Health & Medicine

Health advice: How a high-fat diet knocks out your slim genes

When Morgan Spurlock went on a fast-food binge for his documentary “Super Size Me,” he not only packed on pounds, he felt increasingly awful. And it wasn’t just because of all that bad food in his gut. Seems that eating a really high-sat-fat diet actually alters the genes that control your muscle metabolism.

Researchers from the department of Human Nutrition, Food and Exercise at Virginia Tech put 12 healthy college-age guys on a diet for five days with 55 percent of their calories coming from fat and 18 percent from saturated fat. (Their menu included mac and cheese, ham and cheese sandwiches with mayo and butter, and high-fat microwavable dinners.)

That is all it took to alter the genes that influence metabolism, making their muscles unable to efficiently burn the fuel food provides. Those once-calorie-burning sinews turned into calorie-hugging, weight-adding machines.

So what does this mean? You can actually make it harder to avoid weight gain and stay healthy, even if you’re eating healthfully a lot of the time, if you indulge in French fries, three-cheese pasta dishes or super-size deli sandwiches.

If you need special tasty treats, try 100 percent whole-wheat pasta with broiled salmon in a fresh tomato basil sauce; oven-roast some sweet potatoes along with root veggies; or whip up a fruit smoothie with nonfat Greek yogurt. As a rule, stick with 100 percent whole grains, lean proteins and plenty of veggies and fruit. Treating yourself well should leave a great taste in your mouth!

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

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