Sunday, September 12, 2010

Is fat fattening?

Well, despite what you might have heard, the scientists are not sure:  

(abstract below - does anyone have the full paper?)

Is dietary fat "fattening"? A comprehensive research synthesis.

The goal of this research synthesis was to separate and articulate questions that had clear meaning, were empirically addressable, and were germane to the broad question "Is fat fattening?" Four such questions addressing the effect of varying the proportion of dietary fat on body weight and body fat were formulated. A comprehensive review of electronic citation databases was conducted to identify studies that addressed each question. The results of the studies addressing each question were tabulated and summarized, and an answer for each question was formulated. The results indicated that whether "fat is fattening" depends on exactly what one means by the question. It is apparent that under conditions of energy deficit, high-fat diets lead to greater weight loss than low-fat diets, but under ad libitum feeding conditions, instructing persons to follow a low-fat diet promotes loss of body weight and body fat. For one question, studies were few but convincing that altering the proportion of energy from fat in daily snacks has no effect on weight, while for another there were not enough studies available to answer the question with confidence. General recommendations to reduce dietary fat to promote weight loss or maintenance in all circumstances may merit reconsideration.


dr. m.c. said...

well hmm.
it's positive caloric balance that's "fattening" so the whole question seems really odd.

likewise if the proportion of fat is high in the diet, and carbs low, one goes ketogenic. but that will still only have an effect on fat stores if one is in a caloric deficit.

so i dunno. doesn't that seem a bit odd to you?


garymar said...

We need Peter at Hyperlipid or Stephen Guyenet to look at the actual study and dissect it carefully.

One question that automatically leaps to mind is, "What kind of fat?"

Some of these studies consider 30-60% carbs as a "low-carb diet".

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I want to be Fit said...

Not all fat is bad, some fats are actually good to lose weight, this is simlar to the paleo theme , humans have been conditioned to eating fat for 1000s of years and even do so today in tribal areas(eskimos, for example), does that make them fat ? No.Infact they are in good shape. Fat found in natural food like meat,milk etc is good and so are certain saturated fats.