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High fat diet linked to obesity

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By David Liu, PHD

Saturday April 20, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study in a Chinese journal Wei Sheng Yan Jiu suggests that eating a high fat diet can increase risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes and those who love a high fat diet may be better off increasing their intake of omega-3 fatty acids.

The study led by Y. Qiu and colleagues from Fourth Military Medical University in Xi'an, China  found a high fat diet was associated with increased risk of obesity while increased intake of omega-3 fat reduced the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increased insulin sensitivity in rats.

For the study, researchers fed 40 young male rats in four groups a specific diet, common diet, or high fat diet or high fat diet with equal n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) or high fat diet with the ratio of n-3 to n-6 PUFAs equal to 1 to 4.  Body weight was measured weekly and the animals were sacrificed at 16 weeks and blood lipids, serum insulin sensitivity and pro-inflammatory cytokines were determined.

The researchers found all three high fat diets led to a significant increase in body weight.  However, rats eating high fat diet with equal amounts of omega 3 and omega 6 had similar insulin sensitivity compared with those eating common diet, much higher than those eating other two high fat diets.

Also, the rats eating high fat diet with equal amounts of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids had lower pro-inflammatory cytokines.

The researchers concluded "High dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids appears associated with a trend towards obesity risk, however, increase of the proportion of n - 3 PUFAs dietary composition effectively decreased the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, then, improved insulin sensitivity and prevented insulin resistance."

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