The role of fat in a balanced diet is undeniable, but when consumed in excess, it can lead to various health problems. In today’s fast-paced world, the convenience of high-fat, ready-to-eat foods is leading to an increase in the consumption of saturated and trans-fats, which leads to a rise in obesity and other lifestyle diseases. A recent study conducted by researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University highlights the negative effects of a high-fat diet on the gut microbiome and metabolism, leading to inflammation, insulin resistance, and fatty liver disease. Let’s take a look at the side effects of eating a high-fat diet.
Side effects of a high fat diet
As Health Shots consulted Dr Eileen Canday, head of department of nutrition and dietetics at Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre, she explained that fat is an essential part of a balanced diet. It plays a crucial role in bodily processes like insulation, energy storage, protects our vital organs, and acts as messengers in the body, providing a feeling of satiety. But there are side effects to excess consumption of fat too. Let us take a look at them!
1. Can lead to various diseases
“If consumed in high amounts, it can lead to the development of various diseases,” says Dr Canday. It is common nowadays to consume ready-to-eat and easy-to-make foods that are often high in fat. The doctor further adds that these foods provide a quick solution to our hunger but can also have certain negative effects on our body, increasing the risk of obesity, cardiac diseases, and other non-communicable lifestyle diseases.
2. Affects your metabolism
In a study published in Scientific Reports, researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University investigated the effects of a high-fat diet on the body’s metabolism and gut microbiome. The study was conducted on mice that were fed a diet high in fat for 16 weeks, and the researchers analyzed the changes in their gut microbiome and metabolic profiles.
3. Leads to weight gain
The study found that the high-fat diet led to changes in the gut microbiome of the mice, with an increase in the number of certain types of bacteria that are associated with inflammation and metabolic disorders. The high-fat diet also led to an increase in body weight, insulin resistance, and fatty liver disease in the mice.
4. A major cause of fatty liver
Dr Canday says excessive consumption of high-fat foods can lead to fatty liver, a commonly observed condition leading to liver damage in the long run. It is important to consume an adequate ratio of fatty acids- saturated fatty acids (SFA), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) to obtain maximum benefits. Consumption of fiber plays a role in decreasing the absorption of fat in the gut and helps decrease the risk of developing plaque formation and maintaining heart health.
How to balance out the effects of high fat diet?
According to researchers, supplementation with a specific type of probiotic bacteria, Bifidobacterium breve, was able to mitigate some of the negative effects of the high-fat diet. The mice that received the probiotic supplement had less inflammation, better insulin sensitivity, and less liver damage than the mice that did not receive the supplement.
Therefore, taking direct supplements or foods with this bacteria, like yogurt, fermented milk, or fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles, and even fermented soya products like miso are good sources of Bifidobacterium breve.
Overall, the study suggests that a high-fat diet can have negative effects on the gut microbiome and metabolism, but certain probiotic supplements may be able to mitigate some of these effects. However, more research is needed to determine the long-term effects of high-fat diets and probiotic supplementation on human health.