High-fat, high-carb diets could harm your brain super fast

In a new study, researchers found diets high in fats and carbs could harm people’s brain health.

They found that high-fat diets contribute to irregularities in the hypothalamus region of the brain, which regulates body weight homeostasis and metabolism.

The research was conducted by a team from Yale University.

Much research has pointed to how an unhealthy diet correlates to obesity but has not explored how diet can bring about neurological changes in the brain.

In the study, the team examined how eating a high-fat diet—specifically diets that include high amounts of fats and carbohydrates—stimulates hypothalamic inflammation, a physiological response to obesity and malnutrition.

They reaffirmed that inflammation occurs in the hypothalamus as early as three days after consumption of a high-fat diet, even before the body begins to display signs of obesity.

These are very fast changes that occur even before the bodyweight changes.

The researchers observed hypothalamic inflammation in animals on a high fat diet and discovered that changes in physical structure were occurring among the microglial cells of animals.

These cells act as the first line of defense in the central nervous system that regulates inflammation.

The mitochondria were substantially smaller in the animals on a high-fat diet, affecting the hypothalamus’ control of energy and glucose homeostasis.

The study not only illustrates how high-fat diets affect us physically but conveys how an unhealthy diet can alter food intake neurologically.

The team hopes to understand the physiological mechanisms that regulate how much food people consume and how activated microglia can affect various diseases in the brain, including Alzheimer’s disease.

The lead author of the study is Sabrina Diano, the Richard Sackler Family Professor of Cellular & Molecular Physiology.

The study is published in Cell Metabolism.

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