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Saturated fat should be no more than 10 percent of diet : WHO

Raghu Kshitiz

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KATHMANDU — Issuing a new guidelines on Friday, the World Health Organization has said that saturated fats shouldn’t make up more than 10 percent of a person’s diet.

WHO, which is launching the initiative because cardiovascular diseases, said that the new guidelines are part of an attempt to reduce deaths from cardiovascular diseases. Around one-third of all 54.7 million deaths worldwide in 2016 were from cardiovascular diseases as per the reports.

In its first draft guidelines on fat intake, the UN health agency said to avoid piling on the pounds, both adults and children should ensure that no more than 10 percent of their calories come from saturated fat. That type of fat is found butter, milk, meat, eggs and chocolate, among other items.

“Modifiable risk factors such as unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol are major causes of CVDs,” the WHO said in a press release. “Dietary saturated fatty acids and trans-fatty acids are of particular concern as high levels of intake are correlated with increased risk of CVDs.”

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WHO said only 1 percent or less of calories should be from transfats, commonly found in baked and fried foods, processed foods and cooking oils.

Before the guidelines are approved, WHO is seeking public comment on them starting Friday, and running through June 1. An external expert group will also provide a peer-review of the guidelines before they are finalized.

In a daily diet of 2,500 calories, 10 percent comes out out to about 25 grams of saturated fat.

Among commonly-eaten foods, 3 ounces of regular ground beef contains 6.1 grams of saturated fat, fried chicken contains 3.3 grams, fried fish contains 2.8 grams, a regular slice of cheese contains 6 grams, 1 cup of 1 percent fat milk contains 4.6 grams and 1 teaspoon of butter contains 2.4 grams.

With Agency Inputs

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Vitamin D can help tackle diabetes

Raghu Kshitiz

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Boosting vitamin D — often referred to as the sunshine vitamin because it is created in our skin in response to direct sunlight — can help tackle diabetes, according to a study from the Salk Institute.

The condition is caused by faulty beta cells in the pancreas. These cells manufacture and release insulin, the hormone essential for controlling glucose levels in the blood.

If beta cells produce too little insulin, or none at all, glucose can accumulate in the blood at levels that are toxic to cells and tissues.

Researchers from the Salk Institute have reported a potential new approach for treating diabetes by protecting beta cells.

Previous studies have found a connection between low vitamin D levels and a higher risk of diabetes, but the mechanisms involved have been challenging to unravel.

The researchers found that a particular compound — called iBRD9 — boosted the activity of vitamin D receptors when they were bound to vitamin D molecules. This had a protective effect on the beta cells.

They demonstrated that, in a mouse model of diabetes, iBRD9 brought glucose levels back down into the normal range.

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When beta cells become dysfunctional, the body can’t make insulin to control blood sugar (glucose) and levels of glucose can rise to dangerous, even fatal, levels.

“We know that diabetes is a disease caused by inflammation,” explained senior author Ronald Evans adding, “In this study, we identified the vitamin D receptor as an important modulator of both inflammation and beta cell survival.”

The team accomplished this by conducting a screening test to look for compounds that improved the survival of beta cells in a dish. They then tested the combination in a mouse model of diabetes and showed that it could bring glucose back to normal levels in the animals.

“This study started out by looking at the role of vitamin D in beta cells,” said first author Zong Wei. “Epidemiological studies in patients have suggested a correlation between high vitamin D concentrations in the blood and a lower risk of diabetes, but the underlying mechanism was not well understood. It’s been hard to protect beta cells with the vitamin alone. We now have some ideas about how we might be able to take advantage of this connection.”

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The underlying process has to do with transcription the way that genes are translated into proteins. Combining the new compound with vitamin D allowed certain protective genes to be expressed at much higher levels than they are in diseased cells.

The discovery’s implications can have far-reaching implications: It identifies a basic mechanism that can be translated into drugging many different targets in the clinic.

The findings appeared in the journal Cell.

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