GM soybean oil causes less obesity and insulin resistance but is harmful to liver function

Mouse study compares Plenish to conventional soybean, coconut, and olive oils. 

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Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have tested a genetically-modified (GM) soybean oil used in restaurants and found that while it induces less obesity and insulin resistance than conventional soybean oil, its effects on diabetes and fatty liver are similar to those of conventional soybean oil. Soybean oil is the major vegetable cooking oil used in the United States, and its popularity is on the increase worldwide. Rich in unsaturated fats, especially linoleic acid, soybean oil induces obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and fatty liver in mice. UC Riverside researchers tested Plenish®, a genetically-modified (GM) soybean oil released by DuPont in 2014. Plenish is engineered to have low linoleic acid, resulting in an oil similar in composition to olive oil, the basis of the Mediterranean diet and considered to be healthful.

The study, published (October, 2017) in Nature Scientific Reports, is the first to compare the long-term metabolic effects of conventional soybean oil to those of Plenish. The study also compares both conventional soybean oil and Plenish to coconut oil, which is rich in saturated fatty acids and causes the least amount of weight gain among all the high-fat diets tested. “We found all three oils raised the cholesterol levels in the liver and blood, dispelling the popular myth that soybean oil reduces cholesterol levels,” said Frances Sladek, a professor of cell biology, who led the research project. Next, the researchers compared Plenish to olive oil. Both oils have high oleic acid, a fatty acid believed to reduce blood pressure and help with weight loss.

“In our mouse experiments, olive oil produced essentially identical effects as Plenish; more obesity than coconut oil, although less than conventional soybean oil, and very fatty livers, which was surprising as olive oil is typically considered to be the healthiest of all the vegetable oils,” said Poonamjot Deol, an assistant project scientist working in Sladek’s lab and the co-first author of the research paper. “Plenish, which has a fatty acid composition similar to olive oil, induced hepatomegaly, or enlarged livers, and liver dysfunction, just like olive oil.” Sladek explained that some of the negative metabolic effects of animal fat that researchers often see in rodents could actually be due to high levels of linoleic acid, given that most U.S. farm animals are fed soybean meal. “This could be why our experiments are showing that a high-fat diet enriched in conventional soybean oil has nearly identical effects to a diet based on lard,” she said.

The researchers further speculate that the increased consumption of soybean oil in the U.S. since the 1970’s could be a contributing factor to the obesity epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35 percent of adults are obese. In some ethnic groups, however, such as Hispanics and African-Americans, between 42 percent and 48 percent of the population is obese. Obesity, officially designated by the American Medical Association in 2013 as a disease, is linked to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

“Our findings do not necessarily relate to other soybean products like soy sauce, tofu, or soy milk, products that are largely from the water-soluble compartment of the soybean; oil, on the other hand, is from the fat-soluble compartment,” Sladek said. “More research into the amounts of linoleic acid in these products and others is needed.” Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid. All humans and animals must obtain it from their diet.

“But just because it is essential does not necessarily mean it is good to have more of it in your diet,” Deol said. “Our bodies need just 1-to-2 percent linoleic acid from our diet, but Americans, on average, have 8-to-10 percent linoleic acid in their diets.” Deol and Sladek recommend avoiding conventional soybean oil as much as possible. “This might be difficult as conventional soybean oil is used in most restaurant cooking and found in most processed foods,” Deol said. “One advantage of Plenish is that it generates fewer trans fats than conventional soybean oil.”

“But with its effects on the liver, Plenish would still not be my first choice of an oil,” Sladek said. “Indeed, I used to use exclusively olive oil in my home, but now I substitute some of it for coconut oil. Of all the oils we have tested thus far, coconut oil produces the fewest negative metabolic effects, even though it consists nearly entirely of saturated fats. Coconut oil does increase cholesterol levels, but no more than conventional soybean oil or Plenish.”

The researchers have not examined the cardiovascular effects of coconut oil. “As a result, we do not know if the elevated cholesterol coconut oil induces is detrimental,” Sladek said. “The take-home message is that it is best not to depend on just one oil source. Different dietary oils have far reaching and complex effects on metabolism that require additional investigation.”

The study builds on an earlier study by the researchers that compared soybean oil to a high fructose diet and found soybean oil causes more obesity and diabetes than coconut oil. Next, the researchers, who found a positive correlation between oxylipins (oxidized fatty acids) in linoleic acid and obesity, plan to determine whether the oxylipins cause obesity, and, if so, by what mechanism. They will also study the effects of conventional and GM soybean oil on intestinal health.

Adapted from: Poonamjot Deol, Johannes Fahrmann, Jun Yang, Jane R. Evans, Antonia Rizo, Dmitry Grapov, Michelle Salemi, Kwanjeera Wanichthanarak, Oliver Fiehn, Brett Phinney, Bruce D. Hammock, Frances M. Sladek. Omega-6 and omega-3 oxylipins are implicated in soybean oil-induced obesity in mice. Scientific Reports, 2017; 7 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-12624-9

Nutrition Tip of the Day

Chicken, fish and beans are good choices for protein! Remove skin and visible fat from poultry. If you do eat red meat, limit it to once in a while, keep portion size small and choose the leanest cuts.

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Crab Rangoon

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Ingredients: 

Olive oil cooking spray

24 wonton wrappers

8 ounces lump crab meat

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 cup reduced fat cream cheese

1/3 cup scallions, washed and thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and spray mini muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine crab, worcestershire, curry, ginger, and cayenne.
  3. Mix with a fork, breaking up large chunks of crab, then add cream cheese, mashing with a fork until fully incorporated.
  4. Using a teaspoon, spoon filling mixture into wontons.
  5. Push each stuffed wonton into a muffin tin.
  6. Fold ends of wrappers over mixture and seal with fingers after dipping in water.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, until ends are slightly browned, garnish with scallions, and serve hot.

