So your date this weekend didn’t turn out like you’d hoped. A pint of Ben and Jerry’s sounds like the perfect remedy, right? But while a bowl of Phish Food might make you feel good now, if a recent study is any indication, the ice cream binge may trick your brain into scarfing high-fat foods for the next several days.
Findings from a new UT Southwestern Medical Center study suggest that fat from certain foods we eat makes its way to the brain. Once there, the fat molecules cause the brain to send messages to the body’s cells, warning them to ignore the appetite-suppressing signals from leptin and insulin, hormones involved in weight regulation.
While we’ve known full well that a high-fat diet is bad for you, and that obesity is on the rise, the study’s results helps explain fats’ role in thwarting the hormones that control appetite. One type of fat, palmitic acid—a saturated fatty acid found in foods like butter, cheese, milk and beef—is particularly skilled at shutting your brain up and letting your body eat more. The effect can last up to three days, which is bad news for those trying to watch their weight during beer-and-wing-fueled football weekends.
The study was performed on rats and mice, but the scientists say their results reinforce common dietary recommendations. Next up, the research team wants to investigate how long it takes to rebound from short-term, high- fat intake.
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