ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

clear-night
84°
Sunny
H 92° L 74°
  • clear-night
    84°
    Current Conditions
    Sunny. H 92° L 74°
  • clear-day
    90°
    Afternoon
    Sunny. H 92° L 74°
  • clear-day
    91°
    Evening
    Sunny. H 95° L 72°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg news on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg traffic on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg weather on demand

00:00 | 00:00

Health
Which fats really are good for your heart?
Close

Which fats really are good for your heart?

Which fats really are good for your heart?
Trattore not only does wine, they also harvest and make their own olive oil. They also have their own mill.

Which fats really are good for your heart?

The standard advice about which fats are best for heart health is under debate again.

Triggering it is new research, just published in BMJ, finding that a form of omega-6 fatty acid found in vegetable oils may actually boost heart disease risk. Omega-6 fatty acids are a type of polyunsatured fat, which has generally been considered heart healthy.

The new findings could significantly alter the advice about which type of fats to eat, some experts say. The new research warrants another look at the current recommendations, says a spokesperson for the American Heart Association.

WebMD turned to the study author and other experts to sort out the findings -- and to figure out which fats to eat now.

First, a refresher course on fats:

  • Saturated fats, found in high-fat dairy, meats, and fried foods, as well as trans-fats, found in processed foods such as chips and cookies, should be limited. Experts agree they raise the risk of heart disease.
  • Unsaturated fats, in moderation, are considered heart-healthy, overall. These include monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil, nuts, and other foods. Polyunsaturated fats can be broken down into two types: omega-6 fatty acids, found in soybean oil, corn oil, and safflower oil; and omega-3 fatty acids, also in soybean and canola oil and in nuts and some fish as well.

What's the ''back story'' on omega-6 fatty acids?

While polyunsaturated fatty acids -- which include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids -- are viewed as heart-healthier fats, the information about the benefits of omega-6 fatty acids is more limited, says Christopher Ramsden, MD, a clinical investigator at the National Institutes of Health. He led the research.

Because many oils often contain both, it has been difficult to know which is healthier than the other.

The benefits of foods with both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (such as many vegetable oils)  may be due more to the omega-3 fatty acids, says Ramsden. "We suspect that omega-6 might not be as healthy as omega-3," he says.

Different fatty acids may have different effects on heart health, he says.

What exactly did the study look at?

Ramsden and his team recovered some unanalyzed data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study, conducted from 1966 to 1973. The study included 458 men, ages 30 to 59, with a history of heart attack or other heart problems.

One group was told to reduce their saturated fat intake to less than 10% of daily calories and increase their polyunsaturated fat intake to about 15% of calories. They were told to use safflower oil or safflower oil margarine, which has linoleic acid, a form of omega-6, but no omega-3 fats.

The other group received no specific instruction on diet.

What did the study find?

When Ramsden compared the two groups three years later,  the group told to boost omega-6 fats fared worse, he says.  "Death from all causes was about 65% higher, and death from coronary heart disease was about 70% higher," he says.

Even when researchers included additional data from earlier studies, they still found a possible increased risk of heart disease with higher omega-6 intakes. The researchers found a link but cannot prove cause and effect.

Why might omega-6 fats be risky for heart health?

One possible explanation, Ramsden says, is that although omega-6 fatty acids lower LDL (the ''bad'' cholesterol) overall, ''it may increase oxidized LDL," he says.

'Oxidized LDL contains free radicals, which are hazardous substances that may contribute to heart disease," he says.

Would the study findings apply only to those who have already had a heart attack, or also to others?

Ramsden can't say, as the study just included those with heart disease.

What does the American Heart Association recommend about omega-6 fat intake?

In a 2009 advisory, the AHA says that taking in 5% to 10% of calories from omega-6 fatty acids lowers the risk of heart disease. Besides vegetable oils, omega-6 fatty acids are also in nuts and seeds.

Will the new study result in the AHA taking another look?

