We will cover the topic of diet and the evolution of chronic inflammatory diseases later this semester. Meanwhile here is a recent press release from the University of Chicago Press:
Why some fats are worse than others
All dietary fats are not created equal. Some types of fats have been linked to ailments like heart disease and diabetes, while others, like those often found in plants and fish, have well documented health benefits.
So why do our bodies respond so destructively to some fats but not others?
A new hypothesis described in latest issue of The Quarterly Review of Biology suggests the answer may lie in how different fats interact with the microbes in our guts. According to researchers from the University of New Mexico and Northwestern University, some fats may encourage the growth of harmful bacteria in the digestive system. Our bodies have evolved to recognize those fats and launch an immune response to preempt the impeding changes in harmful bacteria. The result is low-level inflammation that, over the long term, causes chronic disease.
Read the entire piece here:
Joe Alcock, Melissa L. Franklin, and Christopher W. Kuzawa, “Nutrient Signaling: Evolutionary Origins of the Immune-Modulating Effects of Dietary Fat.” The Quarterly Review of Biology 87:3 (March 2013).
The premier review journal in biology since 1926, The Quarterly Review of Biology publishes articles in all areas of biology but with a traditional emphasis on evolution, ecology, and organismal biology. QRB papers do not merely summarize a topic, but offer important new ideas, concepts, and syntheses. They often shape the course of future research within a field. In addition, the book review section of the QRB is the most comprehensive in biology.