- We clearly still have a lot to learn about dietary fat intake and health. In a new meta-analysis of studies – both observational and randomized trials – investigating the link between dietary fat intake and heart disease, the results were inconsistent. Interestingly, the evidence for increased risk with saturated fat was weak as was evidence supporting the protective effect of unsaturated fats like those found in nuts and fish. Trans fat, however, was consistently associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
Have bacon and butter been absolved? Despite the media headlines, this doesn’t mean it’s time to run out for a cheeseburger and milkshake and toss the poached salmon… the compiled studies did not show a STATISTICALLY significant association between big, bad saturated fat and heart disease BUT let’s be reasonable, folks. The meta-analysis didn’t shed any light on how much saturated fat is too much and we all know just how inaccurate dietary recalls can be. Our advice? Eat a varied diet with lots of plants and be physically active. We personally use butter AND olive oil at home, because there are just some things that need butter! We still subscribe to the notion that there are no “never” foods – moderation is key.
- Speaking of moderation, exposure to an abundance of fast food and takeout restaurants in the surrounding environment has been linked to a doubled risk of obesity. Those who saw more fast food around their home and work ate more fast food and gained more weight. Interestingly, the association was strongest for the work environment and people eating out at lunch – time to brown bag it!
- Another win for your gut microbiota! Turns out without robust gut microbiota that dark chocolate you eat for “health” might not be so healthy. Beneficial gut microbes with bifidobacteria actually ferment and transform the phenolic compounds in dark chocolate and cocoa powder to produce anti-inflammatory compounds.
- Is joint replacement a “teachable moment” for obese individuals? With obesity rates at epidemic levels, obesity-related conditions such as joint deterioration are affecting more people and at younger ages – there are over 700,000 knee replacements done every year in the US, with rates projected in the MILLIONS by 2030 because of obesity. A new study followed patients after joint replacement and found that weight loss in those who were overweight or obese showed improved clinical outcomes such as reduced pain and better function.