New study finds that fat consumption is the only cause of weight gain

July 13, 2018 by Laura Graham, University of Aberdeen
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Scientists from the University of Aberdeen and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have undertaken the largest study of its kind looking at what components of diet—fat, carbohydrates or protein—caused mice to gain weight.

Since food consists of fat, and carbs, it has proven difficult to pinpoint exactly what aspect of the typical diet leads to weight gain.

Part of the problem is that it is very difficult to do studies on humans where what they eat is controlled for long enough periods to work out what are the most important factors, however studies on animals that are similar to us can help point in the right direction.

The study was published today (12 July) in the journal Cell Metabolism and includes 30 different diets that vary in their fat, carbohydrate (sugar) and protein contents.

The mice were fed these diets for three months, which is equivalent to nine years in humans. In total over 100,000 measurements were made of body weight changes and their was measured using a micro MRI machine.

Professor John Speakman, who led the study, said: "The result of this enormous study was unequivocal – the only thing that made the mice get fat was eating more fat in their diets.

"Carbohydrates including up to 30% of calories coming from sugar had no effect. Combining sugar with fat had no more impact than fat alone. There was no evidence that low protein (down to 5%) stimulated greater intake, suggesting there is no protein target. These effects of dietary fat seemed to be because uniquely fat in the stimulated the reward centres in the brain, stimulating greater intake.

"A clear limitation of this study is that it is based on mice rather than humans. However, have lots of similarities to humans in their physiology and metabolism, and we are never going to do studies where the diets of humans are controlled in the same way for such long periods. So the evidence it provides is a good clue to what the effects of different diets are likely to be in humans."

Explore further: Do you get diabetes from eating too much sugar?

More information: Dietary Fat, but Not Protein or Carbohydrate, Regulates Energy Intake and Causes Adiposity in Mice. Cell Metabolism. DOI: doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2018.06.010

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40 comments

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JamesG
3.2 / 5 (18) Jul 13, 2018
What a junk study. These guys need to go back to school and open their mind to what's going on around them.
pntaylor
2.5 / 5 (15) Jul 13, 2018
Well there's a "No shit, Sherlock." study for you.

PS: Obviously, JamesG is a fat guy with a "glandular problem".
Misquoth
4.5 / 5 (15) Jul 13, 2018
Um. Ok, so on the keto diet, where I eat mostly fat, I've lost weight because of magic?

Also, people on low fat diets who gain weight: this is also from magic.
OldDoug
3.8 / 5 (4) Jul 13, 2018
The article is presumptuous and silly. It also is not cognizant of how most humans react to a diet that's severely-restricted in carbohydrates, nor mindful of the obesity/metabolic syndrome/pre-diabetes/diabetes epidemic that took off at the same time that "low-fat" dietary recommendations came in.

A better study would be mice on a true ketogenic diet.
Eikka
4.2 / 5 (9) Jul 13, 2018
Um. Ok, so on the keto diet, where I eat mostly fat, I've lost weight because of magic?

Also, people on low fat diets who gain weight: this is also from magic.


The point of the study is that mice naturally regulate their food intake, except for fat, which causes them to eat more and get fat. This can be unique to mice, but similiar effects exist for man.

Mice aren't known for a lot of self-reflection, so they're a good example of population level effects where tendencies rather than ideas dominate: people on average eat what and how much comes naturally rather than trying to keep to some special diets.

Your example is an individual case, where you're deliberately moderating your food intake, which isn't comparable to the study. You eat differently by choice and with a purpose, which makes you eat less, which makes you lose weight.
ThomasJoseph
4.1 / 5 (12) Jul 13, 2018
I can't fathom that a "scientific" website would publish such nonsense.

The title, "New study finds that fat consumption is the only cause of weight gain" suggests an absolute, when the study (which is almost certainly flawed) only involves mice.

