Eating fat makes us fat

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      Dr Robyn

      This study (linked at the bottom) followed male mice for the equivalent of nine-human years (3 months in mouse time). They were looking ONLY at weight gain. Not overall health outcomes. The study was set up to compare diets high in fat, high in protein and high in carbohydrates. Unfortunately, it is not clear what source of fat and protein they used. But for the “high carb” situation they used sucrose (white sugar).

      The interesting finding was that mice on the high fat diet got fat – to a point. If the diet was more than 60% fat, the mice stopped eating (theory being they did not feel well).

      While the American dietary guidelines suggest that 20-35% of calories could be fat (, research into how those numbers came to be shows a strong influence from the meat and dairy industry. Dr T Colin Campbell (among others) has shown that 10% dietary fat, mostly from plants is ideal. Unfortunately, most Americans are well above even the recommended 20-35%, thus putting them in the “sweet spot” for weight gain found by the study reference below.

      The mice on “high protein” and “high carbs” stayed slim, moderating their food intake based on their energy needs. However, it is worth noting that to create a “high protein” diet that is not also high in fat, it is necessary to ingest processed protein.

      The take away for us: The body’s ability to decide how much energy it needs to consume can be overridden by consuming fat; leading to weight gain. This is inline with studies that have found that humans will “cram” calories from a high calorie source (fat). This is thought to be because such opportunities were rare in the evolutionary world and storing calories when you had them was a good survival mechanism.

      Unfortunately, this study did not look at how a whole-food plant-based diet affected weight.

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