The health risks of a high-fat diet are not unknown. Previous studies have shown that it is linked to various lifestyle diseases like obesity, high-blood pressure and diabetes. But these aren't the only effects of eating too many fatty foods. A new study, published in the Journal Biological Psychiatry, adds to the growing concern.
Researchers at the Louisiana State University have found that a high-fat diet can alter behaviour and produce signs of brain inflammation. Further, it may also increase the risk for depression and other psychiatric disorders.
(High-Fat Diets May Affect Your Sense of Smell)
To reach this conclusion, they tested whether an obesity-related microbiome alters behaviour and cognition even in the absence of obesity using a mice model. Non-obese adult mice were conventionally housed and maintained on a normal diet, but received a transplant of gut microbiota from donor mice that had been fed either a high-fat diet or control diet.
Fatty Foods Interrupt Stomach's Signals to the Brain
The recipient mice were then evaluated for changes in behaviour and cognition.The animals who received the microbiota shaped by a high-fat diet showed multiple disruptions in behaviour, including increased anxiety, impaired memory, and repetitive behaviours. They showed many detrimental effects in the body, including increased intestinal permeability and markers of inflammation. Signs of inflammation in the brain were also evident and may have contributed to the behavioural changes.
(Fatty Foods Interrupt Stomach's Signals to the Brain: Study) They found that a high-fat diet produces changes in health and behavior by changing the mix of bacteria in the gut, also known as the gut microbiome. These microbiota are essential for our normal physiological functioning. Any alterations in the microbiome may make the individual susceptible to illness. According to Dr John Krystal, "This paper suggests that high-fat diets impair brain health, in part, by disrupting the symbiotic relationship between humans and the microorganisms that occupy our gastrointestinal tracks.”
Fatty Foods Can Hinder AlertnessFurther research is necessary, but these findings highlight that mental illness and neuropsychiatric disorders may be linked to a high fat diet, irrespective of obesity. It also suggests that gut microbiome has the potential to serve as a therapeutic target.
With inputs from PTI