A fatty acid found in abundance in olive oil and other "healthy" unsaturated fats has yet another benefit: it helps keep the body satisfied to prolong the time between meals.
A new study in the October Cell Metabolism, a publication of Cell Press, reveals that once this type of fat, known as oleic acid, reaches the intestine, it is converted into a lipid hormone (oleoylethanolamide, or OEA) that wards off the next round of hunger pangs. The researchers said it may be the first description of an ingredient in food that directly provides the raw materials for a hormone's production.
The findings in rats may yield insight into the precise dietary makeup of fat and protein for optimal hunger control, the researchers said. (Protein plays in important role in limiting hunger as well, but by different means.) The newly discovered signaling pathway might also be tapped into with drugs designed to control appetite by supplementing OEA levels or blocking its breakdown. Similarly, in conditions where people don't eat enough, the researchers speculate that treatments targeting this system might improve the appetite.
Importantly, diets high in processed foods that are riddled with saturated fats might throw a wrench into this system of metabolic control, the researchers said.
Olive oil also contains phenolic compounds which are suspected of providing additional health benefits.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2008 October 07 11:50 PM Brain Appetite|