Great news for Athletes trying to pack on muscle mass. A new study has shown that eating saturated fat can increase your appetite and trick you into thinking you need more food.
Since THE major factor holding back athletes who are looking to add large amounts of muscle (or even to maintain what they have–marathon runners, I’m looking at you!) is their inability to eat enough, this fact may come in handy.
My suggestion? Eat ice cream. It’s high calorie and loaded with saturated fat which will apparently make you hungrier. You get two for the price of one!
Of course, the article I found this tid-bit on was most worried about the implications of saturated fat on our overall health profiles. But, that isn’t your problem. You’re too skinny, and you need to muscle up. That takes more calories than you can eat comfortably. Science (and Ice Cream) to the rescue!
Below is the abstract to the actual study (I hate that most articles don’t do this, especially when they are on the web).
Insulin signaling can be modulated by several isoforms of PKC in peripheral tissues. Here, we assessed whether one specific isoform, PKC-θ, was expressed in critical CNS regions that regulate energy balance and whether it mediated the deleterious effects of diets high in fat, specifically palmitic acid, on hypothalamic insulin activity in rats and mice. Using a combination of in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, we found that PKC-θ was expressed in discrete neuronal populations of the arcuate nucleus, specifically the neuropeptide Y/agouti-related protein neurons and the dorsal medial nucleus in the hypothalamus. CNS exposure to palmitic acid via direct infusion or by oral gavage increased the localization of PKC-θ to cell membranes in the hypothalamus, which was associated with impaired hypothalamic insulin and leptin signaling. This finding was specific for palmitic acid, as the monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid, neither increased membrane localization of PKC-θ nor induced insulin resistance. Finally, arcuate-specific knockdown of PKC-θ attenuated diet-induced obesity and improved insulin signaling. These results suggest that many of the deleterious effects of high-fat diets, specifically those enriched with palmitic acid, are CNS mediated via PKC-θ activation, resulting in reduced insulin activity.
Normally your bodies cells are told to stop demanding food by a couple of hormones, leptin and insulin. This study suggests that certain saturated fats, particularly palmitic acid tell your brain to send signals to your bodies cells instructing them to ignore leptin and insulin. And therefore, you can be “objectively” full, but not feel like you are. So, you keep eating.
Clearly, if you want to lose weight, this is bad news. Keep your saturated fats down, and stick to unsaturated fats if you can like fish oils and olive oil.
But, if you are trying to gain size, this is GREAT. More ice cream, fried chicken, bacon, and even more ice cream!
(The image above is from SushiGallery.net. Very cool.)
Benoit, Stephen C, Christopher J Kemp, Carol F Elias, William Abplanalp, James P Herman, Stephanie Migrenne, Anne-Laure Lefevre, et al. 2009. Palmitic acid mediates hypothalamic insulin resistance by altering PKC-theta subcellular localization in rodents. The Journal of Clinical Investigation 119, no. 9 (September): 2577-2589. doi:10.1172/JCI36714.