Just 5 Days of Junk Food Can Change Your Metabolism

A few days of unhealthy eating may be all it takes to change how the body processes nutrients, according to a new study.

These changes could predispose individuals to health issues like weight gain and obesity – while also setting them up for blood sugar problems that could lead to diabetes.

"Most people think they can indulge in high-fat foods for a few days and get away with it," said Matt Hulver, researcher at the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "But all it takes is five days for your body's muscle to start to protest."

Quick changes, dramatic consequences

Hulver emphasized that our bodies respond to changes in diet much more quickly than researchers previously thought, which means that junk-food feeding frenzies like vacations or holidays could take on a whole new meaning.

"If you think about it, five days is a very short time," Hulver said. "There are plenty of times when we all eat fatty foods for a few days ... But this research shows that those high-fat diets can change a person's normal metabolism in a very short timeframe."

Hulver's team found that high-fat eating for five days disrupted the muscles' ability to oxidize glucose – a process that can lead to decreased insulin sensitivity.

Next, the researchers hope to study how these changes in muscle might be reversed after a person returns to healthy eating habits – or if the outcomes persist and can cause long-term consequences.

Source: Virginia Tech

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