An international study has discovered the reason why some people who eat a high-fat diet remain slim, yet others pile on the weight.
The study, led in Australia by the Monash Obesity and Diabetes Institute (MODI) at Monash University, found a high-fat diet causes brain cells to become insulated from the body preventing vital signals, which tell the body to stop eating and to burn energy, from reaching the brain efficiently.
MODI director and Australian Life Scientist of the Year Professor Michael Cowley said there were two clear outcomes from the findings.
“We discovered that a high-fat diet caused brain cells to become insulated from the body, rendering the cells unable to detect signals of fullness to stop eating,” Cowley said. “Secondly, the insulation also created a further complication in that the body was unable to detect signals to increase energy use and burn off calories/kilojoules.”The research showed that support cells in the brain developed overgrowth in a high-fat diet. This prevented the regular brain cells (the melanocortin system or POMC neurons) from connecting with other neural mechanisms, which determine appetite and energy expenditure.
Cowley said the study findings provide a critical link in addressing the obesity epidemic.