If you generally follow a healthy diet, you might think that a few days of overindulging is no big deal. But, a recent article published in the online journal, Obesity, may help explain how detrimental the effects can truly be.
Matt Hulver, an associate professor of human nutrition and exercise at the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences explains, "Most people think they can indulge in high-fat foods for a few days and get away with it. But all it takes is five days for your body's muscle to start to protest." It only takes a few days, five according to this study, for you to put your body at risk for long term problems such as weight gain or obesity.
Hulver also stated, "This shows that our bodies can respond dramatically to changes in diet in a shorter time frame than we have previously thought. If you think about it, five days is a very short time. There are plenty of times when we all eat fatty foods for a few days, be in the holidays, vacations, or other celebrations. But this research shows that those high-fat diets can change a person's normal metabolism in a very short timeframe."
The main reason for the problems with a high fat diet is that it affects the glucose levels in the blood too dramatically. Although glucose is used by the body for energy, or stored, it is important to have a steady flow. Muscles requires an especially high level of glucose, and because muscles make up about 30% of our entire body, altering the normal balance of glucose and the metabolism can have significant effects very quickly.
The study showed that after only five days of a high fat diet, there was an increased risk of developing diabetes and other conditions.
Researchers evaluated the diets of healthy college students and fed them high fat diets, filled with sausage biscuits, macaronies and cheese, and other foods which contained high amounts of butter to increase their daily fat intake for five days.
Because a normal diet is usually around 30% fat, this diet, which contained about 55% fat represented a huge increase. Calories were not significantly altered during the study. At the conclusion of the five days, muscle samples were obtained and evaluated to assess the glucose metabolism. While the students did not demonstrate weight gain as a result of the high fat diet, there were marked changes in the metabolism of glucose.
Further research is needed to evaluate how the short term changes that were identified will affect a person’s body over a long term period, and how significant the changes to the muscle metabolism truly are. Also, researchers are interested in learning more about reversing the effects of the high fat diet.