Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Fat vs. Carbohydrate Overeating: Which Causes More Fat Gain?

Two human studies, published in 1995 and 2000, tested the effect of carbohydrate vs. fat overfeeding on body fat gain in humans.  What did they find, and why is it important?

We know that daily calorie intake has increased the US, in parallel with the dramatic increase in body fatness.  These excess calories appear to have come from fat, carbohydrate, and protein all at the same time (although carbohydrate increased the most).  Since the increase in calories, carbohydrate, fat, and protein all happened at the same time, how do we know that the obesity epidemic was due to increased calorie intake and not just increased carbohydrate or fat intake?  If our calorie intake had increased solely by the addition of carbohydrate or fat, would we be in the midst of an obesity epidemic?

The best way to answer this question is to examine the controlled studies that have compared carbohydrate and fat overfeeding in humans.

Horton et al.

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