Some fats can really perk up your health

December 9th, 2008 - 3:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Dec 9 (IANS) Eating saturated fats from butter, cream and meat or trans fats (unsaturated fat with trans-isomer fatty acids) found in hydrogenated oils can boost risk of heart disease, while consuming mono-unsaturated fat suits the heart.Yet what’s the effect of all these fats on our weight? Are some better than others?

“Research on animals and some clinical trials show that not all fats have the same effect on weight,” said Nadiah Moussavi, a master’s student from the Université de Montréal department of nutrition, who investigated the issue.

“Few epidemiological studies exist on the subject and the results of those are contradictory,” she said.

The goal of her work is to see whether a connection could be made between the prevalence of obesity and the various forms of fat found worldwide.

Using statistics from the World Health Organisation, Moussavi studied the prevalence of obesity in women aged 15 and older, and calculated the total amount of calories from fat for each person for each year between 1998 and 2002.

What she found was that in the countries where mono-unsaturated fats, found in olive oil, formed an integral part of the diet, no or few people were found to be overweight, a release from the university said.

Countries where the obesity rate was high and the consumption of mono-unsaturated fat low included Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Peru, while countries such as France, Denmark and Italy showed an ideal portrait - low rates of obesity with a high consumption of mono-unsaturated fats.

The situation in Canada and US appears more complex. In Canada, 22.2 percent of women aged 15 and over were obese. They consumed 147 grams of fat a day, of which 59.2 grams were mono-unsaturated.

Worse, 37.8 percent of American women were obese, and ate 152.2 grams of fat daily, of which 45.9 grams were mono-unsaturated.

“Our study shows that the consumption of mono-unsaturated fats and maybe other fats also play a role,” she said.

In her thesis, under the direction of professors Olivier Receveur and Victor Gavino, Moussavi showed that not only did trans fats lead to heart disease, they also could be associated with a higher risk of obesity.

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