Body Wont Process Calories From High-fat Diet Says LSU AgCenter Nutritionist

Heli J. Roy  |  9/9/2005 1:35:46 AM

News You Can Use For September 2005

Diabetes is a chronic condition that requires medical intervention, meal planning and dedication to a healthy lifestyle. Several approaches are available for individuals to plan their diets, says LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Heli Roy.

A diabetes meal plan tells how much and what kinds of foods individuals can eat at meals and snack times and control their blood glucose and insulin levels.

"A good meal plan is one that can be followed without a lot of extra effort," Roy says, adding, "It also allows good control of blood pressure, cholesterol and weight."

Diet plans the nutritionist suggests include MyPyramid, Rating your Plate, Exchanges Lists and Carbohydrate Counting.

Individuals who don’t know they may be prediabetic, or those who have a family history of diabetes, might wrongly choose one of the current high-fat and high-protein diets in an attempt to lose weight. This could potentially be harmful. Studies show that a high-fat diet reduces energy production from fat, particularly in individuals who are prediabetic.

A study conducted by Drs. Steve Smith, Robert Koza, Mathew Hulver and George Bray from Pennington Biomedical Research Center looked at how a high-fat diet influences energy production when individuals consumed a high-fat diet.

Ten healthy young men were fed a diet where half of the energy came from fat. "That’s a very high-fat diet," Roy says, "considering that normally about one-third of energy comes from fat."

The subjects ate the high-fat diet for four days. In that short time, the energy-producing pathway in the cell changed and became less productive because of the high-fat diet. Some aspects of the pathway were reduced more than two times from normal level. The same results were obtained in animal studies.

"These results are somewhat surprising," Roy says, explaining, "Normally one would think that if fat intake is increased, our energy pathways would increase fat use since more of it is now available. But that is not what happens."

Why that happens is not known.

Roy says this study supports previous recommendations to limit fat intake to between 20 percent and 35 percent of energy. This recommendation is particularly relevant to anyone that has a history of diabetes in the family.

Current USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 recommend keeping total fat intake between 20 percent to 35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as fish, nuts and vegetable oils.

The guidelines also say to consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids and less than 300 mg/day of cholesterol. Keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible.

For information on related nutrition, family and consumer topics, click on the Family and Home link at the LSU AgCenter Web site at For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.


On the Internet: LSU AgCenter:
Source: Heli Roy (225) 578-3329, or

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