Don’t Be a Sat-Fathead

The urban dictionary defines "Fat-Head Syndrome" as someone who acts like a blowhard. But researchers at Louisiana State University Inflammation and Neurodegeneration Laboratory have found that a diet high in saturated fat -- more than 13% of calories from sat fat -- can cause a lot more than a bad case of know-it-all-itis! It affects your brain and that leads to anxiety, memory problems and other not-so-great changes in behavior.

Working in the lab, researchers transplanted gut bacteria from mice that ate a high sat-fat diet into thin mice that ate a lowfat diet. Lo and behold, the thin mice developed brain inflammation and had behavior changes that were the same as those of their sat-fat-munching buddies.

What does this mean for you? There’s every reason to think that -- even if you’re not overweight -- eating a high saturated fat diet throws your gut bacteria way off balance and puts you at risk for body-wide inflammation. That means you’re in for heart and immune system problems, and brain inflammation that can affect your behavior and emotional wellbeing.

A moderate amount of fat is essential for your good health, but it has to be the right kind: mono- and polyunsaturated and the odd fatty omega acids 3 and 9. So aim for at most 25% percent of your daily calories from healthy fats. And make sure in a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet that no more than 2% to 6% of your calories (max 120) come from saturated fat. You’ll be healthier and happier!


At 9 calories per gram, fats can add up quickly in your diet, yet experts recommend that you get only 7% of your calorie intake from fat. Fats also affect your cholesterol, and there are both good and bad fats. The best kind of fa...

ts are called unsaturated fats, and can be found in oils like olive and canola oils, nuts and seeds. These fats can help your body get rid of cholesterol. Saturated fats often have had hydrogen added to them to make them more solid. Other saturated fats are found in cream, butter and meats. They can raise your blood cholesterol. Its wise to learn which is which and check nutrition labels to make proper choices.