Brian Wansink on Low Fat Lies

Brian Wansink on how consumers are lulled by the “low-fat” label into consuming far more calories than than they may realise…

Often the fat-free version is not much lower in calories than the regular version. For example, each low-fat Oreo cookie has 50 calories. The regular version has just over three calories more.

More on his Amazon Blog

During a recent experiment, a French colleague, Pierre Chandon, and I invited people to watch some commercials and a video episode of the ‘Dukes of Hazzard.’ We gave them bags of granola that were labeled as either ‘Low-fat Rocky Mountain Granola’ or ‘Regular Rocky Mountain Granola,’ as we described in the current issue of Journal of Marketing Research. In reality, all of the granola was low fat. While people watched the video, they ate the granola. Those given what was labeled as low-fat granola kept munching long after the other group stopped. After the movie, we weighed the remaining granola to see how much had disappeared. It turned out that those eating what they thought was low-fat granola ate 35 percent more, which translated into 192 more calories. When we offered them low-fat chocolate, they loaded up on 23 percent more calories.

More: Brian Wansink in the New York Times


The Farm Bill Makes You Fat

OK so Michael Pollan is saying it again over at the New York Times. But I can keep reading it.

Compared with a bunch of carrots, a package of Twinkies, to take one iconic processed foodlike substance as an example, is a highly complicated, high-tech piece of manufacture, involving no fewer than 39 ingredients, many themselves elaborately manufactured, as well as the packaging and a hefty marketing budget. So how can the supermarket possibly sell a pair of these synthetic cream-filled pseudocakes for less than a bunch of roots?For the answer, you need look no farther than the farm bill.

Calcium key nutrient for weight loss

Calcium could be the key nutrient needed to help you lose weight, according to a growing consensus of new research examining the mineral. Calcium not only helps with hypertension, the research shows: it also appears to support healthy physiology in a way that results in the loss of excess body fat. More

Specifically, one study reported that fat-free yogurt has a strongtly positive impact on weight loss programs. The prescription of 3 servings of fat-free yogurt increased weight loss especially around the abdomen.

For 12 weeks, the first group ate three 6-ounce servings of fat-free yogurt providing about 1,100 milligrams of calcium per day; the other group ate only one serving of dairy providing 400-500 milligrams of calcium per day. Both groups ate a controlled diet that contained 500 fewer calories than normal to stimulate weight loss.

As expected, all of the participants lost weight as a result of the calorie restriction. But the study showed that both weight and fat loss were significantly greater in the yogurt group.

For example, those on the low-calcium diet lost an average of 11 pounds, but those on the high-calcium yogurt diet lost an average of more than 14 pounds.

Participants on the yogurt diet also lost 81% more fat in the stomach area, which is the most dangerous type of fat. Excess fat in the midsection has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and some forms of cancer.

Your Fat Cells May Be Sick

The Journal of Lipid Research, reports on research which indicates that in obese individuals, fat cells are bloated and inflamed because they receive too many nutrients, including lipids. In these cells, various components cannot work properly anymore and, instead, they activate new proteins to cope with the situation.

Researchers show that when a fat cell receives too many nutrients, the ER is overwhelmed and triggers a process called the unfolded protein response (UPR). This process is one of many cellular responses that activate proteins that increase inflammation and can even result in the death of the cell. UPR also causes insulin resistance, a condition in which the production and function of insulin – a hormone produced by the pancreas – is impaired and blood sugar is too high.

In English: too many calories heading to your fat cells leads to inflammation and insulin resistance.


Exercise Pill on the Way?

By giving ordinary adult mice a drug – a synthetic designed to mimic fat – Salk Institute scientist Dr. Ronald M. Evans is now able to chemically switch on PPAR-d, the master regulator that controls the ability of cells to burn fat. Even when the mice are not active, turning on the chemical switch activates the same fat-burning process that occurs during exercise. The resulting shift in energy balance (calories in, calories burned) makes the mice resistant to weight gain on a high fat diet.

The Salk Institute scientist who earlier discovered that enhancing the function of a single protein produced a mouse with an innate resistance to weight gain and the ability to run a mile without stopping, has found new evidence that this protein and a related protein play central roles in the body’s complex journey to obesity and offer a new and specific metabolic approach to the treatment of obesity related disease such as Syndrome X (insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis).

Via | Marathon Mouse Keeps on Running

Gene Links Diet and Longevity

Now, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have cracked open the black box of how persistent hunger promotes long life and identified a critical gene that specifically links calorie restriction (CR) to longevity.

Having identified a key link between calorie restriction and aging also opens the door to development of drugs that mimic the effects of calorie restriction and might allow people to reap health benefits without adhering to an austere regimen that only ascetics can endure.