@globalvillage
6 months ago

Are all saturated fats bad for our health?

Which ones are bad? Are there any good ones as well?

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Let’s consult science.

Although lipids are necessary components for sustaining life on this planet, saturated fats can have quite adverse effects.

Saturated fats are becoming more prevalent than ever before as a result of food technology and demand. Something that appears to be good is, in fact, a potential threat. Sure, feel-good foods filled with saturated fats provide temporary pleasure, but in the long-run are dangerous for health and threaten optimal mental functioning.

Mouse models are being used to study the effect of saturated fats on behavior, neuroanatomy, and physiology, in order to create treatments that can be applied to humans and develop our understanding of the connection between the diet and the mind



Saturated Fats Affect the Nervous System

Now, it may be obvious that eating overly fatty foods may negatively impact your cholesterol as well as other organs. What is less evident is the fact that foods high in saturated fats will negatively affect the nervous system. In fact, emotion, cognition, and behavior are all impacted by a high fat diet (HFD) to such an extent that you can actually observe and measure the subsequent changes.

Psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety have been connected with the HFD diets and obesity. In addition to the behavioral manifestations of anxiety and depressions, obesity is associated with an increase in neuroinflammation, higher oxidative stress, and decreased neurogenesis.

To study the effect of diet on neurophysiology and behavior, scientists combine behavioral measurement tools such as maze apparatuses with molecular testing techniques such as western blots or gas chromatography.


In 2012, Sharma, Zhuang, and Gomez-Pinilla demonstrated that mice began changing both biologically and behaviorally after switching from an n-3 enriched fatty acid diet (more commonly known as the DHA-diet) to HFD. This leads to an increase in anxiety-like behaviors, changes in their stress response, and creates a decreased affinity for neuroplasticity.

To reach these conclusions and get a better understanding of the effects of saturated fats on mice, they used a wide range of tools and techniques.

Western blot tests were used to assess the proteins and molecules which were of interest to the study. A DHA-diet is linked to cognitive strength, supporting plasticity-related molecules. Thus, to test the impact of HFD upon weaning from a DHA-diet, the molecules and brain regions associated with cognition were chosen as areas of interest, namely:


  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF)
  • cAMP response element binding protein (CREB)
  • Neuropeptide Y (NPY)
  • GAP-43 protein
  • phospho-CaMKII
  • p-TrkB


These proteins and plasticity markers were measured for both the hippocampus and the frontal cortex.

Blood samples were used to assess how HFD impacts the body’s physiology by analyzing for the following metabolic markers:

  • Glucose
  • Cholesterol
  • Triglycerides
  • Uric acid

Elevated plus maze and open field apparatus were used to observe anxiety-like behaviors in the mice.

The results of the elevated plus maze were correlated with hippocampal activity. The amount of p-CREB in the hippocampus positively correlated with how many entries were made (r=0.6189; p<0.05) indicating a more explorative nature as opposed to one confined by fear and anxiety.

In addition to the hippocampus, the frontal cortex’s p-CREB proteins were also positively correlated with the distance the mice traveled (r=0.6908; p<0.001) suggesting that the neuronal system which exists between the hippocampus and frontal cortex is greatly impacted by dietary changes.


Also, BDNF concentrations in the frontal cortex and hippocampus were positively correlated with the distance covered in the open field apparatus as well as other outcomes. The increase in BDNF is important because this neurochemical is implicated in brain health, plasticity, and learning. So, having lower concentrations of BDNF concentrations in the HFD condition may account for the observable changes in cognition and behavior.


Conclusion

The impact of saturated fats is much more serious and deeper than initially believed, reaching the depths of human psychology and impacting both behaviors and mental processes.


Saturated fats can negatively impact an organism. Just 24 hours after consuming saturated fats, differences can be observed in both behaviors and neurotransmitters.


Furthermore, even a good history concerning your dietary choices isn’t enough to protect you from the effects following prolonged HFD consumption.


Animal models are being used in junction with apparatuses to study and observe behavior and then other advanced techniques are being applied to determine the molecular mechanisms.


The mechanisms observed in animal studies are slowly being translated over into human studies aiming to demonstrate just why mood, cognition, and behavior are all negatively impacted by saturated fats.




1 comment
Saturated fat is not inherently harmful. Compared to carbohydrates and unsaturated fat, it has been linked to an increase in some risk factors for heart disease, but not directly to heart disease itself. As usual, by focusing on a nutrient in isolation, we risk missing the bigger picture: what matters most is your overall diet and lifestyle.
More Explainative answer:

There is not enough evidence to directly link saturated fat with positive or negative effects on heart health. Compared to monounsaturated fat (MUFAs) and omega-6 polyunsaturated fat (n-6 PUFAs), saturated fat (SFAs) does increase several risk factors for heart disease. However, compared to n-6 PUFAs only, SFAs also reduce some risk factors. In other words, eating more MUFAs appears to have the most favorable effect on risk factors for heart disease overall, whereas SFAs and n-6 PUFAs are on relatively equal footing.

There is some evidence that, compared to monounsaturated fat, saturated fat might have a negative effect on cognition, appetite, and energy expenditure; but further research is required.

A diet low in fat (14–19% of calories) might reduce total testosterone levels by 10–15% in otherwise healthy men. Total testosterone remains within normal range, however, and the biologically active free testosterone appears unaffected. Clinical significance is not known.


I have to admit I did not know the answer to your question immediately, but wanted to find out. Googling got me to the website of the American Heart Association (https://www.heart.org/en). I know from before that cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death in many developed countries, and especially in the United States. This is due to poor diet (and also other factors such as smoking but this is not important in the context of food). According to the AHA, saturated fats are not inherently bad for you, as some intake of them is required, but in moderation. About 5% to 6% of the daily caloric intake should be from them.

So, as in all other things it is important to maintain a healthy diet and take care of your cholesterol levels.

From personal experience, as my company sends me to a yearly check up at the doctors office, it is very easy to have high cholesterol, and if you are worried about the overall state of your health, it does not hurt to to a blood analysis once a year.

I could write an essay on this topic, but this article actually covers it really well. I highly recommend giving it a read: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/saturated-fat-good-or-bad#section3

A diet rich in saturated fats can drive up total cholesterol, and tip the balance toward more harmful LDL cholesterol, which prompts blockages to form in arteries in the heart and elsewhere in the body. For that reason, most nutrition experts recommend limiting saturated fat to under 10% of calories a day.


A handful of recent reports have muddied the link between saturated fat and heart disease. One meta-analysis of 21 studies said that there was not enough evidence to conclude that saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease, but that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat may indeed reduce risk of heart disease.

Two other major studies narrowed the prescription slightly, concluding that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fats like vegetable oils or high-fiber carbohydrates is the best bet for reducing the risk of heart disease, but replacing saturated fat with highly processed carbohydrates could do the opposite.

1 comment

All that I know is Natural Saturated Fats are good for Body but artificial ones prepared are bad for heart and kidney. So keep it simple eat only natural food