A high-fat diet could result in considerable metabolic change within a short span of time. A study conducted by a team of researchers from the Virginia Tech specifically revealed that after just five days of eating fatty foods, the ability of skeletal muscle to process nutrients changes. These changes could lead to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and other health issues.
As a backgrounder, whenever people eat, the level of glucose in the blood rises. Muscles are major clearinghouse for glucose—either they break it down for energy or store it for later use. Because muscles make up about 30% of the total body weight, they are highly important for glucose metabolism.
The Virginia Tech researchers selected 12 healthy college-age students and subjected them under a high-fat diet that included sausage biscuits, macaroni cheese, and other meals loaded with butter for a five-day period. This diet resulted in an increased in their daily fat intake. A normal diet has 30% fat but that participants were consuming about 55% of fat daily.
After the high-fat diet that lasted for a five-day period, the researchers collected muscle samples from the participant and found out that the ability to oxidize glucose was disrupted. This disruption in glucose metabolism could lead to a further inability to respond to insulin, which is a risk factor for the development of diabetes and other diseases.
The results, however, did not reveal weight gain or any signs of insulin resistance. Nonetheless, it revealed early skeletal muscle adaptations coming from short-term high-fat diet.
“This shows that our bodies are can respond dramatically to changes in diet in a shorter time frame than we have previously thought,” said Matt Hulver, lead researcher and an associate professor at Virginia Tech. “If you think about it, five days is a very short time. There are plenty of times when we all eat fatty foods for a few days, be it the holidays, vacations, or other celebrations. But this research shows that those high-fat diets can change a person’s normal metabolism in a very short timeframe.”
The researchers are now interested to explore and examine how these short-term changes in the muscle can bring forth adverse effect in the body, particularly by determining long-term health implications. Furthermore, they are also interested to explore how quickly this change can be reversed once a person switches from a high-fat diet to a low-fat diet.
Further details of the study are in the article “Early skeletal muscle adaptations to short-term high-fat diet in humans before changes in insulin sensitivity” published in the journal Obesity. Other researchers include Angela S. Anderson, Kimberly R. Haynie, Ryan P. McMillan, Kristin L. Osterberg, Nabil E. Boutagy, Madlyn I. Frisard, Brenda M. Davy, and Kevin P. Davy. The American Diabetes Association and the National Institutes of Health sponsored the study.