The influence of different fats and fatty acids on obesity, insulin resistance and inflammation

George A. Bray, Jennifer C. Lovejoy, Steven R. Smith, James P. DeLany, Michael Lefevre, Daniel Hwang, Donna H. Ryan, David A. York

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


Dietary fat and its relation to obesity has been a controversial issue for several years. In this review, several kinds of data relating to this issue are presented. There are epidemiological cross-country data and data within countries showing an effect. However, in the United States, the intake of fat appears to be declining, whereas the prevalence of obesity rises - the American Paradox. Clinical studies show that trans fatty acids can increase insulin resistance and that exercise can enhance the rate of adaptation to a high fat diet by increasing the rate of fat oxidation. The differences in response of inflammatory signals and of insulin resistance to different fatty acids indicate that not all fatty acids are the same. There are also experimental data showing that most, but not all, animals consuming a high fat diet will become obese. A number of mechanisms have been postulated for this difference, including differential sensitivities to neurotransmitters, to the intestinal peptide, enterostatin, and to individual fatty acids. One important conclusion from this review is that both total fat and individual fatty acids have to be considered when reaching conclusions about dietary fat and obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2488-2491
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Dietary fat
  • Enterostatin
  • Fat oxidation
  • Fatty acids
  • Insulin resistance
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science


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