It turns out that the fat substitutes used in low-calorie “diet” snack foods like potato chips have been linked to weight gain. (Talk about irony!)
But why is it that I’m not at all surprised?
Oh, yeah, maybe it’s because like a freight train on a collision course with failure I could see this one coming from a mile away. I’m really only surprised that it took so long for the science to confirm it.
Researchers at Purdue University conducted a study to find out whether foods made with fat substitutes actually help with weight loss. They concluded that fake fat not only doesn’t help you lose weight but actually interferes with the body’s ability to regulate food intake and ultimately can cause you to pack on the pounds.
The study, published online in the journal Behavioral Neurosciences, used lab rats that were divided into two groups.
One group was fed high-fat rat chow while the other bellied up to the low-fat variety. Half of the rats in each group were also fed high-calorie, full-fat Pringles potato chips.
Then the remaining rats in both groups chowed down on full-fat Pringles potato chips on some days and low-fat Pringles potato chips—with the synthetic fat substitute Olestera in them—on other days. (Still with me here?)
Rats that were eating the high-fat rat chow and were receiving both kinds of chips ended up eating more food, gaining more weight, and developing more fatty tissue than the rats that ate only high-calorie chips.
But even more disturbing is that when the researchers removed all potato chips from the high-fat rats’ diets, they didn’t lose any weight. None. Nada. The fake fats appear to have confused their bodies, wreaking havoc with their metabolism!
Sadly, as troubling as these findings are, there is a precedent for them. We need to look no further than artificial sweeteners, which also have been shown in studies to be linked to similar weight gain and body confusion.
Sure, people aren’t rats (well some of them anyway) but it’s a pretty sure bet that our systems are responding in a similar way to all of the synthetic “diet” pseudo food.
The situation reminds me of that margarine commercial from the 1970’s in which the infamous line “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!” is uttered by Dene Dietrich clad in a white dress and a crown of daisies in her hair. But perhaps the line in this case should be “You CAN’T fool Mother Nature,” because unlike the mother figure in the margarine commercial the real Mother Nature wasn’t at all fooled by this fake-fat fiasco.
Your best bet? Quit trying to fool Mother Nature and just avoid the processed junk food in the first place. Instead, choose healthy whole foods with real fat. Your body actually knows what to do with that.
Remember when you cross Mother Nature she can be a real son of a gun.