Adapted from Generation Y Foodie

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Persimmon Pear Salad

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Persimmons contain at least 20% of the daily value of vitamin C. These thin skinned fruits are an easy choice for salads and out-of-hand eating.

Slice 2 persimmons and 1 medium red pear into wedges. Toss 4 cups baby spinach with 1/2 cup crumbled feta; 4 tablespoons finely chopped toasted pecans; and fruit. Drizzle with 2 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 to 3 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar.

Makes 4 servings

Per Serving: 210 calories, 16 g fat (4 g sat), 16 g carbs, 250 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 4 g protein

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Tofu Ceviche

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Prep: 20 minutes

Chill: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1.5 lb. firm tofu

1/2 cup cider or sherry vinegar

1 tsp. sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 scallions, sliced

1 tsp minced garlic, 1 clove

1 bunch radishes, sliced or chopped

1 cucumber, sliced or chopped

1 avocado, cubed

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. Cut tofu into small cubes. In a large bowl, put vinegar, sugar, 1 tsp. salt and 1 cup water. Whisk to combine, then add scallions, garlic and tofu; toss gently to coat with marinade. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 days.
  2. Drain tofu mixture, reserving pickling liquid. In a separate large bowl, put tofu mixture and add radishes, cucumber and avocado.
  3. Toss ceviche with 2 Tbsp reserved pickling liquid, plus oil and 1/2 tsp pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more pickling liquid if desired. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Per serving: 265 calories, 18g Fat (2g Sat), 0mg Chol., 3g Fiber, 17g Pro., 13g Carb., 596mg Sod., 3mg Iron, 356mg Calcium

Reprinted from Health

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Sweet Potato Crisp

 

Serves: 12

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Ingredients: 

2 lbs. sweet potatoes

5 c. water

1/2 c. sugar

3 T. all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. salt

1 T. butter, cut into small pieces

Ingredients for topping:

1 c. quick cooking oats

1/2 c. all purpose or whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. butter, melted

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400. Prepare 13 X 9 inch baking dish by spraying with vegetable oil spray (not olive oil). Peel potatoes and slice 1/4 inch thick. Add potatoes and water to saucepan. Cook potatoes until crisp tender, about 8-10 minutes. Drain potatoes, reserving 1.5 c. liquid. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in separate bowl. Layer potatoes in pan, sprinkling flour mixture on top of each layer. Pour reserved liquid over potato mixture. Dot with butter. In another bowl combine topping ingredients and sprinkle topping on top of potato mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until top has browned.

Nutrition per serving:

Calories 190, Fat 5g, Saturated Fat 3g, Carbohydrates 34g, Fiber 4g, Protein 3g, Sodium 120mg

Original author: Barbara Hopkins MMSc RD LD

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Go on a grocery field trip. Use grocery shopping to teach your child about food and nutrition. Discuss where vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and protein foods come from. Let your children make healthy choices.

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Berry Delicious Stuffed French Toast with Greek Yogurt

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For the Greek Yogurt Filling

  • 6 oz. plain nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • 4 oz. Neufchatel (reduced fat cream cheese)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 10 slices Italian bread (whole wheat works as well)
  • lemon curd
  • sliced strawberries
  • blueberries
  • handful of white chocolate chips

With a hand mixer, blend the Greek yogurt, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and lemon zest until nice and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Set aside. Lay five slices of bread on a baking sheet and place 2 tablespoons of the Greek yogurt filing on each. Spread evenly and add a dollop of lemon curd. Sprinkle with berries and white chocolate chips and place a plain piece of bread on each stack. You should know have five sets of stuffed French toast ready for an egg bath.

For the Greek Yogurt Egg Bath

  • 6 oz. plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • zest of half a lemon

Heat a griddle to 300 degrees. Whisk the Greek yogurt, eggs, vanilla, and zest in a pie pan (or other flat pan). Carefully soak each side of the stuffed French toast in the egg bath. Wipe a little vegetable oil (or olive) on the griddle and then place the battered stuffed French toast on the griddle, cooking each side until golden brown (about 3 minutes per side. If the French toast is browning too quickly, turn the griddle down to 250). Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt filling and more fresh berries. Serves 5.

Reprinted from Club Narwhal 

Tip of the Day

Want to cook more at home? If you don’t usually cook, start gradually. Make it a goal to cook once a week and work up to cooking more often.

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Mustard Greens, Shrimp, and Anchovy Pasta

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Serves 4

Coarse salt

1/2 lb short whole-wheat pasta

1/2 lb medium tail-on shrimp, cleaned

1 bunch mustard greens (8 oz), stems removed, leaves torn into 3-inch pieces

3 anchovies, chopped

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Pinch red chili flakes

  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. When the pasta has just 30 seconds remaining, stir in shrimp and mustard greens. Cook until shrimp are opaque and greens are vibrant. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water, and return everything to pot.
  3. Stir in anchovies, lemon zest and juice, and oil. Slowly add pasta water to desired consistency. Season with salt and red chili flakes.

PER SERVING: 445 cals; 19g fat (3g sat fat); 120mg chol; 44g carbs; 1,660 mg sodium; 29g protein; 6g fiber

Preprinted from WHOLELIVING

Tip of the Day

Savvy take-out tactics. Stay on track with your health goals when eating out. Ask for dressings and sauces on the side so you can control how much you use!

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