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Mississippi Chemists Say Gulf Seafood Can Fight Obesity and Disease

By Rhonda Miller | Published 03 May 2011 04:01pm | comments
Chemists Judy and Tom Lytle discuss "The Obesity Epidemic" and other health topics related to their research on seafood. The Science Cafe session was at USM Long Beach.

Scientists have found seafood helps fight obesity and other health problems. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports Gulf Coast chemists say Mississippi may be the fattest state, but the way to better health is in our own waters.

Chemist Judy Lytle is a Professor Emeritus at Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs. At a recent workshop in Long Beach, titled 'The Science Behind Obesity, Disease and Good Health,' Lytle explained not all fats are bad.

"They’re essential. Polyunsaturated fats, both the omega-6 family and the omega-3 family, you must get them in the diet," said Lytle, who said good health is about balance.

"The problem is the American diet has become overwhelmingly loaded with omega-6, which are the inflammatory fatty acids," Lytle said.

Put simply, Lytle said the inflammation of internal body systems throws everything out of balance and causes illness.

Judy and her husband, chemist Tom Lytle, knew about research proving the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in cold water fish, such as salmon. So they studied 45 species of warm water fish found in the Gulf of Mexico. Their research project came to this conclusion - all Gulf fish are valuable sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Twenty-four- year-old Deidre Rider said the workshop will change her eating habits.

"The eating of more fish, even though it’s more expensive. I eat red meat all the time. I think I’ll definitely to go more toward the omega-3s," Rider said.

The message is: Don’t worry about chemistry. Just be active, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and eat more seafood.

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Chemists Judy and Tom Lytle discuss "The Obesity Epidemic" and other health topics related to their research on seafood. The Science Cafe session was at USM Long Beach.


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