Do you love potato chips and other high calorie, high fat foods?  Or, do you have a sweet tooth, preferring high calorie, high sugar foods?

Regardless of your preference, foods high in calories are not your friend when it comes to losing weight. The best way to achieve a healthy weight is combining a healthy diet with exercise.

As you begin down the weight loss path, you may start to choose foods that are familiar to you, but have fewer calories due to fat or sugar substitutes. Scientific studies caution you against this choice and recommend foods naturally lower in calories, fat and sugar in order to lose weight effectively.

In a research study at Purdue University, led by Dr. Susan E. Swithers, three groups of rats were studied. One group was fed a high fat diet that included potato chips made with a fat substitute (so their fat was coming from a source other than the chips).  Another group was fed a high fat diet that included high fat potato chips. The third group was fed a low fat diet that included the potato chips made from a fat substitute.

The study found the rats eating a high fat diet plus the chips with a fat substitute, gained more weight and fatty tissue than the group that ate a high fat diet with the high fat chips. They gained more weight!

As you might expect the rats on the low fat diet with the chips containing a fat substitute did not gain weight. This is likely due to their low fat diet.  

However, it was interesting to see the results when their diet was switched from low fat to high fat. When that happened, they gained more weight than the rats that were eating high fat chips before. Past studies have shown similar responses to artificial sweeteners used instead of sugar.

The moral of the story is that “fake” fats may help you lose weight initially, but will sabotage your efforts down the road when high fat foods are introduced back into your diet.  

Why?

Scientists believe foods that taste like fat and sugar trigger something in your body so you expect the high calories (high energy – calories are energy) that normally accompany this taste. This trigger stimulates your body to create metabolic reactions to deal with the fat or sugar, even though the fat or sugar is not present. As a result, you tend to crave the “real thing” and eat more.

In addition to the scientific results of this study, think about whether you want to pump your body full of chemically-created “fake” foods. As more and more of our food supply has moved away from natural ingredients, we’ve seen a disturbing upward trend in body weight. Combine this with a more sedentary lifestyle and it is no surprise the obesity rates have sky-rocketed.  

The next time you open your pantry or go to the grocery store, I urge you to start reading the ingredients on the food labels. Educate yourself about natural ingredients versus artificial ingredients so you can make smart, informed decisions about what you eat.

The bottom line is that we need to eat natural foods without artificial ingredients. Choosing foods that are naturally low in fats and sugars will help you control the calories you consume. When this approach is combined with adequate exercise, results will quickly be moving in the right direction and you will begin to feel great and realize success can be yours!

If you’d like to read about the Purdue University study, check out this website: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110620151005.htm

Sheila Ray is a resident of Waxahachie and owner of Reforming U Fitness Studio.  Sheila provides personal and group fitness training, as well as motivation and inspiration for a healthy lifestyle.  Want tips and motivation for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight?  Grab her free ebook at http://www.reformingu.com, then check out the classes offered at her studio, which can be found at the same site.