Where does fat come from?

A seemingly silly question, right? Fat comes from fat, duh. Not so fast…

Leah Nash for The New York Times

The New York Times has an article detailing a study on monkeys, wherein the monkeys are obesified through a diet mimicking the SAD. But this really grabbed my attention:

They also drink a fruit-flavored punch with the fructose equivalent of about a can of soda a day. In all, they might consume about twice as many calories as a normal-weight monkey.

Dr. Grove and researchers at some other centers say the high-fructose corn syrup appears to accelerate the development of obesity and diabetes.

It wasn’t until we added those carbs that we got all those other changes, including those changes in body fat,” said Anthony G. Comuzzie. (Bold mine)

But wait! There’s more!

Barbara C. Hansen of the University of South Florida said calories, but not high fat, were important. “To suggest that humans and monkeys get fat because of a high-fat diet is not a good suggestion,” she said.

Dr. Hansen, who has been doing research on obese monkeys for four decades, prefers animals that become naturally obese with age, just as many humans do. Fat Albert, one of her monkeys who she said was at one time the world’s heaviest rhesus, at 70 pounds, ate “nothing but an American Heart Association-recommended diet,” she said. (Bold mine)

It seems to me, through my own personal primate study, that if you gave these monkeys a high-fat diet, they wouldn’t snack and consume too many calories because they would be satisfied. And that wouldn’t be helpful for the research study, now would it?

I’m no militant animal activist, but it kinda breaks my heart to see these monkeys made to be miserable and unhealthy. As Gary Taubes points out in both of his books, there is a solid history of scientific understanding of what causes humans to gain weight. Do we really need to subject these monkeys to such treatment? I guess if you have drug companies paying for the privilege, the answer is “Yes.”

*Special thanks to Digby over at MDA’s forum for the link.

One Response to “Where does fat come from?”

  1.  This is a really interesting (albeit sad) post!

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