How high salt, fat diet prevent weight gain, by scientists

fatty foodA new study has found, contrary to researchers’ expectations, that adding a high level of salt to a high-fat diet prevented weight gain in mice.

The researchers were surprised to find mice eating a high-fat, high-salt diet put on a similar amount of weight to mice eating a standard diet.

The findings of the study, published in Scientific Reports, may suggest that public health efforts to continue lowering sodium intake might have unexpected and unintended consequences, according to one of the study’s authors.

“People focus on how much fat or sugar is in the food they eat, but [in our experiments] something that has nothing to do with caloric content – sodium – has an even bigger effect on weight gain,” says co-senior author Justin Grobe, an assistant professor of pharmacology at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, United States.

The team began their research wanting to test the hypothesis that fat and salt would act together to increase both food consumption and weight gain, following on from suggestions that fast food and processed foods could stimulate reward mechanisms in the body.

To test the theory, the researchers fed groups of mice different diets and assessed the amount of weight each group gained. One group of mice consumed a diet of standard rodent food, while other groups consumed food with a high-fat content and varying concentrations of salt, ranging from 0.25 to four per cent.

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