High Fat Diet May Increase Macular Degeneration Risk

High Fat Diet May Increase Macular Degeneration Risk

It has been reported that a western diet is no good for macular degeneration but researchers have pinpointed, even more, the inherent threat of dietary choices on vision. Various studies looked at the effects, particularly, of high fat consumption and how it transgresses upon retinal health. It turns out that the more junk and processed food you eat, the more bad oils you consume. These oils are then broken down into stored fat which often sits in waiting until utilized by the body. However, westerners, particularly Americans, seem to consume way more of these foods causing the body to store it anywhere possible throwing off various balancing regulators like the thyroid and essential gut health. 

Recent studies show how a high fat diet may increase macular degeneration risk which over time could lead to blindness. Learn of some ways you may be harming your vision through poor or what you may think are harmless dietary choices. Also learn ways you may be able to get back on track for more optimal visual health through better, just as tasty, food selections.

Know Your Oils

Look, we all indulge in some junk food choices and the body has no problem handling these once-in-a-while treats. However, it is when these treats and other processed foods (that you may think are real food but they are not) could be compromising your sight more than you know. Knowing what oils to avoid and to choose is a good first step at mitigating macular degeneration risk.

The best and worst oils for your health include:

Bad oils

  • Vegetable oil 
  • Monounsaturated fat oil
  • Trans/Hydrogenated Fat Oil
  • Polyunsaturated fat oil
  • Linoleic acid oil

According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF),

“Higher intake of specific types of fat—including vegetable, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats and linoleic acid—rather than total fat [good fat] intake may be associated with a greater risk for advanced AMD. The foods that contain these fats are highly-processed, store-bought junk foods. Included in the study were: margarine; chocolate; commercially-prepared pie; cake and cookies; peanut butter; potato chips; French fries; and [some] nuts. The study’s 349 subjects were between 55 and 80 years old and had advanced stages of AMD [age-related macular degeneration].”

Good oils

  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Walnut oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Sesame oil

One study showed how the good oil (olive) positively affected those currently afflicted by late stage AMD. The study is described as follows, 

“Our study included 654 subjects (1269 eyes) with complete data (n = 268 eyes with early AMD and n = 56 with late AMD). After adjustment for potential confounders, regular use of olive oil was significantly associated with a decreased risk of late AMD…This study suggests a protective effect of olive oil consumption for late AMD in this elderly community-dwelling population.”

Read the ingredients on everything you consume and you could soon see how detrimental your diet just may be. Rather than ignore high fat consumption saying, “I just want to enjoy life because these foods taste so good”, flip the script and enjoy both with healthier choices offering great taste and less arthritis pain. 

Avoid a Hidden High Fat Diet

It may be hard to determine if you are succumbing to a high fat diet. Obvious choices such as fried foods, cakes, chips, etc. are easy to figure out. However, it is the other, less noticeable foods that could be sneaking in an accumulated high fat diet that may increase macular degeneration risk. 

Here are some foods to consider avoiding that you may have never considered a risk before and ways to replace them as posted by News24:

  • Mayonnaise (79 g fat per 100 g – about 6-7 tablespoons) – Replace mayonnaise with low-fat dressing or a drop of soya sauce on salads, and rather use low-fat/fat-free yoghurt or cottage cheese in sauces. Simply don’t add mayonnaise to that chicken or tuna sandwich – make the sandwich more interesting by adding herbs, black pepper and a slice of tomato.
  • Nuts (77 g fat per 100 g macadamia nuts – about ¾ of a cup) – Note that nuts should form part of a balanced diet – even though the fat content is quite high, nuts are cholesterol-free and contain good essential fatty acids. But limit your intake of nuts to a handful per week if you’re trying to lose weight. And choose lower-fat varieties, like cashews and peanuts, instead of macadamias.
  • Coffee Creamer (50 g fat per 100 g coffee creamer) – Coffee creamer is a definite no-no as it’s loaded with saturated fat. Simply don’t add coffee creamer to your coffee. Rather use low-fat or fat-free milk, or, if you don’t have a fridge, settle for milk powder.
  • Peanut Butter (50 g fat per 100 g peanut butter – about 6-7 tablespoons) –  Look for the sugar-free variety in your grocery store – while sugar-free peanut butter contains just as much fat, the kilojoules [a measure of the energy value of foods] are fewer. Limit your intake of peanut butter to four teaspoons per week.
  • Cheese (33 g fat per 100 g cheddar cheese – about ½ cup or 3 ½ ounces) – Where you can, settle for low-fat cottage cheese rather than “harder” cheese varieties, like cheddar, Parmesan and Gouda. Cut foods that contain a considerable amount of cheese, like pizza, certain pasta dishes and toasted cheese sandwiches, from your diet.
  • Red Meat (31g fat per 100 g oven-cooked beef roast about ½ cup) – While, compared to some of the other foods in this list, meat doesn’t have the highest percentage of fat, the problem is that we tend to eat greater amounts of meat at mealtimes than, say, peanut butter. Shop for lean meat (beef, game, ostrich), and include more fish and poultry (with skin removed) in your diet than red meat. Cut all visible fat off meat and don’t add any extra fat or oil to meat when you cook it. Avoid any type of meat that has visible fat, like sausage and salami.Avocados (17 g fat per 100 g avocado about 3.5 ounces) – The monounsaturated fats in avocados should form part of a balanced diet, but bear in mind that too much avo could spell trouble for the slimmer. Don’t eat more than one medium-sized avo per week – and don’t combine the avo with mayonnaise. Rather use lemon juice to add some flavor.

Keep Your Gut in Check

One of the most compromising collateral damage locations that a high fat diet affects is your gut. It is here, mostly in the large intestines, that good bacteria cohabitates with bad bacteria to create your immune system. It has been shown that a high fat diet could suppress the gut microflora and inevitably lead to disease such as macular degeneration.

In particular, high-fat diets (HFDs) are associated with development and progression of several retinal diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy. However, the complex, overlapping interactions between diet, gut microbiome, and retinal homeostasis are poorly understood.

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) found that,

“HFD consumption also triggered the expression of inflammatory and oxidative markers in rd10 retinas. Finally, a HFD caused gut microbiome dysbiosis [imbalance], increasing the abundance of potentially pro-inflammatory bacteria. Thus, HFD feeding drives the pathological processes of retinal degeneration by promoting oxidative stress and activating inflammatory-related pathways. Our findings suggest that consumption of a HFD could accelerate the progression of the disease in patients with retinal degenerative disorders.” 

Talk to your physician or naturopathic doctor to determine a probiotic supplemental protocol as well as pre-biotic foods that encourage good bacterial gut microflora.

Avoiding a high fat diet and choosing more whole, unprocessed foods is an easy way to mitigate your macular degeneration risk. In due time, your craving for processed foods will diminish as your taste buds become less “numbed” by unnecessary oils, sugars and salts. Increase your vision strength and overall health by maintaining good food choices.