Washington: Some types of fats have been linked to ailments like heart disease and diabetes, while others, like those often found in plants and fish, have well documented health benefits. So why do our bodies respond so destructively to some fats but not others? The answer may lie in how different fats interact with the microbes in our guts, according to researchers from the University of New Mexico and Northwestern University.They assumed that some fats might encourage the growth of harmful bacteria in the digestive system. Our bodies have evolved to recognize those fats and launch an immune response to pre-empt the impeding changes in harmful bacteria. The result is low-level inflammation that, over the long term, causes chronic disease. “Although the inflammatory effects of [fats] are well documented, it is less well appreciated that they also influence bacterial survival and proliferation in the gastrointestinal tract,” said the researchers, led by Joe Alcock, of the University of New Mexico Department of Emergency Medicine and VA Medical Center. Some fats—mostly unsaturated fats—actually have strong antimicrobial properties. They react chemically with bacterial cell membranes, weakening them.
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