"Certainly the results are important to consider," says Alice Lichtenstein, D.Sc., professor of medicine at Tufts University and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association." Although the association won’t be drawing any immediate conclusions for Americans, she says it ''does say we probably should be reevaluating the recommendation."

What should we do now when it comes to watching how much fat we eat?

Opinions differ.

"Stay the course," Lichtenstein says. That means ''a moderate fat intake with relatively low saturated and trans fat, and the balance of unsaturated including polyunsaturated and monounsaturated [such as olive oil]."

''People don't eat in percents," she says. "Limit animal fat, such as meat and dairy fat, and partially hydrogenated oils [or trans fats, found in baked goods and fried foods]. Use liquid vegetable oil."

For those who count their fat grams: If you eat 2,000 calories a day, total fat intake should be 56 to 77 grams, according to the American Heart Association. Most of that should come from unsaturated fats.

Ramsden and others suggest picking products with lower amounts of omega-6. To do so,  choose canola or olive oil, Ramsden says, instead of safflower or sunflower.

"The concerning foods would be oil sources of safflower, corn, and sunflower, because they have almost no omega-3 and higher levels of omega-6," says Richard Bazinet, PhD, associate professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto.

He reports research support from the International Life Sciences Institute of North America and Bunge Ltd., a food company, for studies on omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and the brain.

Another expert says to focus on the big picture. "Rather than focusing on individual fats, focus on dietary patterns that we know are associated with better heart health," suggests Sheila Innis, PhD, professor of pediatrics at the University of British Columbia.

For instance, she says, follow a Mediterranean diet pattern, known to lower heart disease risk. The diet includes olive oil as well as plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It limits meats and sweets.

Innis serves on the Unilever scientific advisory board.

SOURCES: Christopher Ramsden, MD, clinical investigator, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda.Ramsden, C. BMJ, Feb. 5, 2013 published online.Calder, P.  BMJ, Feb. 5, 2013 published online.Harris, W. Circulation, Jan. 26, 2009 published online.Alice Lichtenstein, D.Sc., professor of medicine, Tufts University, Boston; spokesperson, American Heart Association.Richard Bazinet, PhD, associate professor of nutritional sciences, University of Toronto, Canada.Sheila Innis, PhD, professor of pediatric, University of British Columbia, Canada.

