Tags: Obesity | fat | food | brain | signals | gut | bacteria

High-Fat Diet Alters Brain to Crave More: Study

By    |   Wednesday, 08 July 2015 12:44 PM

A high-fat diet leads to changes in gut bacteria that can trigger changes in signals to the brain and lead to food cravings, new research suggests.

In other words, eating French fries and cheeseburgers may actually make you hungrier for more.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Georgia, Washington State University and Binghamton University, may explain why high-fat Western diets are driving the nation’s obesity crisis.

The findings, presented this week at a meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, were based on studies of laboratory rats, but have implications for people, too, Science Daily reports.

"When we switch the rats to a high-fat diet, it reorganizes brain circuits," explained lead researcher Krzysztof Czaja, an associate professor of neuroanatomy at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. "The brain is changed by eating unbalanced foods. It induces inflammation in the brain regions responsible for feeding behavior. Those reorganized circuits and inflammation may alter satiety signaling."

Czaja noted many different strains of bacteria live in a balanced environment in the intestinal tract of health people.

"They don't overpopulate. There are little shifts, but in general this population is quite stable. When we start feeding the rats a different diet, there is an immediate effect,” he explained. “Suddenly, different nutrients are changing the microenvironment in the gut [that] triggers a cascade of events that leads to this population switch."

These changes can cause inflammation that damages the nerve cells that carry signals from the gut to the brain, which can in turn trigger food cravings because it shuts down signals that tell the brain the stomach is full.

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A high-fat diet leads to changes in gut bacteria that can trigger brain changes that lead to food cravings and overeating, new research suggests.
fat, food, brain, signals, gut, bacteria, craving
Wednesday, 08 July 2015 12:44 PM
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