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Smoothies are part of the obesity problem
For years WE were told, fat makes you fat.
The problem with fat
Now, from a calorie perspective…………..this made sense. If you add up the calories, a gram of fat, has double the number of calories, than a gram of carbs or protein, has. So if you’re eating an equal amount of a food, and it’s made up of fat, it’s more calorie dense.
And since the calories going in, have to go somewhere…………like your belly, less fat in, is clearly the solution to obesity.
Gazillions of animal studies, confirm fat makes you fat.
So health gurus recommended following a low fat diet. And food manufacturer’s worked hard, to turn our favourite foods, into LOW FAT options.
People followed the guidelines…………….. and got fatter.
The problem with carbs
Now, the pendulum is swinging, and the new rhetoric is, carbs make you fat.
Once more this makes sense, not from a calorie perspective, but from a hormonal perspective. When you bite into a food with lots of carbs, you evoke an insulin response, hopefully. Since insulin’s chief job, is to put away the groceries………….the dollop of insulin put’s the body into fat storing mode.
And, the more fat you store, well…………………. the bigger your belly.
And the winner is……..
Numerous animal studies, indicate, if you match the calories, high fat diets, perform better than low fat diets, both in terms of weight and a host of metabolic parameters.
So, health gurus are beginning to recommend, following a low carb diet. And food manufacturer’s have obliged, by reformulating, our favourite foods, into LOW CARBOHYDRATE options.
More and more people are following the guidelines……………….
It works for some. For others, not so much !
The real problem ?
What if the problem is not, the macronutrient composition i.e. whether the food item, is made of fat or made of carbs, what if the swing factor, is something completely different.
A team of researchers from Germany, asked just this question.
Fat is a problem, BUT…
Yes, the animal data, is clear………………. a high fat diet, turns rodents into blobs, most of the time.
Just like humans, some have good genes and manage to ride out the BAD diet.
I am guessing, if you’re watching this, you’re a human, who is not blessed with this genetic advantage. Me either. Ouch !
The scientific method
Now, when it comes to running scientific experiments, rule number one is, you need to….
compare APPLES WITH APPLES.
Scientists have a name for this……………… it’s the scientific method : basically, you fiddle WITH one THING at a time. Which, on the surface of things, looks like what scientists, running mice obesity studies have been doing, for the last 50 years.
The difference between the diets, is the amount of fat.
Not quite the scientific method
Ever wondered how you make a high fat diet.
If you just fed the animals, cream, which is HIGH fat, they’d be on a low protein diet. You see, cream, doesn’t have any protein in it. So to keep everything else balanced, you have to mix things up, with a BIG mixer……….and then extrude it out, as a pellet.
Now the whipping things up……………..
The same, but different
Ensures that the macronutrient content of the control and experimental diet, are identical. And, extruding the food into a pellet……………….ensures that the food, looks the same.
But, there is a difference.
Grinding up the food in a mixer, changes the food texture.
The control food i.e. the normal chow, is a minimally processed food, while the high fat diet, is ultra-processed. And this turns out to matter.
A tale of two textures
Our team ran two sets of experiments.
In the first set, they did the standard thing, they too C57BL/6N mice and fed them “different” diets, in the form of pellets. The mice were allowed to eat, whenever they pleased, this is called an ad libitum diet and mimics what most humans do.
A high fat diet makes you fat
As expected, the animals on the normal chow, were skinny, the animals chomping down on the higher fat, pellets, were fatter.
And the level of fatness, was proportional to the amount of fat.
- The diamond correspond with normal chow, which had 11 % fat
- The circles correspond with a cafeteria diet, which had 36 % fat
- The squares correspond with a high fat diet, which had 60% fat
But they did not stop here……
Beyond fat content
They repeated the study, but this time round, they took the pellets and grind them up into a powder and served this, to their little charges.
Here is the data….
Every one GOT FATTER, to exactly the same degree. The guys eating the normal chow diet, ad libitum were NO BETTER OFF. Ouch !
Despite a lower calorie count
How did they managed to do this on a so called lower calorie diet ?
Simple. They ate more.
Plus, more of what they ate, went in …
The traditional high carb diet, includes much harder food, with a more fibrous character. Now, when something is hard as nails, you’ve got to work harder to extract, all the goodies.
This involves more chewing AND MORE digesting.
Both of which, use MORE ENERGY, so the net result, is eating becomes a less efficient process.
NOTE : For what it is worth, the same phenomenon happens which you eat nuts, which is why the calorie count of that bag of nuts, is wrong.
Fat in the liver
In terms of metabolic health……………when everyone was eating a soft / highly processed diet, there was not much difference in any of the metabolic parameters measured.
The low fat and high fat diets both caused fatty liver.
Although for what it’s worth, the cafeteria diet, that’s what we typically eat, was the worst offender. It seems combining fat and sugar, at the same time, maximizes the metabolic havoc.
Just eat real food
The take home message……………….
Food texture matters.
If you’re eating processed food, whether it be high in carbs or high in fat, it’s pretty easy to digest……..
The calories arrive QUICKLY and EASILY.
This combination, put you at risk of obesity. To fight back, limit your consumption of ultra processed foods, period.
High fat / high carb, it’s semantics……………… real food/fake food, this is the metric.
If you want to make a mouse fat, just feed it MORE FAT. But fat is now not supposed to make you fat, so what gives ? These high fat diets are missing something
Modern food processing techniques mean we’re increasingly eating fake food. The extra and missing ingredients in our diet are making us fat and sick.
Low-fat food items, contain the same amount of sugar as their full fat counterparts, sometimes a little more and it’s the sugar which makes you fat