Monday, 21 December 2009

Fat Intake Not Linked To Weight Gain

It would seem that it's not what you eat that makes you fat, but rather what you do after you have eaten. With the festive season upon us, this might be good news to some people. Or is this, as they say 'cold comfort'. 

People who want to maintain a healthy weight over time should not obsess over their fat intake, new research shows.

The percentage of calories that a person got from fat, as opposed to protein or carbohydrates, had nothing to do with how much weight they gained in the coming years, the research team found.

The kinds of fat they ate did not matter either, Dr Nita Forouhi of the Institute of Metabolic Science, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, United Kingdom, and her colleagues found.

The findings, she noted in an e-mail to Reuters Health, showed that “it is more important to aim for a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced healthy diet and regular physical activity, than to focus on fat intake alone as a factor for weight gain.”

The role of dietary fat content in obesity and weight gain is still controversial, she and her team noted. To investigate, they looked at data on nearly 90,000 men and women from six different countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer And Nutrition Study. Participants were followed for up to 10 years.

Average fat intake ranged from 31.5 per cent to 36.5 per cent of total calories.

On average, people gained about a quarter of a pound every year. But analyses found no relationship between how much weight people gained and how much fat they ate, or their intake of polyunsaturated fats versus saturated fats.

The findings should not be seen as showing that people can eat as much fat as they want, though. “That would be absurd, given so much evidence that already exists on the potential harms of diets high in saturated or trans-fats,” the researcher said.

- Los Angeles Times 

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