Scientists say that eating more unsaturated fat, while lowering intake of saturated fat, could lead to a reduction in cholesterol and obesity-related health problems.
A study, conducted by the University of Illinois, has found that increased consumption of unsaturated fat can prevent obesity-related diseases.
Unsaturated fats can be found in a number of foods, including oils, avocadoes and nuts, while saturated fat tends to be located in animal products such as meat and dairy products.
The researchers conducting the study found that participants whose diet contained more saturated fat had higher cholesterol levels, while cardiovascular disease and weight gain were considerably more likely. Conversely, those who mostly ate unsaturated fats saw a marginal reduction in cholesterol levels.
While the decrease may only have been a small amount, the authors of study say it was enough to lower the risk of diseases related to obesity, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
“We know that metabolic health, in the context of obesity, is a transient state that may not persist over time, and these individuals are at increased risk of developing different comorbidities,” said co-author Sharon V Thompson, a dietitian and pre-doctoral fellow at the University of Illinois.
“This can be accomplished in small, simple steps, such as substituting olive oil and canola oil while cooking, and increasing one’s consumption of fish, nuts, fruits and vegetables,” said Dr Margarita Teran-Garcia, study author and nutritional sciences professor at the University of Illinois.
“These strategies could not only reduce an individual’s risk of obesity-related diseases but also help them get to a healthy weight.”