Aziz Ansari’s character Tom Haverford on the series “Parks and Recreation” has made the catch phrase “treat yourself” a popular refrain for those who want to justify indulgent behavior.
But indulgent behavior, which includes overeating and eating high-fat foods even in the short term, is more damaging to your health than previously thought, which means even Tom Haverford might be skipping the extra brownie in the break room.
Eating behavior that justifies short-term food benders during holidays, vacations, and even that seemingly harmless afternoon fix of salt, sugar, and fat may become trends of the past thanks to research conducted by Matt Hulver, associate professor of human nutrition, foods, and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and his team.
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.
“Most people think they can indulge in high-fat foods for a few days and get away with it,” said Hulver. “But all it takes is five days for your body’s muscle to start to protest.”
Sorry, Tommy H. Looks like you’re going to have to stick to the fragrances, fine leather goods, and low-cal smoothies.
To conduct the study, healthy college-age students were fed a fat-laden diet that included a lot of what Anzari himself might use to treat himself as a native South Carolinian: sausage biscuits, macaroni and cheese, and food loaded with butter to increase the percentage of the daily fat intake. Students in this study consumed diets that were about 55 percent fat compared to a normal 33 percent. Their overall caloric intake during the study remained the same as it was prior to the high fat diet. Muscle samples were collected to see how they 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.
So, treat yo’self. Just not to a baker’s dozen of rainbow sprinkles cupcakes.