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Researchers: A High-Fat Diet Could Have Serious Consequences Later In Life

November 25, 2010 by  

Researchers: A high-fat diet could have serious consequences later in lifeIn a recent study presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Neuroscience, researchers discovered that an individual who eats a high-fat diet over a long period of time may cause irreversible changes to occur in his brain.

For the research, scientists from the University of Pennsylvania fed mice a high-fat diet for six months. Previous studies have shown that fatty foods triggered the pleasure centers of the animals' brains, which is the same area associated with the internal chemical reactions related to drugs such as cocaine.

In their findings, the researchers noted that the genes involved with reward were permanently altered in the subjects' brain chemistry and that these changes could lead to other serious problems, which could include obesity.

Teresa Reyes, senior author of the study, said that "these results provide further insight into the health consequences of long-term, high-fat diets, and suggest one explanation for why some people face such difficulty in the path to weight loss and eating healthier."

Aside from maintaining a healthy diet to lose weight, individuals can engage in regular exercise and balance the number of calories that are consumed each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

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  • Lipid Cupid

    Does it matter what kinds of fat are consumed? Saturated/unsaturated etc?

    The whole field of nutrient information is so full of conflicting messags it would be nice to have some deeper insight into the chemistry of metabolism when it comes to information like this.



  • independant thinker

    One thing not covered is lifestyle. How many of those studied work behind a desk and only get an hour or two of exercise when they go to the gym. How many spend most or all of their time outside doing physical labor esp. in cold weather. This could make a huge difference in the findings. If you spend your time outside doing physical labor you are burning that fat up for energy esp. in cold weather.

    • Vigilant

      Our ancestors ate all kinds of fatty and cholesterol-laden things and suffered no adverse affects because they were physically active. Changing diet does little good unless we engage in some form of intensive physical exercise or labor.

      The anti-fat group (many of whom have vested interests in the diet food industry) see no profit in extoling the virtues of fat, such as the vital part it plays in developing and maintaining our nervous system (including, very importantly, the brain).

      The diet industry can make few entrees that are palatable unless they load them up with sugars and/or chemical sweeteners. Combine this with the ubiquitous use of high fructose corn syrup and you’ll see why diabetes and other obesity-related diseases are skyrocketing.

  • coal miner


    June 6,2010
    By Dr.Harriet Hall
    Better Health Network

    Here is what she has to say.

    They found that the consumption of processed meats, but not red meats, is associated with a higher incidence of coronary heart disease and diabetes. (Processed meats include bacon, sausage, ham, hot dogs, salami, luncheon meat and other cured meats.) The increased risk per 50 gram serving of processed meats per day was 42% for heart disease and 19% for diabetes. Unprocessed red meats were not associated with CHD and were associated with a nonsignificant trend towards higher risk of diabetes. They found no association with stroke, but this was based only on 3 studies.

    They commented that:

    “…each of these individual studies has potential limitations, and our findings should be interpreted in that context. On the other hand, this represents the most complete worldwide evidence to date of the potential effects of red and processed meat consumption on incidence of CHD, stroke, and diabetes mellitus.”

    A Large Study of Meat and Mortality

    A 2009 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, “Meat intake and mortality: a prospective study of over half a million people,” by Sinha et al., was more comprehensive in that it looked at many different conditions like cancer and cardiovascular disease, and it measured various causes of mortality as well as all-cause mortality.

    The half a million subjects were 51-70 years old and were from various geographic locations in the U.S. They filled out a questionnaire that asked about their usual consumption of foods and drinks and portion sizes over the previous twelve months. Their diets were classified as high, medium or low risk meat diets based on the amount of red meat and white meat adjusted for energy, and they were split into two groups using median consumption as cutpoints. The study was prospective: it assessed diet first and then followed subjects for 10 years and recorded deaths and causes of death.

    It concluded that red and processed meat intakes were associated with modest increases in total mortality, cancer mortality and CVD mortality.

    In general, those in the highest quintile of red meat intake tended to consume a slightly lower amount of white meat, but a higher amount of processed meat than those in the lowest quintile. Subjects who consumed more red meat tended to be married, more likely to be of non-Hispanic white ethnicity, more likely to be a current smoker, have a higher body mass index, and a higher daily intake of energy, total fat and saturated fat; whereas they tended to have a lower education level, were less physically active and consumed less fruits, vegetables, fiber and vitamin supplements.

    They found an increased risk associated with accidental deaths with higher consumption of red meat in men, but not in women. It’s hard to know how to interpret that. They found an inverse association for white meat intake: it appeared protective against total mortality, but there was a small increase in risk for CVD mortality in men.

    The overall hazard ratios for men ranged from 1.06 to 1.31 for red meat (increasing steadily by quintile of meat intake), .90 to.92 for white meat, and 1.01 to 1.16 for processed meats. The effect of red meat was greater than the effect of processed meats, which was opposite to the findings of the review in Circulation.

    They tried to correct for confounders. In the process, they found an increased risk with white meat consumption among never-smokers and commented that the reason was not readily apparent. I suspect that the reason was that if you look at a large enough number of subgroups you can always find an occasional chance correlation that is meaningless.

    Their data also showed that increased red meat consumption was correlated to smoking, lack of exercise, higher total calorie intake, higher body weight, higher total fat and saturated fat intake, lower intake of fruits, vegetables and fiber, and lower use of vitamin supplements. Could it be this constellation of factors, rather than red meat itself, that leads to higher mortality?

    They estimated that:

    For overall mortality … 11% of deaths in men and 16% of deaths in women could be prevented if people decreased their red meat consumption to the level of intake in the first quintile.

    I don’t think this can be determined from the data. They haven’t reliably ruled out all possible confounding factors and they don’t have any direct evidence that taking people with a high red meat intake and reducing their intake improves their longevity.

    What about Vegetarians?

    A recent study comparing vegetarians to non-vegetarians found that

    …in comparison with regular meat eaters, mortality from ischemic heart disease was 20% lower in occasional meat eaters, 34% lower in people who ate fish but not meat, 34% lower in lactoovovegetarians, and 26% lower in vegans. There were no significant differences between vegetarians and nonvegetarians in mortality from cerebrovascular disease, stomach cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, or all other causes combined.

    Meta-analysis of several prospective studies showed no significant differences in the mortality caused by colorectal, stomach, lung, prostate or breast cancers and stroke between vegetarians and “health-conscious” nonvegetarians.

    In vegetarians, a decrease of ischemic heart disease mortality was observed probably due to lower total serum cholesterol levels, lower prevalence of obesity and higher consumption of antioxidants. Very probably, an ample consumption of fruits and vegetables and not the exclusion of meat make vegetarians healthful.


    Epidemiologic studies based on self-reporting and recall are not the most reliable form of evidence. What are we to make of all the confusing data? The evidence is far from conclusive, but it suggests that it would be wise to limit our consumption of red meat. The evidence is not strong enough to support recommendations that we give up red meat entirely or become vegetarians.

    Aristotle said, “Moderation in all things.” Mom said, “Eat your vegetables.” They were both right.

  • smithington

    Check out a documentary called, “Terrorstorm: A History of Government Sposored Terrorism”, on Netflix

  • justacitygirl

    I say…get your hand out of the box and your food out of the fry.ya.later!!! Stick to what the earth gave us…fruits, veggies, meat/poultry, fish, grains n rice…exercise or. At least stretch everyday…demand kids get gym class in school…get out and simply walk…if they csn do it on the biggest loser, so can you!!! FYI…I’m 5’2″, 110lbs my whole life!!!


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