by Kelsey Murray
Have you ever wondered why people who are already obese continue to gain weight? Is it laziness, a lack of desire to lose weight, or something else? Two new studies that have been published by the Journal of Clinical Investigation shows that it might be something else: their hypothalamus works differently.
The hypothalamus part of the brain controls how often we feel hungry or thirsty, in addition to controlling our need for sleep and our body temperatures. This means that when the hypothalamus is not working properly, someone might still feel hungry even if he or she has already eaten a lot of food.
In one of the studies, it was found that neurons that surround the hypothalamus of obese humans and obese rats are often damaged by inflammation. This inflammation could be caused by high-fat diets, which are notorious for causing inflammation throughout the body. Although it takes weeks or months for inflammation from high-fat diets to occur in other parts, it only takes a few hours for the same thing to happen in the brain.
The other study found that mice that ate a high-fat diet were slower to replace the old, non-functioning neurons. This could also hamper the hypothalamus’ ability to regulate hunger and other bodily functions.
You have undoubtedly heard how important it is to maintain weight loss to avoid health problems. You’ve also heard that losing weight and gaining it back continually through fad diets or any other means just isn’t good for your health. Well now there is a study that shows that losing weight and gaining it back is better than not losing weight at all.
This study was done on mice, but it shows that yo-yo dieting isn’t as bad as it was once believed to be. There were three groups of mice in the study, placed into a low-fat, high-fat and yo-yo diet groups. The mice that were placed on the yo-yo diet alternated between a low-fat and high-fat diet.
The mice on the yo-yo diet were healthy when they followed a low-fat diet and had higher body fat, blood sugar and body weight when they were on their high-fat rotation. Another surprising detail of this study was that the yo-yo diet mice lived just as long as the mice that maintained a low-fat diet the entire time. This amounted to about six months longer than the mice that followed only a high-fat diet.
File this one in the “goes against everything we’ve been told” file.
A recent study published in American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology suggests that a high-fat diet is OK and even beneficial for the heart. The study, which looked at cardiac function in patients suffering from heart failure, found that that a high-fat diet improved the heart’s ability to pump, along with boosting cardiac insulin resistance (which reduces the risk of diabetes). Sounds pretty different than what we’ve been told all along right? That eating too much fat is bad for the heart?
Not so fast. According to the study which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, and the Case Center for Imaging Research, all fats are not created equal. In fact, a balanced diet that includes mono- and polyunsaturated fats, and which replaces simple sugars and highly processed foods with complex carbs, are most beneficial for damaged hearts. Notice what wasn’t on that list of a healthy diet? Trans fats or saturated fats.
Beyond avoiding alcohol, caffeine, fish, and soft cheeses, many women allow themselves some extra indulgences during pregnancy. New research from the Oregon National Primate Research Center, presented at the Society for Neuroscience annual conference in San Diego, may have expectant and nursing mothers re-thinking the fat content of their diets and how it will permanently affect their children’s behavior and level of anxiety, not just their long-term health.
According to Live Science, researchers created a high-fat diet based on what the typical American ingests for pregnant monkeys in the experimental group. “Even if we take the offspring, after they’re weaned from their mothers, and put them back onto a normal, healthy diet, their susceptibility to stress and anxiety still remains,” said researcher Kevin Grove. “This really appears to be a permanent issue that occurs in utero.”
We all know that eating a diet high in fat will have an adverse affect on our own health, causing weight problems, heart attacks, diabetes and a myriad of other issues. It’s even somewhat easy to see that your dietary choices can have a negative affect on the health of your children. Recent obesity research has backed this up.
But, can a mother’s diet during pregnancy even affect her grandkids? New research seems to point to this reality. The research was presented last week at the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual meeting in Washington D.C.