REEDLEY, CA - OCTOBER 21: Seventeen year-old Marissa Hamilton stands on a scale during her weekly weigh-in at the Wellspring Academy October 21, 2009 in Reedley, California. Struggling with her weight, seventeen year-old Marissa Hamilton enrolled at the Wellspring Academy, a special school that helps teens and college level students lose weight along with academic courses. When Marissa first started her semester at Wellspring she weighed in at 340 pounds and has since dropped over 40 pounds of weight in the first two months of the program. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 percent of children in the US ages 6-19 years are overweight or obese, three times the amount since 1980. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Najja Parker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Many studies have shown that carbohydrates, sugar and fat are the causes of weight gain. However, a new report reveals that fat is the only culprit.
Researchers from the University of Aberdeen and the Chinese Academy of Sciences recently conducted a study, published in the Cell Metabolism journal, to explore the impacts of macronutrients on body weight.
To do so, they fed mice 30 different diets that varied in fat, carbs and protein contents for a three-month period, the equivalent of nine years for humans.
The analysts made over 100,000 measurements of body weight changes and body fat, which was recorded with a micro MRI machine.
“The result of this enormous study was unequivocal - the only thing that made the mice get fat was eating more fat in their diets,” lead author John Speakman said in a statement. “These effects of dietary fat seemed to be because uniquely fat in the diet stimulated the reward centres in the brain, stimulating greater intake.”
The scientists said carbs did not have an effect on weight gain. They also said the combination of sugar and fat did not have more impact than fat alone. Furthermore, low amounts of protein did not cause the mice to eat more.
Although they noted that using mice rather than humans was a limitation, they said both species have many similarities in their physiology and metabolism.
“We are never going to do studies where the diets of humans are controlled in the same way for such long periods,” Speakman said. “So the evidence it provides is a good clue to what the effects of different diets are likely to be in humans.”
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