Fatty Food Destroys Stomach's Ability to Signal Fullness to Brain, StudyBy Staff Reporter, UniversityHerald Reporter
Long-term consumption of fatty foods leads to improper functioning of gastric nerves that ruins a person's ability to successfully diet in the future.
Australian researchers claim that nerves responsible for signalling the brain about its fullness after a meal get damaged after being on a fat-rich diet. As a result, they eat more to feel full which in turn hampers their diet plan and makes them gain weight they lost.
"The stomach's nerve response does not return to normal upon return to a normal diet. This means you would need to eat more food before you get the same degree of fullness as a healthy individual," Study leader Associate Professor Amanda Page said.
The University of Adelaide research team arrived at the conclusion after conducting laboratory experiments on mice. They found that the nerves underperformed in mice that were fed fatty food. The function of the nerves further deteriorated when the mice were fed a healthy diet.
"A hormone in the body, leptin, known to regulate food intake, can also change the sensitivity of the nerves in the stomach that signal fullness. In normal conditions, leptin acts to stop food intake. However, in the stomach in high-fat diet induced obesity, leptin further desensitises the nerves that detect fullness," Page said. "These two mechanisms combined mean that obese people need to eat more to feel full, which in turn continues their cycle of obesity."
Page said that the findings had 'very strong implications for obese people, those trying to lose weight, and those who are trying to maintain their weight loss. Unfortunately, our results show that the nerves in the stomach remain desensitised to fullness after weight loss has been achieved.'
However, the researchers are unsure whether the effect is permanent or temporary.
"We know that only about 5 per cent of people on diets are able to maintain their weight loss, and that most people who've been on a diet put all of that weight back on within two years. More research is needed to determine how long the effect lasts, and whether there is any way - chemical or otherwise - to trick the stomach into resetting itself to normal," Page said.
The results were published in the International Journal of Obesity.