Scientists find out why cookies and sausage rolls cause weight gain

Eating cookies, cakes, burgers and sausage rolls makes us fat by delaying digestion, new research has shown.

Unk food rewires the brain by reducing our ability to regulate appetite, scientists said.

The discovery could open the door to an anti-obesity pill that targets neurons.

Experiments on rats found that cells called astrocytes control a chemical pathway to the gut, but the study suggests that continuous eating of fatty and sugary products disrupts it.

The lead author Dr. Kirsteen Browning of Penn State University in the US said: “Caloric intake appears to be regulated by astrocytes in the short term.

“We found that a brief intake of a high-fat/high-calorie diet has the greatest effect on astrocytes – triggering the normal signaling pathway to control the stomach.

“Over time, astrocytes appear to become desensitized to the high-fat diet.

“After about 10 to 14 days of a high-fat/high-calorie diet, astrocytes appear to become unresponsive and the brain’s ability to regulate calorie intake appears to be lost. This disrupts signal transmission to the stomach and delays its emptying.”

Understanding the role of the brain and the complex mechanisms that lead to overindulgence can identify therapies to treat weight gain.

Astrocytes initially respond when junk food is ingested by releasing chemicals called gliotransmitters.

They stimulate neurons that ensure the stomach contracts correctly to fill and empty in response to food passing through the digestive system.

When astrocytes are inhibited, the cascade is disrupted. The decrease in the signal substances leads to a delay in digestion because the stomach does not fill and empty properly.

The vigorous investigation used behavioral observations to monitor food intake in more than 200 laboratory rodents fed either a normal or high-fat diet for one, three, five or 14 days.

This was combined with a pharmacological and special genetic technique to target different neural circuits.

It allowed the US team to specifically inhibit astrocytes in a specific region of the brainstem — the posterior part that connects to the spinal cord.

They assessed how individual neurons behaved when the rats were awake.

If the same mechanism occurs in humans, the mechanism could certainly be attacked provided other neural pathways are unaffected.

dr Browning said: “We have yet to find out whether the loss of astrocyte activity and signaling mechanism is the cause of overeating or whether it occurs in response to overeating.

“We are curious if it is possible to reactivate the brain’s apparently lost ability to regulate calorie intake. If so, this could lead to interventions to restore calorie regulation in humans.”

The study was published in The Journal of Physiology. Scientists find out why cookies and sausage rolls cause weight gain

Fry Electronics Team

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