© 2013 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

  • Authorities arrested a 48-year-old woman on Tuesday after she was accused of binding her 11-year-old son’s wrists, locking him in a car and setting it on fire at a Michigan cemetery, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. >> Read more trending news Deputies and firefighters were called around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday by the suspect’s 50-year-old husband, who was worried that his wife might have harmed their son. Officials learned the couple’s car was on fire at Roselawn Memorial Park in LaSalle Township. Deputies found a smoking 2014 Ford Focus at the cemetery, but neither the woman nor her son were nearby. Authorities found the pair talking to staff in a different part of the cemetery and arrested the woman on charges of attempted murder and arson. She was taken to ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital for evaluation. Her son was also taken to the hospital and later released. Authorities said a preliminary investigation found the mother bound her son’s wrists and locked him inside the Focus. She set fire to the trunk of the car as the boy struggled to get out, deputies said. “The mother later attempted to ignite a fire using gasoline inside the passenger compartment where the boy sat,” deputies said in a news release. “This fire did not ignite.” When the fire failed to catch, the woman let her son out of the car and walked away. The pair found a cemetery employee, who freed the boy from his bindings, according to authorities. Deputies continue to investigate the case.
  • 2017 is not a good year to be an airline company, especially if that company’s name is United Airlines.  Passenger and mom Emily France said her baby became overheated recently on a delayed flight as the aircraft waited on the Denver International Airport (DIA) tarmac, reports the Denver Post. The 39-year-old said that passengers waited for more than two hours on the plane despite a heat wave in the area. France recalled “hot air coming from the vents.” >> Read more trending news “We just sat and sat and sat,” she said. “I hit my call button and said, ‘I think it’s getting dangerously hot back here.'” France also said that despite requesting an ambulance, she had to wait for 30 minutes before she was allowed to leave the plane with her son, Owen. “They couldn’t evacuate us. It was chaos. I really thought my son was going to die in my arms,” France said as she criticized the airline for not being prepared to handle her situation. >> Man forcibly removed from flight after not voluntarily giving up seat Owen was treated at a children’s hospital after the incident. Doctors said he suffered from the heat but thankfully remained unaffected by heat-related medical conditions. DIA spokesman Heath Montgomery corroborated the call for an ambulance. A representative for United emailed the following statement to the Denver Post: 'Yesterday, a child onboard flight 4644 at Denver International Airport experienced a medical issue while the aircraft was taxiing prior to takeoff. The pilot returned to the gate as our crew called for paramedics to meet the aircraft. Our thoughts are with the child and family, and we have been in contact to offer travel assistance.
  • Two new cases of the human plague have been confirmed in New Mexico Tuesday, according to health officials. » RELATED: Possible plague case in Georgia  This year, New Mexico has seen three cases of the plague, the first of which was reported in early June. >> Read more trending news  All three cases required hospitalization, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. Here are seven things to know about the plague: What is it? According to Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plague is a disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis that affects humans and other mammals. » RELATED: Stray cat's plague death prompts 'fever watch'  What is the history of plague? Historians and scientists have recorded three major plague pandemics, according to the CDC. The first, called the Justinian Plague (after 6th century Byzantine emperor Justinian I), began in A.D. 541 in central Africa and spread to Egypt and the Mediterranean. The “Great Plague” or “Black Death” originated in China in 1334 and eventually spread to Europe, where approximately 60 percent of the population died of the disease. » RELATED: The 'Black Death': Are gerbils, not rats, to blame for plague?  Lastly, the 1860s “Modern Plague,” which also began in China, spread to port cities around the world by rats on steamships, according to the CDC. In 1894, French bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin discovered the causative bacterium, Yersinia pestis. Ten million deaths resulted from the last pandemic, which eventually affected mammals in the Americas, Africa and Asia. It was during this last pandemic that scientists identified infectious flea bites as the culprit in the spread of the disease. More about the history of plague. Where in the U.S. is human plague most common? Human plague usually occurs after an outbreak in which several susceptible rodents die, infected fleas leave the dead rodents and seek blood from other hosts. These outbreaks usually occur in southwestern states, particularly in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico, according to the CDC. » RELATED: Lyme disease risks could increase after mouse plague, experts warn  According to the World Health Organization, an average of five to 15 cases occur annually in the U.S. Since 1900, more than 80 percent of those cases have been in the bubonic form. Worldwide, there are approximately 1,000-3,000 cases of naturally occurring plague reported every year. More about plague in the U.S. How do humans and other animals get plague? Usually, humans get plague after a bite from a rodent flea carrying the bacterium. Humans can also get plague after handling (touching or skinning) an animal (like squirrels, prairie dogs, rats or rabbits) infected with plague. According to the CDC, inhaling droplets from the cough of an infected human or mammal (sick cats, in particular) can also lead to