Wednesday, March 19, 2008

List #19 - Why Fat Makes You Fat

In May I am going to a conference to get a certificate of training in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management. I'm really excited about it because I think it will help me counsel my patients better but also it will allow me to network with other dietitians in the area and see what they do for their pediatric weight management programs.

Yesterday I received the self-study module. According to the welcome letter it will take me approximately 11 hours to complete the pre-reading and then I have to take and pass the pre-test before I can even attend the conference. And don't forget that once I am at the conference I have to pass a post test to actually get the certificate. It's just like being back in school!

Yesterday I started working my way through the self-study module and came across the following in an article on the development of eating behaviors among children and adolescents.

Why High Fat Diets Can Lead to Obesity
  • Fat is the most energy dense food, therefore high fat diets are high in total energy (ie calories)
  • Being energy dense they are also typically smaller in volume. Volume affects satiety, or your sense of fullness. Therefore, less volume less full.
  • High fat foods are palatable, ie they taste good, which can lead to overconsumption.
  • Research has shown that fat is less satiating then carbohydrate and protein.
  • Humans have the ability to store large amounts of fat. Therefore if fat increases in the diet the body does not need to oxidize it, like it does with protein and carbohydrate, it can just continue to store and store and store it.
  • Research also suggests that dietary fat is stored more efficiently then protein or carbohydrate.

So what does this mean? Instead of focusing on limiting fat consumption we should be focusing on eating more fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates (whole grains) to displace the fat in our diets. Especially since research has shown that diets high in fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates are naturally low in fat, and vice versa.

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