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The 2009 Summary Statement from the International Expert Meeting (IEM) entitled "Health Significance of Fat Quality of the Diet" recommends reducing the intake of both saturated and trans fats from foods like butter, whole milk, high-fat cheeses and meats, and palm and coconut oil by switching to sources containing unsaturated fats such as those found in fatty fish, nuts, seeds, canola oil, soybean oil, olive oil, and products made from these vegetable oils such as soft spreads and mayonnaise.
inform May 2009, Vol. 20 (5) 303 that inhibit the liver from making choles- liver, that medicine goes to the brain, too. be worthwhile to carry out an epidemio- terol may also keep the brain from making And then it reduces the synthesis of cho- logical study on the rate of occurrence of cholesterol, which is vital to efficient brain lesterol which is necessary in the brain,” various amyloid-related diseases in a popu- function. said Shin. lation regularly consuming natto,” the sci- “If you deprive cholesterol from the In his experiments, Shin tested the entists say. brain, then you directly affect the machin- activity of the neurotransmitter-release ery that triggers the release of neurotrans- machinery from brain cells without choles- mitters,” said Shin. “Neurotransmitters terol present and measured how well the affect the data-processing and memory machinery functioned. He then included functions. In other words—how smart you cholesterol in the system and again mea- are and how well you remember things.” sured the protein function. Cholesterol Shin’s findings appeared online ahead increased protein function by five times. of print in the Proceedings of the National “Our study shows there is a direct link Academy of Sciences of the United States of between cholesterol and the neurotrans- America (doi:10.1073/pnas.0813138106). mitter release,” said Shin. “And we know Cholesterol is one of the building exactly the molecular mechanics of what blocks of cells and is made in the liver. Low- happens in the cells. Cholesterol changes density lipoprotein (LDL)—often referred the shape of the protein to stimulate think- to as “bad” cholesterol—transports choles- ing and memory.” terol from the liver to peripheral tissues. High-density lipoprotein (HDL)—the so- called “good” cholesterol—is believed to Natto and reduce fatty deposits and to carry choles- terol back to the liver. In brief: Too much Alzheimer’s disease LDL going to cells and not enough being A soy food renowned in Asia for its ability removed can lead to cholesterol deposits to protect against heart attacks also shows and hardening of the cells. a powerful ability in laboratory experi- “If you have too much cholesterol, ments to prevent formation of the clumps Fat quality in the your internal machinery is not going to be of tangled protein, or amyloids, involved in able to take away enough cholesterol from Alzheimer’s disease, scientists in Taiwan the cells,” said Shin. “Then cells harden and you can get these deposits.” are reporting. Their study appeared in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemis- diet Cholesterol-reducing statin drugs are try (57:503–508, 2009). Forty of the world’s leaders in diet, nutri- helpful because they keep the liver from Rita P.Y. Chen and colleagues point tion, and health have issued a consensus synthesizing cholesterol, so less of the sub-
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