This unhealthy diet may increase muscle pain, study shows

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In a new study, researchers found that a diet rich in ultra-processed fats and sugars could increase the possibility of muscle pain.

They found that following a diet rich in fats and sugars from ultra-processed foods (such as sweet rolls and pastries) for 6 weeks increased the number of inflammatory molecules in the organism, which increased the excitability of the muscle nerves.

The research was conducted by a team at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Tarragona – Spain).

In the study, the experiments were carried out in male Swiss mice.

One group was given a typical cafeteria diet, high in added sugars (for example, sweet rolls and pastries), and another was given a high-fat commercial diet for a period of six weeks.

The researchers then used electromyography to assess musculoskeletal neurotransmission, the response of the muscle nerves.

They found the mice who had consumed a cafeteria diet showed more adipocytes in the muscle tissue but the same cannot be said for the fat-rich diet.

However, both groups showed an increase in neuromuscular transmission which lasted for several weeks after the diets had been stopped.

The team concludes that a six-week high-sugar-and-fats diet in mice increases neurotransmission, which leads to the development of muscle pain.

After this period, the mice quickly regained their normal weight although the neurotransmission parameters remained high for several weeks.

In Western societies, the rate of obesity and overweight is clearly increasing. Between 1975 and 2016 the rate of world obesity tripled.

In 2030 more than 38% of the world’s adult population will be overweight and 20% will be obese.

Obesity and overweight are regarded as an epidemic that is linked to the development of such pathologies like diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and muscle pain.

Studies have shown that there is a strong link between obesity and pain.

Normally, the association between overweight and muscle pain has been attributed to an increase in mechanical stress caused by the extra weight that has to be supported by the weight-bearing joints.

Nevertheless, this study showed an association between pain and overweight that is independent of mechanical overload and it is probable that it involves systemic phenomena of the organism.

One author of the study is Manel Santafe.

The study is published in Nutrients.

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