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Good Fat, Bad Fat

Posted by bmagnus On December - 9 - 2009

Two interesting studies this week on relatively fatty foods. First, mice fed a lard-based diet with 60% of their diet from fat “got worse at fighting bacteria in the blood“. While scientists expected the mice to get fat (they did), the impaired immune system was a surprise. Researcher Louise Strandberg pointed out that “Obesity is usually associated with inflammation that does not result from an infection, which simply means that the immune defences [sic] are activated unnecessarily. Ironically, the mice on the high-fat diet seem to have a less active immune system when they really need it.” It is worth noting that not all fatty diets are equal: when compared to vegetable fat or fish oil based diets, lard based diets in mice have already been linked to reduced diet induced thermogenesis (body temperature rising after eating) and impaired glucose tolerance.

In other news, pistachios are good for you. That is, even better for you than was previously thought! Scientists already knew that they are heart healthy despite the fats they contain, they actually lower cholesterol, contain anti-oxidants, and vitamin E. Of course, vitamin E is known to protect against certain cancers, but pistachios contain a form of vitamin E specifically thought to protect against lung cancer, gamma-tocopherol. Tocopherols are already thought to have some benefits for treating and/or preventing age related macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cataracts, glaucoma, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease. In addition, they are used as preservatives and in cosmetics.

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