For long, health experts have regarded fats as major culprits in perpetrating various lifestyle diseases like obesity, heart disease, diabetes etc. A previous study has even linked a high fat diet with an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Now, neuroscientists at Florida State University have unearthed another health danger associated with a high-fat diet. According to their study, a high fat diet may adversely affect our sense of smell. (More: High-Fat Diets Linked to Certain Types of Breast Cancer)The study, led by post-doctoral researcher Nicolas Thiebaud, found that a high-fat diet is linked to major structural and functional changes in the olfactory system, which gives us our sense of smell. The research was conducted over a six-month period where mice were given a high-fat diet daily, while also being taught to associate between a particular odour and a reward (water).It was found that mice that were fed the high-fat diets were slower to learn the association than the control population. When the researchers introduced a new odour to monitor their adjustment, the mice with the high-fat diets could not rapidly adapt, demonstrating reduced smell capabilities."Moreover, when high-fat-reared mice were placed on a diet of control chow during which they returned to normal body weight and blood chemistry, they still had reduced olfactory capacities," Fadool said. "Mice exposed to high-fat diets only had 50 per cent of the neurons that could operate to encode odour signals," Fadool added.Researchers will now look at whether exercise can slow down a high-fat diet's impact on smell and whether a high-sugar diet would also yield the same negative results on smell as a high-fat diet. The study is published in the Journal of Neuroscience.Inputs from PTI
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