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Fake Fat Fail

July 12, 2011

Rats gain weight when fed fat-free potato chips.



A fake fat fail…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Artificial sweeteners and fat substitutes sound great. The thinking goes like this: eating lower-calorie foods that taste like the real thing should keep us from gaining weight. But a few years ago, Purdue University researchers showed that artifical sweeteners actually cause rats to gain weight. Now a new Purdue study, led by behavioral neuroscientist Susan Swithers, suggests that fake fats can also lead to weight gain. She and her colleagues fed one group of rats regular potato chips. Another group received both the regular chips and a fat-free version.

SUSAN SWITHERS (Purdue University):

They ended up eating more total calories and gaining more weight and being fatter than animals that always got the high calorie chips. 


The study suggests that eating a fat substitute may have unintended consequences.


It may interfere with one of the normal unconscious mechanisms that our bodies use to regulate food intake.


I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.