The Mouse ate the Cheese - And it Didn't get Fat!

We all have one of those lucky friends. Those friends who can eat fried food, cake, ice cream, soda, french fries and beer without putting on a single pound. If you eat like them for a weekend, you’ll gain 5 pounds and feel bloated for days. And how frustrating is it when we go on the same diet our friend used to lose 15 pounds and see absolutely no results? It turns out that science has an explanation for this. And its only good news if we won the genetic lottery ticket.

 

Researchers from North Carolina State University conducted an experiment using mice and their response to popular diets. The study was conducted using 4 different strains of mice. In human terms, this would be the equivalent of using human subjects that are completely unrelated to each other.

 

  Credit: Photo courtesy of William Barrington, North Carolina State University

Credit: Photo courtesy of William Barrington, North Carolina State University

These lucky mice were given foods equivalent to today’s Western diet (high fat, sugar and low fiber), a Ketogenic diet (very low carb), a Japanese diet (rice being the main carb plus green tea extract added), and the Mediterranean diet (wheat being the main carbohydrate, and red wine extract added). To everyone’s surprise, each mouse responded differently to each diet! Some of them even had increased obesity from the diets we commonly consider the best for weight loss like the low carb diet. Believe it or not, one of the mice thrived and got healthier on the Western diet which is typically considered unhealthy and the cause for the American obesity crisis. 

 

“Some mice on specific diets simply ate more calories, and this caused them to become obese. However, mice on other diets ate less but still became obese”, the researcher said. This is a strong indicator that unlike popular belief, not all calories are equal. And different individuals will respond differently to calories from different macronutrients.

 

 Curioos Bacalao Salad vs. Cheeseburger by Alon Braier

Curioos Bacalao Salad vs. Cheeseburger by Alon Braier

Science has spoken friends, and the results of this study only make the answers to our fat loss prayers more complicated. Maybe it is time we stop listening to the nutrition gurus and Dr. Oz. Instead, we should take a look at our genetic background and start listening to our body. Go on a trip down memory lane and remember what your diet was like when your body fat levels were lower and you were healthier. Personally, I have realized that despite my love affair with beef, I always gain body fat when I increase my protein consumption. Similarly, and contrary to popular belief, I do better when I eat simple carbs which have been demonized by the nutrition gurus out there. We are all different, and it’s up to us to find the type of diet that best fits our bodies and our genetic background.

 

Let’s learn something from our rodent friends and stop wasting our time with diets that simply don’t work for us. Who knows, maybe you are one of the lucky few looking, feeling and being perfectly healthy while eating cheeseburgers and fries! Lucky you!

 

For mored details on the study summarized above click here.

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