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Nutrition Column

A diet filled with processed foods high in fat and sucrose effects more than your waistline

Diet plays a key role in leptin sensitivity and therefore weight gain, obesity, and metabolic syndrome.

The link between caloric intake and body weight is pretty obvious.If you donít exercise, or exercise inconsistently, the more you eat the more likely you will gain weight. In addition, the more fat and sugar in your diet the greater the likelihood you will gain weight.

Research is now finding that the types of food you eat and your diet impacts how your body processes the foods you eat and impacts your health and your fat cell size.

In a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, the effects of a low-fat, complex carbohydrate diet were compared to a high-fat, sucrose diet. After as little as two weeks, rats fed a high-fat sucrose (sugar) diet had elevated insulin and leptin levels. The levels remained elevated over the twenty months of the study. The high-fat sucrose group had significantly larger fat cells and weighed more. The larger fat cells continued to grow even though the energy intake and activity levels were identical between both groups.

Other studies have found leptin resistance in overweight subjects. Along with leptin resistance and the associated fat and weight gain comes the host of disease associated with obesity including type-2 diabetes, hypertension, CV disease, and metabolic syndrome. Similar to insulin resistance in non-insulin dependent diabetic individuals, leptin resistance stimulates fat cells to increase in size and an increase in weight. Too much dietary fat and sugar predisposes insulin and leptin resistance along with diabetes and obesity.

Research is establishing a link between the types and amounts of food you eat, the amount of exercise undertaken, and the ability to maintain weight. While eating a diet high in fat and sugar establish an environment conducive to weight gain, fat storage, and disease,the reverse is true for a low-fat, high fiber diet. Eating a low-fat, high-fiber diet will benefit both your health and your waistline.

Written by Dr. Sternlicht for on 12.10.06