Fat substitutes could cause weight gain

Dieters who tuck into snacks that use fat-free substitutes like potato chips for a guilt-free indulgence could be sabotaging their efforts and actually gain more weight, researchers say.

In a study that followed lab rats, researchers from Purdue University in Indiana found that animals fed a mix of regular, high-fat chips and fat-free chips gained more weight and developed more fatty tissue compared to the rats that ate only regular, full-fat chips.

The study was published online June 20 on Behavioral Neuroscience , which is put out by the American Psychological Association.

The fat-free chips contained the fat substitute olestra, a synthetic fat with zero calories that passes through the body undigested.

The findings seem counterintuitive: why would eating fat substitutes contribute to more weight gain and fatty tissue than consuming full-fat foods?

Lead researcher Susan E. Swithers, explains that fat substitutes interfere with and confuse the body's ability to regulate food intake.

"Substituting a part of the diet with a similar tasting item that has fewer or zero calories sounds like a common-sense approach to lose weight, but there are other physiological functions at work," Swithers said in a statement.

"Tastes normally alert the body to expect calories, and when those calories aren't present we believe the systems become ineffective and one of the body's mechanisms to control food intake can become ineffective." 

In other words, when consuming sweet or fatty foods, tastes send signals to the body to expect a large number of calories, triggering various responses in the body like salivation, hormonal secretion and metabolic reaction. But fat substitutes can interfere with that relationship.

In the study, two groups of lab rats were put on either a high-fat or low-fat diet for 28 days. Researchers then divided those groups in half again, feeding one group a mix of high-fat and fat-free chips, and the other group only full-fat chips.

Researchers found that rats in the high-fat diet group that ate both full-fat and fat-substitute chips consumed more foods, gained more weight and developed more fatty tissue than the rats that ate only high-calorie chips. Nor did they manage to lose weight when the chips were removed from the diet.

Rats on the low-fat diet, meanwhile, experienced little weight gain from either type of potato chips. But when they were switched to a high-fat diet, the rats that were fed both fat-free and high-fat chips gained more weight than rats that only ate high-calorie chips.

Meanwhile, a 2006 study published out of Cornell University also found that low-fat foods can contribute to mindless eating and the consumption of more calories - up to 28 percent more total calories compared to eating full-fat snacks.

The misconception, researchers said, lies in the belief that low-fat snacks are also low-calorie snacks, the study pointed out.

As for losing the extra pounds, Swithers said the common sense method is still the most effective.

"Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet," Swithers said. "Eating food which is naturally low in fat and calories may be a better route than relying on fat substitutes or artificial sweeteners.

Read more:  http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2011/06/fat-substitutes.aspx

 

Life and Style
life
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Life and Style
Chen Mao recovers in BK Hospital, Seoul
health
News
Joan Rivers has reportedly been hospitalised after she stopped breathing during surgery
people81-year-old 'stopped breathing' during vocal chord surgery
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
Life and Style
fashion

Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, UI, JMX, FIX)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, U...

    Structured Finance

    Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - An excellent new instruction w...

    SQL Server Developer

    £500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Server Developer SQL, PHP, C#, Real Time,...

    C#.NET Developer

    £600 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, Win Forms, WPF, WCF, MVVM...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone