October 10th, 2012
New US research indicates diets high in saturated fat and refined sugar may cause changes to the brains of obese people which in turn may fuel overconsumption of those same foods and make weight loss more challenging.
For the study a team trained rats given restricted access to low-fat “lab chow” on two problems one which tested the rats’ hippocampal-dependent learning and memory abilities and one which did not. Once the training phase completed, the rats were split into two groups: one group had unlimited access to the low-fat lab chow, while the other had unlimited access to high-energy (high-fat/calorie) food.
The high-energy food was high in saturated fat. When both groups of rats were presented the problems again, the rats which became obese from the high-energy diet performed much more poorly than the non-obese rats did on the problem designed to test hippocampal-dependent learning and memory. They tested the same as the non-obese rats on the other problem.
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