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Developmental Biology - Endocrine System

Fast Food Fry Oil Linked to Obesity & Diabetes

America's most widely consumed fry oil causes genetic changes in our brains as well...

New University of California at Riverside (UCR) research shows soybean oil not only leads to obesity and diabetes, but also affects neurological conditions like Atuism, Alzheimer's disease, anxiety and depression.
Used in fast food frying, added to packaged foods, and fed to livestock, soybean oil is by far the most widely produced and consumed edible oil in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In all likelihood, it is not healthy for humans.

Cooking Oils Used in USA
Chart depicts consumption of edible oils in the U.S. for the years 2017 18.
CREDIT United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Certainly not good for mice, a new study, published this month in the journal Endocrinology, compared mice fed three different diets high in fat: soybean oil, soybean oil modified to be low in linoleic acid, and coconut oil.
The same UCR research team found in 2015

Soybean oil induces obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and fatty liver in mice.

In 2017, the same group learned that if soybean oil is engineered to be low in linoleic acid, it induces less obesity and insulin resistance.

However, in this month's study, researchers found NO difference between modified and unmodified soybean oil's effects on the brain. Specifically, scientists found pronounced effects of soybean oil on the hypothalamus, where a number of critical brain processes take place.

"The hypothalamus regulates body weight via your metabolism, maintains body temperature and is critical for reproduction and physical growth as well as your response to stress."

Margarita Curras-Collazo PhD, Associate Professor, Neuroscience, University of California at Riverside (UCR); and lead author of the study.

The team determined a number of genes in mice fed soybean oil were not functioning correctly. One such gene produces the "love" hormone oxytocin. In soybean oil-fed mice, levels of oxytocin in the hypothalamus went down.

Roughly 100 other genes are affected by a soybean oil diet, a discovery that could have ramifications for energy metabolism and proper brain function in diseases such as Autism and Parkinson's disease.
It is important to note there is no proof soybean oil causes these diseases.

Additionally, the team notes the findings only apply to soybean oil - not to other soy products or to other vegetable oils.

"Do not throw out your tofu, soymilk, edamame, or soy sauce," said Frances Sladek, a UCR toxicologist and professor of cell biology. "Many soy products only contain small amounts of oil, and large amounts of healthful compounds such as essential fatty acids and proteins."
A caveat for readers concerned about their most recent meal is that this study was conducted on mice, and mouse studies do not always translate to the same results in humans. Also, this study used male mice as the model animal. Because oxytocin is so important for maternal health and promotes mother-child bonding, similar studies need to be performed using female mice.

One additional note - this research has not yet isolated which chemicals in soy oil are responsible for the changes found in the hypothalamus. But, have ruled out two candidates:

Linoleic acid, the modified oil did produce genetic disruptions.
Stigmasterol, a cholesterol-like chemical found naturally in soybean oil.

Identifying the compounds responsible for negative effects is an important area for the team's future research. Indeed, coconut oil, which contains saturated fats, produced very few changes in hypothalamic genes.
"This could help design healthier dietary oils in the future. The dogma is that saturated fat is bad and unsaturated fat is good. Soybean oil is a polyunsaturated fat, but the idea that it's good for you is just not proven. If there's one message I want people to take away, it's this: reduce consumption of soybean oil!"

Poonamjot Deol PhD, Assistant Project Scientist, Sladek Laboratory and first author on the study.

Soybean oil consumption has increased greatly in the past half-century and is linked to obesity and diabetes. To test the hypothesis that soybean oil diet alters hypothalamic gene expression in conjunction with metabolic phenotype, we performed RNA-seq analysis using male mice fed isocaloric, high-fat diets based on conventional soybean oil (high in linoleic acid, LA), a genetically modified, low-LA soybean oil (Plenish) and coconut oil (high in saturated fat, containing no LA). The two soybean oil diets had similar, albeit non-identical, effects on the hypothalamic transcriptome, whereas the coconut oil diet had a negligible effect compared to a low-fat control diet. Dysregulated genes were associated with inflammation, neuroendocrine, neurochemical, and insulin signaling. Oxt was the only gene with metabolic, inflammation and neurological relevance upregulated by both soybean oil diets compared to both control diets. Oxytocin immunoreactivity in the supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei of the hypothalamus was reduced while plasma oxytocin and hypothalamic Oxt were increased. These central and peripheral effects of soybean oil diets were correlated with glucose intolerance but not body weight. Alterations in hypothalamic Oxt and plasma oxytocin were not observed in coconut oil diet enriched in stigmasterol, a phytosterol found in soybean oil. We postulate that neither stigmasterol nor LA is responsible for effects of soybean oil diets on oxytocin and that Oxt mRNA levels could be associated with the diabetic state. Given its ubiquitous presence in the American diet, the observed effects of soybean oil on hypothalamic gene expression could have important public health ramifications.

Poonamjot Deol, Elena Kozlova, Matthew Valdez, Catherine Ho, Ei-Wen Yang, Holly Richardson, Gwendolyn Gonzalez, Edward Truong, Jack Reid, Joseph Valdez, Jonathan R Deans, Jose Martinez-Lomeli, Jane R Evans, Tao Jiang, Frances M Sladek and Margarita C Curras-Collazo.

Funding was from UCR Committee on Research (CoR) Grants to MCC, UC MEXUS Awards to EK, MCC and MV, MARC U STAR Fellowships to GG and JV, UCR Minigrant to CH, APS STRIDE Fellowship to CH and ET, STEM-HSI (Dept. of Education) Award to EK and JR, UCR Seed grant to FMS, MCC and TJ; NIH R01 (DK053892) to FMS and a CCFA Career Award and NIEHS T32 (5T32ES018827-03) support to PD. This project was also supported by NIH award T34GM062756 (GG and JV).

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Jan 20 2020   Fetal Timeline   Maternal Timeline   News 

Fried Chicken

Soybean oil induces obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and fatty liver in mice. Specifically, scientists found pronounced effects of soybean oil on the hypothalamus, where a number of critical brain processes take place. IMAGE CREDIT Pinterest.

Phospholid by Wikipedia