Beware! Consuming Excessive Fatty Foods May Trigger Depression

NDTV Food Desk  |  Updated: May 14, 2019 15:03 IST

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Beware! Consuming Excessive Fatty Foods May Trigger Depression

High fat diets trigger release of palmitic acid in hypothalamus

Dietary fat has confused dieters for a very long time. Some people have a hard time deciding whether to consume more of it or to completely ditch them. With the growth in popularity of low-carb high-fat diets, a number of people are adding even unhealthy fat-rich foods like processed cheeses and red meats in their diets. A new study has pointed at a harmful side-effect of consuming excessive amounts of dietary fats. The study has linked high amounts of fats in your diet with increased risks of depression. This is not the first time that fatty diets have been found to have a link with poor mental health. People with obesity are typically at increased risk of bad mental health.

The study titled, "A high-fat diet promotes depression-like behavior in mice by suppressing hypothalamic PKA signaling" was published in the journal Translational Psychiatry. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom and Gladstone Institutes in California. The team conducted a preliminary study in mouse models that were fed high-fat diets, containing about 60 per cent of both saturated and unsaturated fats. They observed how the fatty acids accumulated in the brains of the mice that consumed high-fat diets and examined whether they affected mechanisms crucial for mental health.

They also looked at whether accumulation of fatty acid lead to behaviours consistent with those of depressed people.They found that in the brains of mice that consumed high-fat diets, there was in influx of palmitic acid to the brain region called hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is responsible for the release of a number of hormones. Palmitic acid was found to be directly influencing brain pathways that influence the progression and development of depression.

The study report said, "To the best of our knowledge, the present findings are the first to show that the consumption of an HFD induces an influx of dietary fatty acids specifically in the hypothalamus, leading to an impairment of the cAMP/PKA signaling cascade and this downregulation of the PKA pathway can be implicated behaviorally for the development of depression in mice."

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