2017-06-14 20:30:31 UTC

New Study Links Unsaturated Fats to Fatty Liver Disease

June 15, 2017

CMGH article adds new information to our understanding of metabolically unhealthy obesity.

The role of diet in “metabolically unhealthy obesity” — where obese individuals have liver steatosis, abnormal glucose tolerance and other metabolic abnormalities — is highly controversial, but important to understand in making national dietary recommendations and in counseling affected patients.

Publishing in Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology (CMGH), Caroline C. Duwaerts, PhD, and colleagues studied liver steatosis in rats treated with diets that varied in macronutrient composition (carbohydrates from starch or sucrose, and fats from oleate or palmitate) but were otherwise identical, with the same calorie content and micronutrients. Surprisingly, they found that ingestion of starch and the monounsaturated fatty acid oleate led to the worst liver steatosis and adipose tissue inflammation, and that it mimicked the effects of a high fat “western diet.”

According to CMGH Associate Editor Rebecca G. Wells, MD, “this study is important because it used fats and carbohydrates in proportions similar to the average American diet, and because it specifically tested a saturated fat (palmitate) versus a monounsaturated fat (oleate). The work adds new information to our understanding of metabolically unhealthy obesity and should lead to additional studies focusing on dietary oleate and macronutrient concentration.”

Read the full study on the CMGH website.

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