process of food absorption in muscles

Five days of eating fatty foods can alter the way your body's muscle processes food, Virginia Tech researchers find


You might think that you can get away with eating fatty foods for a few days without it making any significant changes to your body.

Think again.

After just five days of eating a high-fat diet, the way in which the body's muscle processes nutrients changes, which could lead to long-term problems such as weight gain, obesity, and other health issues, a new study has found.

"Most people think they can indulge in high-fat foods for a few days and get away with it," said Matt Hulver, an associate professor of human nutrition, foods, and exercise in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "But all it takes is five days for your body's muscle to start to protest."

In an article published recently in the online version of the journal Obesity, Hulver and other Virginia Tech researchers found that the manner in which muscle metabolizes nutrients is changed in just five days of high-fat feeding. This is the first study to prove that the change happens so quickly.

"This shows that our bodies can respond dramatically to changes in diet in a shorter time frame than we have previously thought," said Hulver, who is the head of the department and a Fralin Life Science Institute affiliate. "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."

When food is eaten, the level of glucose in the blood rises. The body's muscle is a major clearinghouse for this glucose. It may break it down for energy, or it can store it for later use. Since muscle makes up about 30 percent of our body weight and it is such an important site for glucose metabolism, if normal metabolism is altered, it can have dire consequences on the rest of the body and can lead to health issues.

Hulver and his colleagues found that muscles' ability to oxidize glucose after a meal is disrupted after five days of eating a high-fat diet, which could lead to the body's inability to respond to insulin, a risk factor for the development of diabetes and other diseases.

To conduct the study, healthy college-age students were fed a fat-laden diet that included sausage biscuits, macaroni and cheese, and food loaded with butter to increase the percentage of their daily fat intake. A normal diet is made up of about 30 percent fat and students in this study had diets that were about 55 percent fat. Their overall caloric intake remained the same as it was prior to the high fat diet. Muscle samples were then collected to see how it metabolized glucose. Although the study showed the manner in which the muscle metabolized glucose was altered, the students did not gain weight or have any signs of insulin resistance.

Hulver and the team are now interested in examining how these short-term changes in the muscle can adversely affect the body in the long run and how quickly these deleterious changes in the muscle can be reversed once someone returns to a low-fat diet.

Adapted by MNT from original media release



Hulver worked on this study with Associate Professor Brenda Davy, Professor Kevin Davy, Assistant Professor Madlyn Frisard, and Research Assistant Professor Ryan McMillan, all from the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise. ( Former graduate students Angela Anderson, Kimberly Haynie, Kristin Osterberg, and Nabil Boutagy also contributed.

The research was sponsored by the American Diabetes Association and the National Institutes of Health

Early skeletal muscle adaptations to short-term high-fat diet in humans before changes in insulin sensitivity, Angela S. Anderson, Kimberly R. Haynie, Ryan P. McMillan, Kristin L. Osterberg, Nabil E. Boutagy, Madlyn I. Frisard, Brenda M. Davy, Kevin P. Davy and Matthew W. Hulver, Obesity, DOI: 10.1002/oby.21031, published online 27 March 2015.

Source: Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech press release including video


38 Replies

  • this is a synopsis of an article posted in brought to my attention in another post by another blogger which I am reproducing for detailed reading

  • How much was CARBS?

    I have been on FATTY foods (60% energy derived from FATS) for more than 3 years now. I feel more energetic, can easily skip a meal and yet all health markers have improved, without needing to walk for hours every day.

    Check for Dr Attia's 3 prt videos:

    Most of anti FAT lobbyists never look at role of Carbs as the culprit and they lace a pizza bun with butter and then blame the butter for even the smallest issue. We know Lays Chips are bad (high carb high fat) , but we also know that Eggs are one of the best food (No carb high fat high cholesterol).

    Dr Attia also has detailed experiment reports on FAT versus athletic performance.

    Tim Noakes recommends LCHF for runners. As soon as he started doing this, his sponsorship from energy drinks was terminated. Why?

    Shane Watson (the Australian cricketer) switched to LCHF (High Fat diet) on recommendations of the national team doctor.

    Jeff Volek has spent his life on Kinesiology and he lives on Ketogenic diet for over two decades now.

  • Regular intake of high fat deprive the body of other nutrients required for its wellness,long term implications of intake of high fat food is not advised by medical ferterninty at all.

    Just imagine a person admitted to hospital with certain ailments which has no or little connection with diabetes can consume high fat food?.Doctors give them minimum required calories ,in which fat is absent. 3-4 years are very little period to show the results.

  • "Regular intake of high fat deprive the body of other nutrients required for its wellness"

    Specify what is missing and i will bust that myth.

    Rest of you statement is nothing but OPINION. Ketogenic diet has a history of 90+ years. Nothing longer than 9 decades is needed. How long do you think Dr Bernstein is on 30 grams carbs? 40 years or maybe 50 years? Dr Jeff Volek 2 decades and still counting.

    Yes when Anup started talking here, 2 years was less, now that there are many diabetics in fourth year then 3-4 year becomes less, when they reach 10 years then 10-12 will be less.

  • In the article they have mentioned the following

    comparison of people -co;llege level people.I presume they must be younger group.

    normal fat of some people fed is 30#

    Fo other group high fat was stated to be 55%

    I presume fo normalmdiet carb plus was 70% while for the others it was 45%

    you say 60% fat 40% rest.

  • As against your 60:40 the researcher used 55:45

    Does it make any difference?

  • Meetu 77

    Your question” how much carbs”

    The answer is in the article itself. Howevevr i will amplify as below.

    Research group one was fed with 30% fat and 70% carb plus protein

    Research group two was fed with 55%fat and 45% carb plus protein

    Your diet 60% fat and 40% carb plus protein.

