So I get that antioxidants are really important to combat free radicals, aging, stress, e.t.c. This information is quantified by the reduction potential. Would the value of the information be less than the costs incurred?


Moreover I appreciate that the fluidity(multiplicative inverse of viscocity) of fats is really important for the endocrinous system, the digestive system and primarilly for the circulatory. The greater the saturation degree, the state of it being trans and the size of the fat the more viscous the fat and it clogs the circulatory system. Viscocity quantifies fluidity.

Would it be too expensive to comprehensively examine the aliments compared to the value of such information?

  • 1
    As far as I know, taking antioxidant supplements, such as vitamin C and E, even in very large doses, have not been associated with any significant health benefits related to their antioxidant potential. When it comes to fats, I'm not sure if viscosity of fats in the food translates into viscosity of fats in the bloodstream. Have you found any study about this?
    – Jan
    Apr 23, 2019 at 10:01
  • You can include the link to the first study (in humans) in your question. Also, can you say, what do you think it would be a practical value of such information?
    – Jan
    Apr 24, 2019 at 7:45
  • The effect of fats on the circulatory system is unfortunately not as simple as their viscosity. Atherosclerosis is a complex interplay of many factors resulting in damage to vascular endothelium.
    – Chris
    Apr 24, 2019 at 21:24
  • @endothelium Do increased viscocity fats damage the circulatory system ceteris paribus? i.e If two fats have all their properties identical, they are photocopies of each other, only one has higher viscocity are they indiferent to the circulatory or is the more fluid one safer? Something being complex(having many parts) does not mean each single factor is meaningless on its own. That is why we have partial derivatives too as opposed to strictly total derivatives. Apr 24, 2019 at 21:42

1 Answer 1


So, the question is if the knowledge about fat viscosity could help design diets to prevent or treat diseases and why is not more research about this.

There is an ongoing research; I don't know how much USDA is involved, though.

There is some evidence that the fatty acids with 4 or more unsaturated bonds (arachidonic acid, EPA and DHA) improve fluidity of the cell membranes, and that the diets high in these fatty acids could, theoretically, help to prevent against Alzheimer's disease (PubMed, 2010).

Some short-term clinical trials also suggest that DHA from fish or supplements may help to prevent Alzheimer's disease and one of the proposed mechanisms is increased fluidity of the brain cell membranes (PubMed, 2010). On the other hand, a 2012 Cochrane reiew has not found any association between high intake of fish oil (high in DHA) and dementia.

According to a 2018 Cochrane review, "taking omega‐3 capsules does not reduce heart disease, stroke or death. There is little evidence of effects of eating fish."

The problem with studies about nutrients effects on health is that they need to be long-term (>10 years) and include a lot of participants to be convincing. Many studies about nutrients have been disappointing with no beneficial effects shown, which may discourage some researchers to start new studies.

I can make another answer about antioxidants if you ask a separate question.

The questions only USDA can answer can be asked here: https://www.usda.gov/ask-expert

  • No the divulgence of such information will indeed certainly help in my earnest opinion design diets to prevent diseases. My question is if the value of preventing(by how much even I don't know) diseases; from 20% susceptibility to 15% for example an arbitrary one at that, is greater than the costs. Certainly the USDA will have to develop the technology and invest money, financial resources, employeement hours in the technology, research and divulgence. Which one is greater? That is what I am asking. A multidisciplined question part Preventive Medicine and part Health Economics. Apr 25, 2019 at 23:32
  • These are questions for USDA then.
    – Jan
    Apr 26, 2019 at 6:09
  • How can I communicate with the USDA? Aren't most of them administrative officers or politicians? How many of them are physicians, dieticians, chemists or economists dealing with health economics and designing policies? May you please help me formulate/articulate my question as kindly, formally and earnestly as possible? I am afraid they will not even care to answer. Apr 26, 2019 at 21:29
  • I have added a specific link to USDA to the bottom of my answer. If you want to contact them, ask only one question. No need to ask "why" is there no more research, because this may sound like a request or even accusation. You can ask is there any ongoing research by USDA about this topic and if they can give you any useful link. You can also include links of studies you have already found.
    – Jan
    Apr 29, 2019 at 7:58
  • Additional information needed: Hello and thank you for your request. Your question has been forwarded to the Customer Services Unit of the National Agricultural Library located in Beltsville, Maryland. We would like to provide you with the best reply to your inquiry. Please provide us with as much additional detailed information as you already know about this area and any additional related facts so that we can respond to you. The backstory to your question is important and will enable us to respond with the most appropriate resources & contacts. Sincerely, Staff of the National Agri May 1, 2019 at 21:54

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