Lack of omega-3s can contribute to childhood obesity

omega3 acidsA lack of healthy fats can actually cause children to become overweight, according to a study published online by the Swedish Research Council.

Researchers based at the Sahlgrenska Academy at Goteborg University studied the lifestyle, dietary habits and insulin levels of a group of four-year-old children, and correlated these factors with measurements of Body Mass Index (BMI).

According to the BMI measurements, 23 percent of the children were overweight and another 2 percent were obese. Surprisingly, however, the children with the healthier BMIs actually had higher fat intake than the overweight children. The difference was that the less overweight children were consuming more unsaturated fats, omega-3s in particular.

Researchers also noted a correlation between insulin levels, weight gain, and fat consumption. The children with the highest weight gain had the highest levels of insulin in their blood. By contrast, girls who consumed the most unsaturated fats were those with the lowest insulin levels.

The direction of causal relationships, if any, was not clear. Lead researcher Malin Haglund Garemo said that the increase in insulin might actually be causing the obesity, in contrast with "the common perception that fat causes increased insulin production."

"There is no question that plant-based dietary fats actually promote healthy body weight," said Mike Adams, author of "The Food Timing Diet."

"Fat intake from flaxseeds, avocados, macadamia nuts, olive oil and other plant sources is extremely healthy and even protective against cancer, diabetes, heart disease and many other conditions. But fats from animal products are dangerous and even deadly to human health," Adams said.

Researchers found that the children studied received 25 percent of their daily calories from junk foods. Their daily fruit and vegetable intake was only 35 percent of the recommended values.

In addition to the high proportion who were overweight, 70 percent of the children were deficient in iron and 20 percent in calcium.

source - NewsTarget