    ADA standard diet 20% fat and 80% carb plus protein.

    The researchers came to conclusion on the fat intake as detaled in their article with higher intake of fat than ADA standard.

    Kindly offer your comments.

    If your 3 years experience was your diet enabled you more energy and better health why could you not take long walk?Was it related to muscular weakness or your voluntary sedentariness?This is because you are young and in the normal course should be bursting with activity in instead.

  • No. It was related to no free time for walking as I haven't retired from professional life yet. Walking alone is not a marker of great energy or strength. Anup also doesn't walk and there are many who don't walk because they don't need to.

    Do you think Shane Watson has muscular weakness? Could he play 20-20 with weak muscles?

    We are 60%+ Fat

    and 40% max carb+protein with carbs 20% max.

    Also, I find it really surprising and amusing that one bats for 5 day study and takes potshots at 5 year data from real life.

    In addition, 5 days is too less a time for "adaptation". They should pick up diabetics on LCHF from real world and do their real study. They won't because diabetics on LCHF don't live on a diet designed for failure. :)

    I value 20 years experience of Dr Jeff Volek more than this 5 day study. I can see whee it so coming from ;)

  • Needs a detailed post.Good one.

  • What I have put a question whether a person admitted to hospital on any cause can consume High fat being propagated by you?,answer this question only.

  • "Body is already adapted to LCHF"...

    Can you explain that statement ?.

  • What why not?,answer my questin straightway yes or no.

  • I am wondering how a person can reply to that easily without knowing the reason for hospitalization in first place. And one person responded why not ?.

  • the issue that the diet weakens muscles has remained unanswered in the justification.

  • May be they didn't read it. Or they didn't find any response from their favorite blogs.

  • We surely don't refer to and quote from sites that has studies on MICE and then build a case for LCHF or against HCLF.

    That said, check this out:

    9/11 LCHF studies on endurance athletes performed better or same as HCLF. Endurance athletes need good muscles for sure. No one would take a 5 days "observation" seriously!

    Also remember, most of diabetics on LCHF are very well read people. As a group their knowledge becomes still more formidable, and at the end of the day they are watching their reports too. Go to any diabetes forum and you will find LCHF followers and preachers. We practice what we peach after having lived on both sides of the fence.

  • People who are hospitalized with diseases like Steatosis are prescribed low fat diet.

    This shows how irresponsible people giving medical advice on internet forums should be discouraged.


    Even diabetics are prescribed LOW fat diet but we don't go by that broken diet. :)

  • That is exactly what i am objecting to. Some diabetics purportedly benefiting from lchf diets start offering advice to patients who have other health problems even without knowing what the problems are. That is plain stupid and dangerous.

  • High Carb Low fat diet to a diabetic is dangerous and medical reports of diabetics after switching to LCHF proves it year after year.

    I don't think everything will be posted as per your whims/likes and fancies. No one is putting a gun on anyone's head and telling them to follow a diet.

  • when so much controversy exists on diet patterns and protocols ADA NIH being govt organisations will get the issues checked and verified in the interest of public health. I don't think merely sponsoring a research makes any motivated intention behind it .No one in America has so far challenged this research .Hence it is credible.

  • Yet many in America are on LCHF diet. 5 days duration is a meaningless research. Probably the researchers should be taught about adaptation first. ADA/NIH have to prove their credibility by letting the world know how much has diabetes, obesity decreased with their dietary lifestyle changes recommendations. From what I know, it has jumped by 4 times ever since High Carb Low fat came to scene. CVD/CHD/Obesiy/Cancer -- talk of anything and it has moved north.

    We all know what ADA and others will come up with. If research fails to prove what they set out to prove the study will be silently dumped like this one:

    If ADA was really a neutral body, they would have long back done a long term study on LCHF. They never will as the study will hit their donors profits pretty hard. It's all about money. Many american diabetics are on LCHF. The law even tried to get one arrested for criticising ADA's broken diet (but failed).

    IMHO, this research as absolutely useless and meaningless. This is something like telling a person who is losing weight to go for LIPID testing:

  • further it is worthwhile to note that this research talks of muscles affected due to change of diet even for a short while and not weight issues or blood sugar control the essence of all discussions so far.

  • 5 days is meaningless period for adaptation.

    Long term endurance athletes prove that thee is no such damage.

  • the web site provides facility for is useful to comment there so that the researchers know your views and probably reply to you. Talking here leads you know where as the bloggers here are not those who researched.

  • Then why discuss here at all?

    Will tell Anup to comment. He does these things better. He had done on one crappy post and see what others have also talked :)

    Americans/Others there criticizing what this guy wrote about LCHF. View all comments on above URL ... :)

  • please will help all here.

  • Did you go though 70+ comments on the other link that I posted? You will find guys and gals at 70+% fat in diet and speak their real world experience.

    I could't get to see the message box on this url --

  • NO.The link is blogger coolje brought this to my notice.

  • Thanks.

    Comments are moderated there, so if the comments do not go well with their thoughts/opinions they may not even publish it.

  • Good work. Don't get unnecessarily tensioned.If they react it is in their interest. Otherwise no harm done as you have sincerely taken up the issue .

  • My question is stii unanswered by lchf propagates?

  • @cscon On the spot. :D

  • cscon is definitely on spot. He said 5 day study is useless. Where and from whom did he get this 5 day study from .He was so eager to blog his skewed view that he misread the article. The article talked of even casual eating of high fat days causes reaction within five days. The study was not and could not be done by any researcher within five days .it must have taken taken years and years of study. Further the article in the end says they are still to study long time impact.I t is unfortunate that irresponsible statements are made on this forum.

  • Are you talking about me ?.

  • no.About cscon

  • Sorry, I must be on high fat breakfast today.My comprehension levels took a hit. lol

  • good joke .keep it up

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