Saturated fats to be served in radical nutrition trial

Friday, 16 May 2014

Guilt-free servings of butter and white chocolate are on the menu for participants in a revolutionary clinical trial being conducted by HMRI nutrition researcher Professor Manohar Garg.

Professor Manohar Garg

As a member of the University of Newcastle's Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Professor Garg is testing whether consuming saturated fat in combination with omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood and fish oil can be beneficial in lowering cholesterol and blood lipid levels, particularly harmful triglyceride.

He is testing his theory by comparing blood lipids in healthy individuals who consume saturated fats derived from butter and chocolate with those given omega-6 fats originating from margarine and sunflower seeds, with both groups receiving the same fish oil dosage.

As published recently in the journal Medical Hypothesis, Professor Garg has undertaken laboratory modelling and preliminary clinical testing that supports his notion that it is the quality of fat that is important in diets, not the quantity.

"Omega-3 fatty acids are well known to reduce blood lipids, particularly triglyceride levels, and by combining them with saturated fat you allow the Omega-3 fats to do their job with optimum efficiency," Professor Garg said.

"Essentially it is because you've removed the competitor, which is Omega-6 fatty acids found in vegetable oils."

"I am expecting to see reduced blood lipid levels, reduced inflammation more effectively, and reduced platelet aggregation."

The team wants to recruit people between the age of 18 and 60 with no history of heart problems or diabetes. They will be randomised to go on the four-week diet rich in either saturated fat or vegetable oil, with blood samples to be collected at the start and finish of the intervention.

"We are very excited about this study. It has immediate implications for public health so it's important we get the health message right for the prevention of obesity, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, diabetes and so on," Professor Garg said.

"It's a controversial hypothesis but once we have the evidence it won't be any more. That's what we're trying to provide – the evidence."

For trial inquiries, please contact Cintia Dias via email or phone 4921 5638.

HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.

  • Mark Rothfield, HMRI Communications
  • Phone: +61 2 4042 0590 | 0487 617 055

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