Put down that Twinkie; it may be doing damage to your brain. Two new studies published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation suggest that high-fat diets and obesity alters how the hypothalamus functions.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
The first study has found that in obese rats, as well as in obese humans, neurons around the hypothalamus were injured by inflammation. Since the hypothalamus functions as the on/off switch that tells the body when you've already consumed enough food, it hastens overeating. In the scientists own words: "These findings collectively suggest that, in both humans and rodent models, obesity is associated with neuronal injury in a brain area crucial for body weight control."
The second study discovered that in mice given a very fatty diet, the neurons around the hypothalamus were slow to be replaced compared to those of mice that were given a lower-fat diet. "Feeding mice HFD suppressed neurogenesis, as demonstrated by the observation that these mice both generated fewer new neurons and retained more old neurons," the paper said.
That salad is looking mighty good right about now, doesn't it?