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Heart-protecting fat? No such thing, says study


The findings of a new study appear to refute claims that there is a ‘good fat’ that protects the heart.


In recent years, several studies have put forth the idea that there is a ‘healthy fat’ that protects the heart. Some studies have supported the ‘obesity paradox’, which proposes that obese and overweight people can have a reduced risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and heart attack.


The new review of seven previous studies, led by Peter Clifton, a professor of nutrition at the University of South Australia in Adelaide, found that losing any type of fat will lower the risk of heart disease.


“The bottom line is that any weight loss – regardless of whether it is fat or lean, backside or abdomen – reduces cardiovascular risk factors […]. For lowering cholesterol, losing leg fat is just as important as losing abdominal fat,” Clifton concluded.


The power of obesity-promoting environments


There’s a theory that it’s not just physiological factors that make some people more likely to become overweight or obese, but also social factors. These obesity-promoting environments are defined as “the sum of influences that the surroundings, opportunities or conditions of life have on promoting ­obesity in individuals or populations.”


In a study of rodents, scientists from Spain found that mice that were placed in an environment rife with opportunity for overeating adapted their behaviours based on changing food availability and, in short, developed binge-eating habits.


Mara Dierssen from the Centre for Genomic Regulation, and Rafael Maldonado from the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, reported that, “Our results revealed that long-term exposure to hyper-caloric diets impair the ability to control eating behaviour, leading to negative effects on the cognitive processes responsible for a rational control of food intake.”


Exercise vs hereditary heart problems


If your family history shows that you have a predisposition to heart disease, it doesn’t mean that you just have to accept it. The findings of a new study suggest that you should just get moving and start fighting your genes!


A study of data from half a million people in the UK showed that even if you are genetically at higher risk of heart disease, a number of factors, including greater grip strength, physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness correlated with a reduced risk for heart attack and stroke.