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High fat diet causes obesity

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By David Liu, PHD

Tuesday Sept 18, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- High fat diet is linked to increased risk of obesity in humans although not all humans, obese or otherwise, agree on this notion.  A review article in the journal reveals that actually in the laboratory, high fat diets are commonly used to make rodents fat so researchers can use the obese rodents for research.

Roland Buettner of Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Regensburg in Regensburg, Germany and colleagues, the reviewers, say in their report that high fat diet feeding can induce not only obesity but also metabolic disorders in rodents that are similar to the human metabolic syndrome. That is why rodents are often used to do preliminary research on obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Buettner et al. reviewed previous studies and found high fat diets that induce obesity in rodent can have different nutrition compositions.  One important thing they learned is that animal fats and omega-6/omega-9 containing plant oils can cause obesity and insulin resistance in rodents whereas fish oil is not associated with these disorders. This is the take home message!

The review was not intended to declare to the public that eating a high fat diet can induce obesity and metabolic syndrome.  The reviewers were trying to examine if a standardized high fat diet can be used to promote obesity in the laboratory animals.  They found it unlikely for a standard high fat diet to be used for a research purpose because basically it remains unknown which diet is best for the research.

How could we prevent obesity? Many things can be done to reduce the risk.   From the current review, a high fat diet full of saturated fat and plant oil that is high in omega 6 and omega 9 should be avoided. 

Other things that can be done to reduce risk of obesity include eating a diet with a light calorie density, drinking green tea, taking curcumin supplementation and making sure your stomach has at least 12-hour resting time.  Also, eating as slowly as you can also help prevent overeating and thus obesity.

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