Lard is pig fat and commonly used in many cuisines around the world as a cooking fat. It is an ingredient in sausages, pates and fillings.
It is known that high fat diet rich in lard can be harmful to our health. It can increase risk of obesity, inflammation and oxidative stress (a detoxification problem). One main reason of these harmful effects is the saturated fats in lard.
Saturated fats are often referred to as “bad fats”. They are not considered essential for health, and have been linked with higher levels of cholesterol in the body.
In a recent study, researchers compare the effects of high fat food rich in lard and high fat food rich in fish oil (unsaturated fats) on health. They find that the two types of oil have different impacts on the brain and eating behavior. The finding is published in Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience.
Researchers from Second University of Naples in Italy, University of Padova in Italy, and University of Naples Federico II in Italy conducted the study.
Researchers fed rats a control diet, a high fat diet containing fish oil, or a high fat diet containing lard for 6 weeks. They recorded brain functions and health conditions of rats during the time period.
The result showed that rats fed with the lard diet had higher inflammation and oxidative stress compared with rats fed with the control diet. In addition, their cognitive functions decreased and they had more difficulty to control eating habits.
On the other hand, rat fed with the fish oil diet showed no difference compared with rats in the control diet group.
Furthermore, rats in the fish oil group had lower body weight gain and insulin resistance compared with the rats in the lard diet group.
Researchers suggest that Fish oil often contains Omega 3 – PUFA, which are unsaturated fats known to reduce the obesity-related diseases. Therefore, consuming fish oil and lard can make a significant difference even eating a high fat diet.
For those who want to lose weight, it is clear that they should replace lard with fish oil. This will keep the brain function normal and help control eating behavior.
Citation: Viggiano E, et al. (2016). Effects of a High-Fat Diet Enriched in Lard or in Fish Oil on the Hypothalamic Amp-Activated Protein Kinase and Inflammatory Mediators. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 10: 105. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2016.00150.
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