Could ending your fatty food habit cause withdrawal symptoms and depression?
Even before obesity occurs, eating fatty and sugary foods causes chemical changes in the brain, meaning that going on a diet might feel similar to going through drug withdrawal, according to a study published today by Dr. Stephanie Fulton of the University of Montreal's Faculty of Medicine and its affiliated CRCHUM Hospital Research Centre. "By working with mice, whose brains are in many ways comparable to our own, we discovered that the neurochemistry of the animals who had been fed a high fat, sugary diet were different from those who had been fed a healthy diet," Fulton explained. "The chemicals changed by the diet are associated with depression. A change of diet then causes withdrawal symptoms and a greater sensitivity to stressful situations, launching a vicious cycle of poor eating."
The research team feed one group of mice a low-fat diet and a high fat diet to a second group over six weeks, monitoring how the different food affected the way the animals behave. Fat represented 11% of the calories in the low-fat diet and 58% in the high-fat diet, causing the waist size in the latter group to increase by 11% – not yet obese. Next, Fulton and her colleagues use a variety of scientifically validated techniques to evaluate the relationship between rewarding mice with food and their resulting behaviour and emotions. They also actually looked at the brains of the mice to see how they had changed.
Mice that had been fed the higher-fat diet exhibited signs of being anxious, such as an avoidance of open areas. Moreover, their brains have been physically altered by their experiences. One of molecules in the brain that the researchers looked at is dopamine. It enables the brain to rewards us with good feelings, thereby encouraging us to learn certain kinds of behaviour. This chemical is the same in humans as it is in mice and other animals. In turn, CREB is a molecule that controls the activation of genes involved in the functioning of our brains, including those that cause the production of dopamine. It contributes to memory formation. "CREB is much more activated in the brains of higher-fat diet mice and these mice also have higher levels of corticosterone, a hormone that is associated with stress. This explains both the depression and the negative behaviour cycle," Fulton said. "It's interesting that these changes occur before obesity. These findings challenge our understanding of the relationship between diet, the body and the mind. It is food for thought about how we might support people psychologically as they strive to adopt healthy eating habits, regardless of their current corpulence."
About the study
The International Journal of Obesity issued the study via advanced online publication on December 11, 2012. The research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Diabetes Association and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. Fulton and her team are part of a research network that is working together to address the biological reasons for obesity and its related diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and of course depression. She is based at the Montreal Diabetes Centre, an institution associated with the CRCHUM and four Montreal universities that brings together facilities for clinical research, cell biology and microscopy research, and rodent physiology research
Journal reference: International Journal of Obesity
Provided by University of Montreal
- Scientists start explaining Fat Bastard's vicious cycle May 23, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- High-fat diet may cause change in hypothalamus Sep 11, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Carefully scheduled high-fat diet resets metabolism and prevents obesity Sep 12, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Increased production of neurons in hypothalamus found in mice fed high fat diets Mar 26, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- A mechanism for the development of obesity-associated conditions Aug 03, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Confusion regarding direction of kinetic friction on inclined plane.
1 hour ago *please help! * The formula for kinetic friction acting on a sliding body is μkN When the body is sliding down an inclined plane fk=μkN
7 hours ago Alright, so in Pathfinder (like Dungeons and Dragons) there's a spell that allows you to lift/move stuff within 25 ft with 5 pounds of force. A...
9 hours ago So energy can only be converted... So when you squeeze the bulb on a blood pressure cuff, you are applying kinetic energy. Then the cuff fills with...
How does momentum, inertia and drag affect the motion of an object?
12 hours ago How does momentum and inertia affect changes in speed, when considering acceleration from thrust, or from decelleration from drag? Say, for a...
What is Time-Varying Voltage?
13 hours ago In circuits, we have no problem saying that the voltage difference between two point is [itex]\cos(\omega t)[/itex], but what does that actually...
Contextual Relationships Between Momentum, Energy, and Force.
15 hours ago *I apologize in advance for the length of this post, if you wish to reduce reading skip to paragraph 5. Or if you are super lazy, the final...
- More from Physics Forums - Classical Physics
More news stories
(Medical Xpress)—Research by the University of Leeds has shown that very young children appear to reject story book characters who are overweight, but not those who are disabled.
Overweight and Obesity May 16, 2013 | 3 / 5 (1) | 2
(HealthDay)—Weight gain in men and women is predicted by two different genetic variations—so-called polymorphisms, according to a new study from the Netherlands.
Overweight and Obesity May 15, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
(HealthDay)—Drinking 500 ml of purified water is not associated with increases in resting energy expenditure (REE), according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the European Congress on Obesity, ...
Overweight and Obesity May 14, 2013 | 2 / 5 (2) | 1
(HealthDay)—Reviews that are funded by industry tend to find the evidence weak for a causal link between sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and the increasing prevalence of obesity, while other reviews consider ...
Overweight and Obesity May 14, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
An increasing number of U.S. children are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that require interventions to resolve, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
45 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
A ground-breaking advance in colonoscopy technology signals the future of colorectal care, according to research presented today at Digestive Disease Week(DDW). Additional research focuses on optimizing the minimal withdrawal ...
43 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Big names in medicine are set to give an upbeat assessment of the war on AIDS on Tuesday, 30 years after French researchers identified the virus that causes the disease.
9 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—What if the quality of your work depends more on your focus on the piano keys or canvas or laptop than your musical or painting or computing skills? If target users can be convinced, they ...
21 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
The neural machinery underlying our olfactory sense continues to be an enigma for neuroscience. A recent review in Neuron seeks to expand traditional ideas about how neurons in the olfactory bulb might encode information about ...
20 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |