Publication Detail

The impact of dietary fat on human health.

Robert Lees
28 pp.
MITSG 88-3

Almost everyone will agree that eating fish is good for you, but there is little consensus as to why. Recently accumulated evidence suggests that omega-3 fatty acids, in particular the 20 and 22 carbon omega-3 fatty acids present in high concentrations in fish oils, may be part of the healthy heart equation. The basics of normal human fat metabolism are summarized here in medical terms; the author then looks at the three major diseases to which dietary fat has been linked--cardiovascular disease, cancer, and arthritis. Reviewing epidemiological, biochemical, physiological, and pathological evidence, he concludes that the types and amounts of fat in the diet are clearly associated with heart disease, less so with cancer, and may have therapeutic effects on rheumatism and arthritis. As to health benefits of fish oils, the evidence is deemed exciting but inconclusive. This lecture served as the keynote address for a day-long seminar, "Health Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Fish Oil and Other Sources", which was held at MIT in October, 1987.

type: Workshops, proceedings, symposia

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