Oh well, fake news has moved out of politics and into "science."
tekram
5 / 5 (4) Jul 13, 2018
Humans are not mice as they are more predisposed to the metabolic effects of fructose because they do not synthesize vitamin C and also lack uricase, resulting in higher uric acid levels

Theodore E. Woodward award. The evolution of obesity: insights from the mid-Miocene.
"All humans are double knockouts. Humans lack the ability to synthesize vitamin C due to a mutation in L-gulono-lactone oxidase that occurred during the late Eocene, and humans have higher serum uric acid levels due to a mutation in uricase that occurred in the mid Miocene."
Shindaru
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 13, 2018
The article is badly worded with the title, but the comments are even more inspiring. I suggest if anyone feel frustrated or curious to go read the paper (it's pretty interesting) and as Eikka says above, humans are very special in terms of diet regulation and it's tie-ins with higher cognition. The research doesn't disprove any keto diets etc, and caloric intake is key. The hypothalamus is not the only factor in humans that induces our binge fests we call meals, but for mice according to the research above it seemed to play that large of a role for the four variant breeds of mice they tested.
IronhorseA
5 / 5 (3) Jul 13, 2018
The problem with studies of this sort is that mice in the wild don't get to eat as much as they want. There food supply is not reliable, nor is any animals, hence there is no 'off switch' for appetite. Our brain has figured out how to get around the 'gating' mechanisms to food acquisition that exist in nature. Diets intended for weight loss will always involve the exercise of willpower to do something that is inherently unnatural, pass up available food. It's just a matter of picking which version of 'unnatural' you want to follow, unless of course you are lucky enough to have an inefficient metabolism. :)
Nicku
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 13, 2018
Keto diet works only if you do not increase the total calorie intake. The mice on the high fat diet are not restricted from eating more. The clue in the brief report is "These effects of dietary fat seemed to be because uniquely fat in the diet stimulated the reward centres in the brain, stimulating greater intake."
Shootist
4.5 / 5 (8) Jul 14, 2018
carnivore diet
keto diet
atkins diet

all eat in excess of 50% fat. all lose weight. good day
Eikka
3.6 / 5 (5) Jul 14, 2018
carnivore diet
keto diet
atkins diet

all eat in excess of 50% fat. all lose weight. good day


All are based on the fact that when you consciously restrict your diet to basically chucking down blocks of butter and some greens, you don't even want to eat as much. (A real carnivore diet wouldn't have 50% fat as no animal is.)

But make a nice salad dressing, throw in some sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, bits of chicken... etc. and the calories start to pile up. It's basically bodybuilder food: protein and fat, and it's entirely possible to bulk yourself up and get fat on it.
semperaye
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 14, 2018
Um. Ok, so on the keto diet, where I eat mostly fat, I've lost weight because of magic?

Also, people on low fat diets who gain weight: this is also from magic.


Ketosis is a state of sickness, and your fat loss is mostly water, followed by weight loss that is the result of calorie restriction nothing less, was just in the news recently. There have been soooo many studies on this, just like intermittent fasting, calorie restriction... There have also been recent studies showing that actual fat loss results as measured via dexa scan, were better in low fat groups then low carb groups.
eric96
5 / 5 (2) Jul 14, 2018
""Carbohydrates including up to 30% of calories coming from sugar had no effect" what a joke. If you really want an unbiased study, then give them typical daily calorie intake say 100 calories a day (guess), and 1 mouse 100% of those cals froms carbs, another mouse 100% of those cals from fat, and another mouse 100% of those cals from protein, and finally another mouse eating 150% calories of 100% protein. This will tell you what has the highest causality of fat gain. Also the mouse should be confined (unable to walk much) as a control measure.
dogbert
5 / 5 (3) Jul 14, 2018
Eikka,

"(A real carnivore diet wouldn't have 50% fat as no animal is.)"

Otzi, the iceman's stomach contents were 50% fat:
https://phys.org/...bly.html

And Otzi was definitely not fat.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Jul 14, 2018
Otzi, the iceman's stomach contents were 50% fat:


Single meal vs. diet. Not comparable. If I eat a roasted chicken, my stomach contents will be approximately 65% protein and 35% fat (without counting the water).

100 calories a day (guess), and 1 mouse 100% of those cals froms carbs, another mouse 100% of those cals from fat, and another mouse 100% of those cals from protein


That would make the mice sick.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Jul 14, 2018
Also, in differnt sorts of seeds the fat/oil contents is generally around 25 - 35%. Various nuts go around 35-50% while various mushrooms are almost completely devoid of fats. Tubers and roots are generally full of carbs, while meats vary depending on which part of the animal you're eating, and which animal you're eating. Generally wild animals aren't very fat.

