The use of different types of cooking oils may distort the efforts to stay healthy and avoid illnesses such as diabetes.
Sanjoy Ghosh, a Michael Smith Health Research Foundation Scholar and a professor at UBC's Okanagan campus, has recently published research that concludes a high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) but not monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) can lead to sedentary, in fact, lazy behavior especially in women.
Ghosh says not that long ago, heart disease was linked to saturated fats--an idea that has become increasingly controversial in recent years. This thinking instigated the intentional removal of saturated fatty acids from most food supplies in favor of MUFA and PUFA.
Sources of PUFA include seeds, nuts and the oils derived from walnuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, peanut butter and peanuts, flaxseed, poppy seed and oil of avocado, olive and safflower.
For his research, Ghosh collaborated with UBC biologist and data analyst Jason Pither, the first-author of the study, to examine data from 21 countries in Europe. They worked specifically with data relating to pre-teen girls and then, in a second study, the blood glucose levels of adult women.
In putting details such as the amount of time each week spent watching TV along with other filters like a country's per capital GDP, urbanization, and even latitude, they came out with a clear connection to the consumption of n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and an increase in sedentary behavior.
In particular, a significant correlation was observed in sedentary behavior of the 11-year-old girls and PUFA in their diets.
"Our study does present new evidence that dietary PUFA is strongly associated with sedentary behavior among pre-teen girls and weakly associated with diabetes among adult women across Europe" says Ghosh, recommending for more trials and studies to confirm his findings.
"This data is extremely significant," says Ghosh. "Nobody has made this connection and it's time for an intervention. And if someone is beginning an exercise program without taking a close look at the fats, especially PUFA they are consuming, or changing what they're eating, then it might be doomed to failure."