People trying to lose weight should stop reaching for ‘diet’ foods, according to a new study that found that the high levels of sugar in the products could actually be having the opposite effect.
A team of researchers at the University of Georgia fed a group of rats a diet high in sugar but low in fat to imitate many popular diet foods. Another group was fed a high-fat, high-sugar diet, and a third group was given a balanced, ‘normal’ diet.
After monitoring the rats for a four-week period, the team found that rather than lose weight thanks to the ‘diet’ food, the rats on this diet actually increased body fat mass when compared to rats fed a balanced rodent diet.
In addition, the team found that the low-fat, high-sugar and high-fat, high-sugar diets caused inflammation in the brain, a condition that could hinder the brain’s ability to determine when one is full.
“Most so-called diet products containing low or no fat have an increased amount of sugar and are camouflaged under fancy names, giving the impression that they are healthy, but the reality is that those foods may damage the liver and lead to obesity as well,” lead author Krzysztof Czaja said. The study was published online in the journal Physiology and Behavior.