On some level your body just knows when something is artificial. It’s why we all have had such a negative gut reaction to Hugh Heffner marrying then not-marrying then replacing that random blond he was “engaged” to for publicity purposes. So we shouldn’t be surprised that the latest food research out this week has discovered that eating fake fats will actually make you fatter than if you’d just eaten the full-fat version in the first place. Researchers, having the best job ever, fed mice Pringles chips every day. Although I have to say the researchers have dubious taste -Pringles are to potato chips what donettes are to pastry. I mean they’re okay I guess but why eat a cardboard Pringle when you can have a crispity crunchy kettle chip? Or my personal fave – Terra Chips?? Maybe they were saving the good chips for the office party and feeding the mice the icky chips? ANYHOW.
Half the mice were on a low-fat diet and half the mice were on a high-fat diet. Each group was divided into halves again (mouse math! I feel a children’s book.) with half of each group remaining as a control eating regular fatty potato chips and the other half of each group eating Olestra-fied Lite Pringles. Even mice it turns out, react badly to artificial foods (the research is still out on how they react to Hugh Heffner). The mice on the high-fat diet that ate the Lite chips gained more weight than the mice that ate the regular chips. Even worse? Once the chips were taken away, the olestra-mice still couldn’t lose the extra weight while the other mice dropped their pounds quickly. The fake fat not only did not keep them from getting fat – and no mention was made of olestra’s other famous side effect but perhaps the mice wore adorable little diapers? – it screwed up their metabolism making them retain extra fat even after they stopped eating it.
That sound? A million dieters smacking their heads on the table. I feel their pain. While I no longer fear the fat and eat full-fat products all the time and eschew anything “lite”, I do have my own artificial vice: sweetener. I don’t do soda but occasionally I do like sugar-free maple syrup on my protein pancakes or a packet of Propel sprinkled in my water bottle. (I’m kind of really freaked out about sugar right now – more on that in a future post – so thank you to whichever one of you it was that recommended Sugar Blues to me; I’ve had nightmares ever since I read it!) Reading this research made me wonder who I think I’m fooling. My body is super smart – all of our bodies are miraculous machines – and I’m sure that it knows that I’m trying to psych it out. In the short-term I’ve noticed I bloat up like a balloon after I drink it in any quantity. In the long-term… who knows? My weight has yo-yo’ed so much over the years I’m hardly a good test subject. (And my blog is the the Great Fitness EXPERIMENT… huh.) So basically I know on an intellectual level that fake foods are bad but in practice? I still have that fake-sugar crutch.
How do you feel about fake foods? Does this research surprise you? What’s your favorite kind of chip?