Five days of consuming a high-fat diet can lead to changes in the way the body’s muscle processes nutrient changes, a new study published in Obesity has found.

Significant changes in the muscle’s metabolism of nutrients can result in weight gain, obesity, and other health issues, researchers from Virginia Tech reported. Matt Hulver, an associate professor of human nutrition, foods, and exercise, and colleagues found that the muscles’ ability to oxidize glucose after a meal is disrupted after just five days of consuming a high-fat diet. This could result in the body’s inability to respond to insulin, which may lead to the development of diabetes and other conditions.

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In the study, healthy college-age students were fed a high-fat diet (55% of diet) that included sausage biscuits, macaroni and cheese, and food rich in butter to increase their daily fat intake; overall caloric intake stayed the same prior to the high-fat diet. Researchers then collected muscle samples to see how glucose was metabolized. The students did not gain weight or show any signs of insulin resistance though their glucose metabolism was altered.

The study team plans to study how these short-term alterations in the muscle can negatively impact the body long-term, and how quickly these muscle changes can be reversed if returning to a low-fat diet.

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