You're not going to get very much fat in your paleolithic diet except in a context of agriculture where you're deliberately growing fat animals, pressing oils from seeds and nuts, making cheese and butter out of milk etc. and choosing to eat a high fat diet. If you're a hunter-gatherer, your diet will consist of seeds, roots and mushrooms most of the time, and meat whenever you happen to get it. Otzi was probably carrying "travel rations" which include the highest calorie foods he had available, which is dried fatty parts of animals.

The exception would be peoples who live on seal/whale hunting.

Anonym518498
5 / 5 (2) Jul 14, 2018
gee I hope no American taxpayer money was spent on this hokum
MR166
5 / 5 (3) Jul 14, 2018
Diets fail because people are unable to control hunger and cravings over multiple years. Thus there needs to be a diet that actually reduces hunger and cravings over a lifetime.

Fluctuating blood sugar levels are the root cause of hunger and cravings and high glycemic index carbs are the root cause of high blood sugar readings.

Thus the ketogenic, which excludes high glycemic index carbs, is the key to losing weight because sugar levels remain more constant.

One is able to consume less calories despite the fact that 70% of one's calorie intake is oils and fats. Hunger pains that were once an 8 in importance are reduced to a more manageable 3 that can easily be ignored if desired. Thus it is easy to miss meals with no adverse side effects.
dustywells
5 / 5 (6) Jul 14, 2018
I seem to be unable to shake the impression that this study was commissioned by the sugar lobby.
MR166
5 / 5 (2) Jul 14, 2018
Many diets today are based on eating a lot of food and trying to maintain a high metabolism rate through exercise in order to burn the excess calories. Since most people will not exercise enough the diet fails. The ketogenic diet does not try to maintain a high metabolic rate in order to lose weight. Food becomes a fuel that can be replenished or not as desired by you not your cravings.
DrGordon
5 / 5 (1) Jul 14, 2018
The title and image with this article look like they are designed to mislead people into thinking this study is about human weight gain.

Laura Graham, would it have killed you to put the word 'mouse' in the title?
(Assuming you wrote the title, as well as the article.)
DrGordon
5 / 5 (1) Jul 14, 2018
Professor John Speakman: "...we are never going to do studies where the diets of humans are controlled in the same way for such long periods. So the evidence it provides is a good clue to what the effects of different diets are likely to be in humans."

No, that does *not* make your study more relevant to humans. You know, tricycles are like cars in a lot of ways. And since we're never going to do real crash tests of cars with people in them, my study of tricycle crashes provides good clues to the problems of car crashes.
shitcunt
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 15, 2018


carnivore diet
keto diet
atkins diet

all eat in excess of 50% fat. all lose weight. good day


All are based on the fact that when you consciously restrict your diet to basically chucking down blocks of butter and some greens, you don't even want to eat as much. (A real carnivore diet wouldn't have 50% fat as no animal is.)



Except that is not at all what they advocate. On a true keto diet, you'd be eating as much bacon, cheese, ribs et al, as you'd like and still lose weight. Educate yourself on basic metabolism from unbiased sources.

The worst thing you could do for your overall health is going on a low-fat diet.
JulioH
1 / 5 (1) Jul 15, 2018
deleted
MR166
4.7 / 5 (3) Jul 15, 2018
"On a true keto diet, you'd be eating as much bacon, cheese, ribs et al, as you'd like and still lose weight."

I did not find that to be true. You have to be willing to limit calories in order to lose weight. The Ketogenic diet just allows a person to do that without excessive hunger pains and cravings. I weigh myself daily and decide how much I will eat that day based on whether I want to gain or lose weight weight that day and not hunger pains.

I avoid sugars or starches. My diet consists of meats, fish, dairy products,eggs, a little fruit and lot of salads with olive oil and flavorings. I can now eat meals at will and sometimes eat only a small dinner and nothing else. I have a lot of energy and feel no change in energy levels during the day
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Jul 15, 2018
Ok, so on the keto diet, where I eat mostly fat, I've lost weight because of magic?

