Previous research has demonstrated that saturated fat is more fattening and less muscle building than polyunsaturated fats. A new study shows that the choice of fat causes epigenetic changes which in turn could contribute to differences in fat storage.
The so-called “muffin study” received a lot of attention when it was published in 2014. In this study, the participants had eaten three muffins a day, on average, for a period of seven weeks. Half of the muffins had been baked using saturated fat (palm oil) and the other half using polyunsaturated fat (sunflower oil). The carbohydrate and protein content was the same in each muffin, the only difference between them was the type of fat.
In a collaboration with the person in charge of the major muffin study, associate professor Ulf Risérus at Uppsala University in Sweden, professor Charlotte Ling at Lund University, Sweden, has now studied the epigenetic changes in the study participants’ fat tissue, through biopsies taken before and after the project. The results show that the epigenetic pattern in more than 3 000 genes (out of approximately 25 000 that exists in a human being) had changed differentially, depending on whether the participants had eaten saturated fat or polyunsaturated fat.
“We believe that the discovered epigenetic changes, depending on the type of fat they ate, could contribute to the difference in fat storage, in which saturated fat has a more negative impact”, says Charlotte Ling.
[Read the full study here.]
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