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Friday, 20 February 2015

Junk science: the badly flawed research with lab rats that seems to support eating low fat.

Do you think it basically makes more sense to keep your carbohydrates pretty low, rather than going the familiar low fat route, to lose weight and stay healthy? If so you are in good company and the evidence is building up that it’s a better way to go.
 But there is one source of supposedly scientific information that keeps pointing in opposite direction. What happens to rats and mice in the laboratory, where results are supposedly more precise and controlled, is quite different. Feeding them on a high fat diet makes them put on weight while their blood glucose soars.
So what, you might say. Rats and mice are very different to humans, which is a perfectly sensible point. However we “sacrifice” literally millions of these unfortunate animals every year in experiments designed to find out more about the likes of cancer, heart disease, wound healing, pain and genes.
That’s because the way their bones and muscles and proteins work are similar enough to what happens inside humans to provide useful clues about the mechanisms at work in us and whether possible new treatments will be effective and safe.
So I've been wondering why the lab research suggests one of two things:
**We are so unlike rats and mice that we handle fat in a totally different way – in which case why keep on doing the studies? Even more, why keep writing about them as if they told us something useful? A recent report about a study that involved feeding a high fat diet to pregnant mice was headed:
‘Mother’s high fat diet alters metabolism in offspring leading to higher obesity risk’. Nothing in the copy about: ‘it’s only mice so don’t worry’. In fact the authors specifically calculated that the danger zone for human mums-to-be was the third trimester.
 **We are quite similar to lab rats so the way rodents respond tells us something useful about how we should be eating. But if that is true, then why are there now dozens of studies showing that high fat isn’t a problem for humans and it is low fat with all the added sugar and carbohydrates that inevitably come with it that makes us fat and sick?
I’ve been finding out about what’s actually in a mouse high fat diet and investigating the breeding history of these rodents and I think I have found an answer. You can read about it at HealthInsightUK .
It probably won’t come as a great surprise to find that it involves hiding some key facts from the public that make the trials look relevant to humans when they really aren't.


Anonymous said...

Interesting to read the comments after Jerome's original article, which you linked to.

Lowcarb team member said...

Thanks for your comment Peter - hope you drop by again. I agree it is always interesting to read comments after any article, it often broadens the horizon as the saying goes ........

All the best Jan