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Question
Posted by: Racoon | 2011/05/16

Scientific question

Dear Doc

Since the low fat diet was introduced in the 80s/90s obesity has become and even bigger problem, contrary to what one would expect. Hand in hand with the low fat diet goes an increase in omega-6 fatty acids, to the point that the ration of omega-6:omega-3 is about 12:1 instead of the healthy 2 or 4:1. this unbalanced omega-6:omega-3 even in a 20% fat diet causes glucose intolerance/pre-diabetes in rats (Development of Glucose Intolerance in Wistar Rats Fed Low and Moderate Fat Diets Differing in Fatty Acid Profile. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 2010  118(7): 434-441). Are we dieting ourselves fat??

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Racoon
I reckon the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in most western diets is closer to 30:1 than 12:1, which may well contribute to the obesity epidemic. However, I also think that the presence of so-called hormone disruptors in our water supply (all those oestrogens and organophosphate breakdown products), which then get into our food supply are also partially responsible for the pronounced increase in metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. I shudder to think what our water supply contains in SA! Then there are factors such as the reaction of the thrifty gene to diets rich in fats and sugars, the drastic reduction in physical activity and the effect of poor nutrition before birth which influences the child's future health and weight. There are many different factors that play a role in this epidemic and we may well one day discover that obesity is triggered by a virus. I don't know if you have read about the Helicobacter pylori story? Researchers discovered that certain patients who repeatedly develop ulcers and are 'resistant' to standard treatment with antacids and proton pump inhibitors, are infected with the H. pylori bacterium. It took something like 20 or more years before this finding was accepted by their peers and patients could be treated with antibiotics plus proton pump inhibitors to cure their ulcers. I would not be surprised if there is evidence of a viral agent triggering obesity, but that it is still being disregarded. We will have to wait until enough evidence accumulates. Using omega-3 supplements is a good idea because it also boosts your immune system (just in case the viral theory is true).
Nice chatting to you
DietDoc

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Our users say:
Posted by: DietDoc | 2011/05/16

Dear Racoon
I reckon the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in most western diets is closer to 30:1 than 12:1, which may well contribute to the obesity epidemic. However, I also think that the presence of so-called hormone disruptors in our water supply (all those oestrogens and organophosphate breakdown products), which then get into our food supply are also partially responsible for the pronounced increase in metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. I shudder to think what our water supply contains in SA! Then there are factors such as the reaction of the thrifty gene to diets rich in fats and sugars, the drastic reduction in physical activity and the effect of poor nutrition before birth which influences the child's future health and weight. There are many different factors that play a role in this epidemic and we may well one day discover that obesity is triggered by a virus. I don't know if you have read about the Helicobacter pylori story? Researchers discovered that certain patients who repeatedly develop ulcers and are 'resistant' to standard treatment with antacids and proton pump inhibitors, are infected with the H. pylori bacterium. It took something like 20 or more years before this finding was accepted by their peers and patients could be treated with antibiotics plus proton pump inhibitors to cure their ulcers. I would not be surprised if there is evidence of a viral agent triggering obesity, but that it is still being disregarded. We will have to wait until enough evidence accumulates. Using omega-3 supplements is a good idea because it also boosts your immune system (just in case the viral theory is true).
Nice chatting to you
DietDoc

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