Fat substitutes harmful to health?

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Leipzig scientists skeptical about the effects of fat substitutes: For some people, vegetable substitute fat substances in functional foods can be hazardous to health.

(04.07.2010) Most people are familiar with the so-called fat substitutes, they can be found in "functional foods" such as margarine, mayonnaise, yogurts or spray cream. The herbal substitutes (phytosterols) are used as a substitute for animal fats. The products should then be low in calories and especially lowering cholesterol. Consumers like to use the products because they are supposed to protect the cardiovascular system at the same time. In many foods, extra phytosterols are used to make the products "healthier".

However, scientists at the Leipzig University Hospital advise caution, as phytosterols can endanger health for a proportion of the population that should not be underestimated. A scientific study was able to prove for the first time that there is a direct connection between the lipid genes that are important for the transport of plant sterols and coronary heart disease. This means that people with certain genetic predispositions are less able to excrete vegetable fatty substances. This increases the sterol level, which also increases the risk of a heart attack.

Which group of people does this apply to? According to scientists, people with blood groups A, B, and AB tend to have elevated sterol levels. People with blood group 0, on the other hand, are protected for an increased sterol level. However, only a genetic test can decide whether you belong to the risk group that plant sterols are difficult to excrete. The researchers are now advising to "be cautious" with products with phytosterol additives.

The research results of the Leipzig University Clinic are completely contrary to the general medical recommendations. Because the additives of the herbal substances are recommended by nutritionists and doctors. Phytosterols inhibit the absorption of cholesterol and are therefore often added to foods. You can often read on the packaging that they contain herbal additives that lower cholesterol.

A total of 27,000 patient data were evaluated in the study. Researchers from all over Germany and the UK were involved in the study. Study director Prof. Joachim Thiery specified: "Based on the research results, the widespread view that products with substitutes for animal fats are fundamentally beneficial to health can no longer be upheld." Research in this area should now be made more intensive.

Instead of "functional food", eat naturally and healthily. Naturopathy recommends a balanced diet made from natural products. Because if you eat a balanced diet, a piece of butter is not "bad" for the human organism. "Functional foods" are used by many people to compensate for a rather unhealthy lifestyle. The study has now shown that such unnatural additives are more likely to endanger the health of many people than to protect it. A lot of vegetables, fruit and fish as well as exercise protect the heart and circulation in the long term. (sb)

Also read:
Genetically modified soy found in chicken nuggets
Germs and bacteria found in sausages
Study: Heart Defects in Babies from Obesity
Hazardous substances in soft drinks

Image: Claudia Hautumm /pixelio.de.

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