Overfeeding of Polyunsaturated Versus Saturated Fatty Acids Reduces Ectopic Fat

  1. Ronald M. Krauss2
  1. 1Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA
  2. 2Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Oakland, CA
  1. Corresponding author: George A. Bray, brayga{at}pbrc.edu.

Obesity is a worldwide problem that leads to a number of chronic conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, and some cancers (1). Obesity results from the slow and steady accumulation of fat as a consequence of eating more carbon-containing compounds in foods than are needed for daily energy expenditure. The effects of obesity are exacerbated in the presence of fat accumulation in the liver, muscle, visceral fat depot, and other organs (2). The mechanisms for ectopic fat accumulation reflect many factors, including genetics, inflammation, dietary fat, fructose, and positive energy balance among others.

The question of whether obesity or ectopic fat accumulation during ingestion of excess calories is influenced differentially by diet has been an intriguing question for more than 100 years (3,4). In this issue, the article by Rosqvist et al. (5) adds another dimension to our understanding of overeating and fat accumulation. The investigators asked whether overeating with a diet with additional polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) would reduce formation of ectopic fat compared with overeating with a diet high in saturated fatty acids (SFA). Their study included 39 normal, but very lean, young men and women, 37 of whom were included in the analyses. For 7 weeks, participants ate muffins enriched with either SFA, as palm …

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