Dumping Fat into Your Body Can Mess Up Your Metabolism

Posted 04/11/2017 | By HealthCorps

Despite the emphasis right now on limiting added sugars, saturated fat consumption is still on the radar and not in a good way.  Saturated fat is heart-clogging fat and it also has other health consequences.  A new study links high (saturated) fat meals to rapid increase of risk of developing type 2 diabetes, obesity and fatty liver disease in overweight individuals.  A new study suggests high levels of saturated fat are bad for your metabolism and may instigate insulin resistance.

America is having a love affair with pizza, burgers and fries.  Saturated fat is present in these foods and is also found in palm oil.  The new study gave subjects with a flavored palm oil drink or a glass of water.  The amount of saturated fat in the palm oil drink was equivalent to the amount that would be found in a large portion of French fries and either two bacon cheeseburgers or two slices of salami pizza.  The researchers found that the single palm oil drink was enough to reduce insulin action in the subjects’ bodies.  That essentially means that in the moment there was insulin resistance instigated which means increased fat levels “driven” to the liver for storage.  Magnetic resonance spectroscopy also showed a change in metabolism.

The changes noted were similar to those regularly observed (through testing) in patients with type 2 diabetes and NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease).  The lead researcher of this study also participated in a separate study that suggested that binge-eating high (saturated) fat meals can increase levels of triglycerides in the body.

The researchers were pretty surprised to see that a “single drink” of palm oil – equivalent to a typical fatty meal that American consume on a regular basis – could have this type of instant, negative impact on health.  The conclusion is that consuming meals that have loads of saturated fat can in the moment, and over time, increase lipid storage in the liver and also increase insulin resistance.

To limit this nutrition-driven physiologic response, consider lowering the amount of saturated fat that you consume at any given meal.  Using healthier fat swap outs or hacks can also help.  Using olive oil, nut oils during cooking is one way to lower saturated fat.  Use hummus and mashed avocado instead of mayonnaise in sandwiches.  Use the leanest cuts of red meat, take the skin off poultry, and consume fish which has healthy omega-3 fatty acids.  Eat more plant proteins in lieu of meat-based proteins.

Quick tip: Drinking coffee daily has been shown to lower the risk of developing NAFLD.

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