A new study by researchers from Purdue University finds that choosing low fat diet foods (“light” or “lite” foods) over the real, full-fat option might just have you packing on the pounds… all the while thinking you’re doing right by your body. That’s so unfair.
These findings are a direct challenge to the idea that a food made with some type of fat substitute will help you lose weight. In fact, the opposite is likely true.
To prove it, researchers fed mice Pringles chips every day; one group of mice following a low fat diet, the other half a high fat diet.
The mice on the high fat diet, who devoured the Pringles “light” variety chips they were fed on some days, were found to gain more weight than the mice who ate the regular, full fat, high calorie variety all the time. Light Pringles are made with olestra, a synthetic fat substitute that passes through the body undigested so that it has zero calories.
What’s worse, when the chips were no longer offered, the fat mice could not lose the extra weight. So the “light” chips not only didn’t prevent them from gaining weight, but the food appeared to cause problems with metabolism and made the mice hold onto extra fat, even after they stopped crunching on those chips.
It appears that fat substitutes might just interfere with the ability of the body to regulate food intake… lead to inefficient use of calories, and thus to weight gain.
Why should a fat substitute confuse the body? Anything with a sweet or fatty taste is a trigger that signals a large number of calories are coming, bringing on natural responses like salivation, hormone secretions and reactions from the metabolism. When the body expects to get a large number of calories, but is fooled by the fat substitute, it can cause problems.
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Why “Diet Foods” Can Hamper Your Weight Loss Efforts… Continued…
It would seem that a healthy diet that’s naturally low in fats and calories, may well be better in the long run for weight loss or maintenance than one with foods that are made with fat substitutes. While many will question how findings in mice apply to people, researchers know that our biological responses to food are very similar.
Other studies have shown that when we’re eating “healthy” or “light” we tend to eat a whole lot more than if we’d started with the full-fat option in the first place. That can’t be good.
The good news, if there is any, is that the mice on the low-fat diet didn’t gain a lot of weight from either of the Pringles varieties they were eating. When they were switched to a high fat diet however, the subjects that had eating both the “light” or regular varieties ate more food and thus gained more body fat and weight than the mice that had only eaten the high calorie variety.
Mother Nature is very wise. Mess with our bodies natural hunger cues and you’ll end up doing a lot more harm than you think. Relying on low fat diet foods, artificial sweeteners or fat substitutes to do the job or restricting calories sets you up to fail… and buy more “light” foods.