All Fat is Not Created Equal

Polyunsaturated fats have been recommended for years to promote heart health. Now a new study found that they also promote muscle mass and less body fat compared to saturated fats, which promote more abdominal fat.

The study:  Thirty-nine young adult men and women of normal weight ate 750 extra calories in the form of high-fat muffins a day for seven weeks with a goal of gaining 3% of their starting weight. The participants were put into one of two groups. The only difference in the diet between the two groups was the type of fat in the high-fat muffins.

What happened:  As you would suspect, both groups gained weight. Those who ate the muffins with saturated fat gained more fat and the fat accumulated in around the organs of the abdomen. Fat in this area is known to increase the risk of heart disease and insulin resistance. Those who ate the muffins with the polyunsaturated fat gained more muscle tissue and less fat than the other group.

Importance: The study findings suggest that the fat composition of the diet, in the long term, might help prevent obesity-related disorders, like type-2 diabetes and heart disease, as well as help elderly people maintain muscle mass as they age.

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Unsaturated Fats Saturated Fats
Nuts High fat cheese
Vegetable oils High fat cuts of meat
Soybean oil Whole milk and cream
Corn oil Butter
Canola oil Ice Cream
Olive oil Palm oil
Sunflower oil Coconut oil
Walnuts  
Flaxseed  
Avocado  
Fish  
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