Also, people on low fat diets who gain weight: this is also from magic.
I think you're lying. Fat people tend to lie a lot, especially to themselves.
https://youtu.be/QDHjAZCEgTc
MR166
5 / 5 (2) Jul 15, 2018
When I was eating starches and sugars as a regular part of my diet I would spend the evening hours searching the house for something to "Nibble" on. I guarantee you that the winner would not be celery. Starches, sugars and fats are very satiating to a food addict. The starches and sugars form the basis for the addiction which is not too unlike alcohol addiction.
MR166
not rated yet Jul 15, 2018
If you view the problem as an addiction and not a willpower problem the solution becomes clear. Remember most people cannot shoot heroin every once in a while. Sugars and starches are the same. Once you are off of them you cannot eat them again or you will risk becoming addicted again.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jul 15, 2018
"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average.

"There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest."

Etc
Lopital
4 / 5 (4) Jul 15, 2018
I lost 8kgs over 4 months by just cutting out sugar, wheat, potatoes and rice. I don't starve myself or anything. Just eating more veggies and meat instead. I'd say I consume more fats than before.
GenaC
5 / 5 (1) Jul 15, 2018
The picture for this article is misleading since the study was done on mice, not humans. Also, I would be curious to know which fat was fed to the mice. Other studies on mice have shown that mice fed soybean oil gained weight while mice fed coconut oil did not. So the type of fat matters.
Nattydread
3 / 5 (4) Jul 16, 2018
How do you explain that I am rapidly losing fat when I have a high fat, low carb diet?
Junk science for junk food.
EnricM
not rated yet Jul 16, 2018
Eikka,

Otzi, the iceman's stomach contents were 50% fat:
https://phys.org/...bly.html


This links to his LAST meal, not to what he ate normally.
Misquoth
not rated yet Jul 16, 2018
Ok, so on the keto diet, where I eat mostly fat, I've lost weight because of magic?

Also, people on low fat diets who gain weight: this is also from magic.
I think you're lying. Fat people tend to lie a lot, especially to themselves.
https://youtu.be/QDHjAZCEgTc


So @ 5'4" and 140 lbs I'm a little overweight, but far from obese. Of course, you'll just say I'm lying, which is fine, because I've decided that you're just a cat walking on a keyboard.

Something this study avoids completely, is talking about the chemistry of metabolism and digestion, you must be in ketosis to burn stored fats. Ketosis is not an unhealthy state, it's one of the oscillating states of the body charging or depleting it's body fat-batteries.

The deciding factor of this process is the presence of sugars / carbohydrates NOT the presence or absence of fats. So really, the fulcrum here is carb not fat.
Dug
5 / 5 (1) Jul 16, 2018
I've done animal nutrition experiments most of my 50 year career, so I follow most nutrition work. I am always astonished at the faddish nature if nutrition science - and especially nutrition pop media - which MedEx is by enlarge. Good well founded science should not change its basic assumptions or paradigms - or it isn't good science to start with. In that most of the previous science (hundreds of studies if not more) suggest that carbs are stored as fat under excess food intake conditions.

Reading this paper - I can only conclude that either the earlier nutrition science was repeatedly and totally flawed for decades, or this paper is, but I am quite sure both can't be correct.

Additionally, if we also look at other animal models - such as bears, whose diet is primarily carbs as fruits/berries and nuts are gorged on in the fall - to produce their winter fat. Most bears have little fat intake. Of course bears are not human as well.
SURFIN85
not rated yet Jul 16, 2018
I'd remcommend a limited fat diet (not just low fat) and find these results credible

Restricting myself to under 25g of saturated fat a day, I lost all kinds of baby fat from a very active 20 something body. But if you are middle aged and have packed on 40 lbs of lard and your idea of exercise is climbing out of the cab to walk through the supermarket, your results may vary
SKULLTRAP
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 16, 2018
Garbage "study". Just like the Anthropogenic Climate Change scam
MR166
5 / 5 (1) Jul 17, 2018
Surf one thing is beyond debate, the combination of fats, sugars and starches ( high glycemic index carbs) in the same meal is deadly. The body uses the easy to digest carbs for energy and stores the fats for future use.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jul 18, 2018
So @ 5'4" and 140 lbs I'm a little overweight, but far from obese. Of course, you'll just say I'm lying, which is fine, because I've decided that you're just a cat walking on a keyboard
So if you dont think you're fat why are you on a diet?

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