High Fat Diet Decreases Metabolism and Increases Anger and Hostility

A new study finds that saturated fat decreases metabolism and physical activity, and increases anger and hostility.



As I have written about extensively in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, a diet low in saturated fat and meat products, such as the Mediterranean diet, has been linked to a decreased risk of cancer (and cardiovascular disease) when compared to the traditional Western diet, which is rich in saturated fat and meat. Now, a new study has linked a Mediterranean-type diet, low in saturated fat, to other potential health benefits, including greater levels of physical activity, a higher metabolic rate, and, somewhat surprisingly, less angry and hostile moods. This study appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

In this prospective randomized clinical study, 32 young adults were separated into two groups. The first group used cooking oils high in saturated fat, while the second group used cooking oils low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat. After three weeks, both groups were “crossed over,” and had their cooking oils switched for an additional three weeks. (This clinical study’s “crossover” design is a powerful means of eliminating potential biases that can lead to false conclusions.) Another important aspect of this study was that all food consumed by the study’s volunteer research subjects was provided (and controlled) by the researchers. Moreover, the food provided to both groups of study volunteers was the same, and only the cooking oil differed between the two study groups.

All research volunteers were continuously assessed with regards to physical activity levels and resting metabolic rates (“resting energy expenditure”). Due to the observed differences in physical activity levels between the two groups of volunteers, the researchers also subjected study volunteers to a validated mood assessment questionnaire, to see if differences in mood might account for the significantly different levels of physical activity between the two groups of research volunteers.

The results of this intriguing prospective randomized clinical study were quite interesting. Firstly, continuous measurements of physical activity showed that the monounsaturated oil (Mediterranean-like diet) group was 12 percent more active, physically, than the saturated fat group (Western-type diet). Secondly, the resting metabolic rate of the monounsaturated oil group was almost 5 percent higher than that of the saturated fat cooking oil group, suggesting that the young adults who were consuming primarily monounsaturated fat were burning more calories at rest than the group that was using saturated fat. Finally, the monounsaturated fat group scored significantly lower on the anger-hostility scale of the mood assessment questionnaire than the volunteers who were using cooking oil containing saturated fat.

To summarize, this innovative prospective clinical research study found that a Mediterranean-like diet, low in saturated fat, was associated with increased levels of physical activity, a higher resting metabolism rate, and less anger and hostility, when compared to a Western-like diet that was rich in saturated fat. These findings add further evidence to the data that I extensively discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, showing that a Mediterranean diet low in saturated fat and meat products, and high in unsaturated oils, whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetable, fish, and poultry, is an important strategy for good health.

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.com Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

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Additional Links for Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS

Profile of Dr. Wascher by Oncology Times

Bio of Dr. Wascher at Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Dr. Wascher Discusses Predictions of Decreased Cancer Risk on azfamily.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Environmental Risk Factors for Breast Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer on talkabouthealth.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention Strategies on LIVESTRONG

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention on Newsmax

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer Risk & Cancer Prevention on The Doctors Radio Show

Dr. Wascher Discusses Lymphedema After Breast Surgery on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Hormone Replacement Therapy & Breast Cancer Risk on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Chronic Pain After Mastectomy for Breast Cancer on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy for Cancer on cancersupportivecare.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Role of Exercise in Cancer Prevention on Open Salon

Dr. Wascher Discusses Aspirin as a Potential Preventive Agent for Pancreatic Cancer on eHealth Forum

Dr. Wascher Discusses Obesity & Cancer Risk on eHealth Forum

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Dr. Wascher Discusses the Treatment of Stomach Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Management of Metastatic Cancer of the Liver on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses Obesity & Cancer Risk on hopenavigators.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Hormone Replacement Therapy & Breast Cancer Risk on interactmd.com

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Dr. Wascher’s latest video:

Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1

At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.

Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  Over the past 12 months, more than 2.8 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


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