plague. » RELATED: Rare tick-borne illness worries some medical professionals  What are the types of plague and their symptoms? Bubonic plague (most common) Tender, warm and swollen nymph nodes in the groin, armpit or neck usually develop within a week after an infected flea bite. Signs and symptoms include sudden fever and chills, headache, fatigue, muscle aches. If bubonic plague is not treated, it can spread to other areas of body and lead to septicemic or pneumonic plague. Septicemic plague Occurs when bacteria multiply in the bloodstream. Signs and symptoms include fever and chills; abdominal pain; diarrhea; vomiting; extreme fatigue and light-headedness; bleeding from mouth, nose, rectum, under skin; shock; gangrene (blackening, tissue death) in fingers, toes and nose. Septicemic plague can quickly lead to organ failure. Pneumonic plague (least common) Pneumonic plague, which affects the lungs, is the most dangerous plague and is easily spread person-to-person through cough droplets. Signs and symptoms (within a few hours after infection) include bloody cough, difficulty breathing, high fever, nausea, vomiting, headache, weakness. If it is not treated quickly, pneumonic plague is almost always fatal. » RELATED: What is Lyme disease and how to avoid it  How is plague treated? Immediately see a doctor if you develop symptoms of plague and have been in an area where the disease is known to occur.Your doctor will likely give you strong antibiotics (streptomycin, gentamicin or others) to combat the disease. If there are serious complications like organ failure or bleeding abnormalities, doctors will administer intravenous fluids, respiratory support and give patients oxygen. How to protect yourself, your family and your pets against plague You and your family The CDC warns against picking up or touching dead animals and letting pets sleep in the bed with you. Experts also recommend eliminating any nesting places for rodents such as sheds, garages or rock piles, brush, trash and excess firewood. Other ways to protect yourself and your family include wearing gloves if handling dead or sick animals, using an insect repellent with DEET to prevent flea bites and reporting sick or dead animals to your local health department or to law enforcement officials. » RELATED: Ticks the season: How to prevent, find and get rid of ticks this summer  Pets Flea medicine should be administered regular for both dogs and cats. Keep your pet’s food in rodent-proof containers and don’t let them hunt or roam in rodent habitats. If your pet becomes ill, see a veterinarian as soon as possible. More about plague at CDC.gov.
  • Trying to turn the focus more to the actions of the Obama Administration in 2016, several Republican Senators joined President Donald Trump in criticizing President Obama’s reaction to Russian meddling in last year’s elections, saying at a hearing that the former President didn’t do enough to raise alarms about Moscow’s efforts. “He stood idly by – as we heard today – in the 2016 election,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) during a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “The Obama Administration did not take the significant actions that were needed,” added Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID). “You know, he was aware that this was going on.” The comments from GOP Senators came after a series of tweets in recent days by the President, where Mr. Trump publicly acknowledged that there had been meddling by the Russians, as he pointed the finger of blame squarely at the former President for allowing it. The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win.. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2017 The hearing represented the most direct criticism that President Obama has received in Congress on the matter. “I would call it behind the scenes, ineffective and tardy,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). “It wasn’t really until after the elections that sanctions were imposed,” Collins added. But at the same hearing, President Trump’s dealings with Moscow did not escape notice, as a key witness bemoaned the current administration’s lack of focus on Russian meddling. “The Obama Administration should have taken greater action, but the more pertinent question today is what our current President is not doing,” said Nicholas Burns, a former State Department official who served in key posts for Presidents of both parties. Burns said it was dismaying that “President Trump continues to deny the undeniable fact that Russia launched a major cyber attack against the United States.” Burns, who was a Russian expert for the first President Bush, and a NATO official for the second Bush Administration, did not spare the Obama Administration either. “We should have had a more immediate response that was painful to the Russians,” Burns said. “I think that President Obama – with hindsight – should have acted more resolutely,” Burns added. In an extended exchange, Sen. Risch tried to get Burns to lay the blame for election interference squarely on President Obama. “Who was President of the United States when that occurred?” Risch asked. “That was President Obama – as you know,” Burns said with a note of disdain in his voice, as he circled back at times to raise questions about why President Trump has said so little about Russian interference. “President Trump has refused to launch an investigation of his own,” Burns said. “He’s not made this an issue in our relations with the Russians.”
  • A fireworks recall is underway just in time for the Fourth of July. >> Read more trending news TNT Fireworks is recalling Red White & Blue Smoke Fireworks, which were sold at Walmart, Target and other stores. The product can explode unexpectedly, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. “The Blue Ammo Smoke effect could rapidly dispel from the bottom of the tube in an explosive manner posing a burn hazard,” the company said on its website. The pyrotechnics were sold in four states, Ohio, Illinois, Vermont and Wisconsin, between May and this month. The company said it is offering a refund or a replacement for those who bought the defective fireworks.