Unsaturated fats build less fat tissue compared to saturated fat, which promotes the storing of more fat and lesser muscle development. The study was conducted by the researchers from Uppsala University, on a group of people which were given muffins in order to gain more weight.
An Unsaturated-fat Muffin a Day Keeps Fat Away
The study was conducted on a group of 39 men and women who were supposed to gain a third of their current, normal weight in a 7 weeks time. To do this, they were given special muffins, with the same amount of protein, carbs, fat and sugar, but different kinds of fat. Half of the muffins were made with sunflower oil, thus, contained unsaturated fat, while the others were made with palm oil, a source of saturated fat.
All the muffins were baked in the laboratory by the author of the study, Fredrik Rosqvist.
The weight gain was monitored before and after by a series of MRI scans and gene activity measurements in visceral fat.
More Fat in the Unsaturated Fats Group
The difference in overall fat gain was visible in the group. Saturated fat lead to a bigger amount of visceral fat and liver fat, compared to the unsaturated fat group, which developed mare belly fat. However, the percentage of muscle mass gain was three times bigger in the unsaturated fat group.
More Liver Fat Increases the Risk of Developing Diabetes
Visceral fat can disturb the internal organs and cause them to malfunction, especially the liver. In time this can lead to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The study may suggest that a special diet could be developed to increase the gain of muscular mass in seniors, in order to prevent them from developing morbid obesity. The study revealed that genes responsible for the storage management of the fat were triggered by the type of fat eaten. Saturated fats turned on the genes linked to storing fat on the abdomen and prevent insulin regulation, while unsaturated fats clicked on the genes responsible for visceral fat and the sugar metabolism.
This study proves the recommendations to replace saturated fats with unsaturated ones. For example, replace butter with plant oils and fatty fish meat. Still there is no treatment to prevent the storage of visceral and liver fat, so further studies must be conducted to help researchers understand why is this happening and how can a diet based on a certain fat type can affect an overweight person.