Fatty Foods Scar the Brain

Rodents lose ability to monitor hunger, thirst
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2012 2:07 PM CST
High-Fat Foods Scar Brain in Rodents: Study
Burger King's 'BK Quad Stacker' hamburger with four beef patties, topped with bacon, cheese, sauce, lettuce, pickles and onions is seen August 19, 2009, in Washington, DC.   (Getty Images)

High-fat foods don't just make the midsection runneth over, a new study says. They also scar a part of the brain that monitors how hungry and thirsty we are. A recent study shows that fatty foods temporarily damaged the hypothalamus brain area of rodents in only three days, and scarred them permanently in the long run, CNN reports. No wonder we can't stop wolfing down the pastries and ice cream, doctors say.

"We’ve been talking a lot about diet and willpower and exercise and this sort of thing," says Dr. Steven R. Smith. "This is radically different [thinking]—that diets can actually re-program the structure of the brain." The results may not occur equally in humans, but they raise the question of whether we could re-wire our brains to lose weight. Or they let us blame the brain for our bad eating habits: "It gets us out of the blame game," Smith says. (Read more obesity stories.)

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