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Low-Fat Foods Lead to Weight Gain

Low-Fat Foods Lead to Weight Gain

The diet food industry's solution to the spread of obesity has been to reduce the calories in processed foods on the theory that the same volume of food will satisfy your appetite regardless of nutrient content.  They had great hopes especially for the idea of low-fat potato chips as a weight loss aid.  But it turns out that the artificial fat substitutes used in low-fat foods may actually lead to weight gain and obesity.

Researchers at Purdue University conducted a study using laboratory rats fed either a high-fat diet or a low-fat diet. The study found that fat substitutes can interfere with the body's ability to regulate food intake.  Our bodies get confused with artificial ingredients and the study shows that can lead to inefficient use of calories and ultimately weight gain. 

In the study, which was published online in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience, half of the rats on the high-fat diet and half of the rats on the low-fat diet were fed potato chips that were high in fat and calories.  The other half of the rats were fed high calorie chips on some days and low-calorie chips on other days. The low-calorie chips were Pringles Light made with olestra, a synthetic fat substitute that has zero calories and passes through the body undigested.

Olestra was a marketing disaster in the last 1990s thanks to the gastrointestinal side effects of eating olestra in high quantities, but it continues to be an ingredient in some low-fat chips including Lays Light and Pringles Light chips. 

For rats on the high-fat diet, the group that ate both types of potato chips consumed more food, gained more weight and developed more fatty tissue than the rats that ate only the regular chips. The fat rats also didn't lose the extra weight even after the potato chips were removed from their diet.

As for the rats fed a low-fat diet, they didn't experience significant weight gain from either type of potato chips. However, when those low-fat rats were switched to a high-fat diet, the rats that had eaten both types of potato chips ate more food and gained more weight and body fat than the rats that had eaten only the high-calorie chips.

What could be going on? The researchers hypothesize that food with a sweet or fatty taste usually indicates to your body that it will be getting a high number of calories, and the taste triggers various responses by the body, including salivation, hormonal secretions and metabolic reactions. Fat substitutes can interfere with that relationship when the body expects to receive a big burst of calories but is fooled by a fat substitute.

Similar results were found in previous rat studies that showed saccharin and other artificial sweeteners also can promote weight gain and increase body fat.

What's a dieter to do? Avoid any artificial foods, whether they are fats or sweeteners, and stick to real foods. If you must have potato chips, eat the real deal.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

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low fat potato chips? yes... Low Calorie Potato Chips? NOT.



Potato chips contain two sources of calories.  Fat and sugar. Well, we call potatoes 'carbs', not sugar, but they are simple carbs.  Almost as soon as they enter our body, they are converted directly to sugar.  What is the ratio of fat calories to sugar calories in normal potato chips? 

Regular potato chips have more sugar calories than fat calories.  So, if you produce 'low fat potato chips, you haven't changed the largest source of calories. 

Sugar calories in potato chips can ONLY be used for energy.  If your body finds sugar and doesn't need the energy, it stores the extra sugar in fat cells. 

Fat calories, on the other hand are not just calories.  They can be used to build and rebuild cells and other body parts that are constantly being renewed - assuming the fats are a type that can be used by the body. Fats are also excreted in your feces if your system is overloaded, and from healthy skin as sebum.  Therefore, much of the fat that is consumed is not burned as calories .  Furthermore, very little of it is stored in fat cells, because the pathway from digested fat to fat cells is much more complex than the pathway for sugars to fat cells. If you have sufficient fats to meet your calorie needs, and more sugar - your body will choose to store the sugar in fat cells, because it's more efficient.

Not only that, when you consume sugars, your body is trained to think that the season is 'fall', the harvest season.  In nature, high sugar foods (like potatoes) are only available in quantity when winter is coming - time to fatten up.  So your body works to create fat for winter - and encourages you to binge to create more fat.  

So.... in summary, the so called 'scientists' would have saved time and money by doing some simple reading about the nutritional effects of fats and sugars (simple carbs). They might have also benefited from a bit of simple arithmetic. The research study was totally unnecessary and could have been easily predicted from available knowledge. There is no mention of the amount, or ratio of carbs consumed by rats in the research studies and the 'hypotheses' presented only discuss fats.  Fats were important to the researchers, and carbs were considered irrelevant. To the rats, carbs were relevant, while fats were largely irrelevant in comprision.  

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Sayer Ji
Founder of GreenMedInfo.com

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