly story