You Dirty Rat!By | On Oct 04, 2012
They have been the bane of human existence for millenia. They have followed human expansion around the globe like a dark shadow. They have brought death, disease and plague. They thrive no matter what method is attempted to eradicate them. They have even survived thermonuclear detonation in the Pacific atolls. Now, finally, it seems that there is something we can use to kill off those dirty rats-our diet.
A recent study was performed in Canada. It replicated the typical “Western diet” for rats. This approach to consumption, also known as the “cafeteria diet” is a diet that is high in fat, salt and sugar. The rats were even given a choice, just like people, between nutritional food pellets or junk food items including cookies, sausage and cupcakes. Included in the junk food diet was a thirty percent sugar water solution meant to represent sugary soft drink consumption. The rats were also allowed to lounge about, without any exercise thus replicating the sedentary lifestyle of the average American.
And just like the average American, the rats opted for the fatty sweetened junk food diet. After just two months eating this way, the rats developed the equivalent of the human metabolic syndrome. This syndrome is a diabetic precursor replete with all the increased risks associated with full blown diabetes. They also developed high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol) and became obese. These rats were the equivalent of 16 to 22 year old humans.
It is simply a sad commentary that the most effective way to rid ourselves of this age old pestilence may be to let them eat what we do and see who survives. My money is on the rats.
There are caveats. The data was released as an oral presentation and many details have yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Likewise, the relationship was concurrent, not necessarily causal. Certainly food for thought, nonetheless!