A high-fat diet at a young age increases the risk of diseases and diabetes

A high-fat diet at a young age increases the risk of diseases and diabetes

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Is a high-fat diet healthy?

Physicians have now found that when people between the ages of 20 and 40 eat a high-fat diet, this significantly increases their risk of many different diseases later in life.

In their current study, scientists from Qingdao University in China found that a high-fat diet in early life increases the risk of various diseases later in life. The experts published the results of their study in the English-language journal “Gut”.

Unhealthy eating changes the microbiomes

High-fat foods can reduce healthy bacteria in the intestine and even mutate them, the experts say. In particular, an unhealthy diet changes the microbiomes that break down the food ingested in the stomach. This leads to an increase in inflammation markers throughout the body. The published data fear that metabolic disorders such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke may develop in the long term.

Study had 217 subjects

Chinese physicians examined 217 healthy subjects aged 18 to 35 for the study. The researchers wanted to find out whether different amounts of dietary fat change the intestinal bacteria in healthy young adults. The scientists divided the test subjects into three different groups. The participants were then given a diet with different ratios of carbohydrates (white rice and wheat) and fat (mainly soybean oil). The fiber and protein intake was kept the same in all subjects.

How did the subjects eat?

The three final forms of group nutrition included a low-fat diet, with lipids accounting for 20 percent of the participants' energy intake. The second group received a moderate fat diet, with 30 percent of the energy intake being covered by lipids. The third group received a high fat diet, with lipids accounting for 40 percent of energy intake. All participants had to adhere to the selected form of nutrition for a period of six months.

Low fat diet led to the highest weight loss

The influence on the intestinal bacteria and inflammation markers was determined using blood and stool samples taken at the beginning and end of the study. After six months, participants in all three groups had lost weight, with those on a low-fat diet losing most weight. However, certain changes with possible long-term health effects were only seen in the samples from the high fat group.

How did nutrition affect the intestinal bacteria?

Although the total volume of intestinal bacteria had not changed significantly in the three groups, the number of beneficial bacteria that produce short-chain fatty acids, including butyrate, only increased in the group on a low-fat diet. In contrast, the number of these beneficial bacteria decreased in the group with the high fat content in their diet. This type of diet also increased the number of unhealthy bacteria found, for example, in the intestines of people with type 2 diabetes. So-called Blautia bacteria, which are associated with lower cholesterol levels, were observed in high amounts in people who adhered to a low-fat diet. Bacteroides of the genus associated with an elevated cholesterol level were more common in subjects with a high-fat diet. In addition, the high-fat diet was associated with significant and potentially harmful changes in the metabolism of fatty acids. This led to an increased concentration of substances that are thought to cause inflammation. The opposite was observed with a low-fat diet.

Were there any restrictions in the study?

Unfortunately, samples were only taken at the beginning and end of the study. More frequent sampling would have given a more complete picture of microbial changes. Since all three groups have lost weight, it is also not entirely clear whether the weight loss triggered the observed changes or vice versa. The results seem to illustrate the need to break down dietary fats, experts say. Compared to a low-fat diet, long-term consumption of a high-fat diet does not seem to make sense. The results could be relevant for industrialized countries where the fat intake is usually very high. (as)

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