When faced with the decision to eat regular chips or low-fat chips, you'd probably guess that the low-fat chips would be the healthier alternative, especially if you were trying to lose weight, right? While a low-fat diet has been shown to help people lose weight, new research has found that synthetic fat substitutes - like those used in low-calorie potato chips and other processed foods - can backfire on even the best of weight-loss intentions.

According to researchers at Purdue University, fat substitutes like Olestra, which has zero calories and passes through the body undigested, seem to actually interfere with the body's ability to regulate food intake. See, when the body receives food that has a sweet or fatty taste, it expects that it will be receiving a large number of calories and responds with salivation, hormonal secretions and metabolic reactions. These reactions can lead to inefficient use of calories and weight gain, the researchers say in the study that was published by the American Psychological Association.

Although the study was done on laboratory rats, the research is similar to other findings that show that artificial sweeteners can also promote weight gain. While more research is needed, researchers advise people who are trying to lose weight to just do it the old-fashioned way - through a diet that is naturally lower in fat and calories, coupled with exercise!