[news on fat]

Topic: Science

For those of us who struggle to keep our weight down, there have been a couple of recent news items worth noticing.

First, there was the major study of low-fat diets, which found that cutting fat had no particular effect on strokes, heart attacks or colon or breast cancer. There were concerns over some of the methodology behind the study, but it still overturns popular conceptions about fat and health.

Also important were implications of the study for obesity. High-carb, low-fat diets don’t lead to diabetes, nor do they help people lose weight. The only effect of eating more fat seemed to be to raise cholesterol, but not to a degree that increased risk.

And finally, it was found that staying on a low-fat diet was extremely difficult. But now you don’t have to.

Meanwhile, an even more startling development is the tantalizing evidence that obesity may be caused by a virus. According to CNN:

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison have found that mice and chickens infected with a common human virus put on much more fat than uninfected animals. They have also discovered that the same virus is more prevalent among overweight people, a strong indication that it may also cause obesity in humans.

We’re still a very long way from vaccines or treatments, and there may be a number of microbes involved in obesity. Still, it would be remarkable if medical science were to come up with some way of fighting obesity that was more effective than “eat less and exercise.”