Thursday, February 2, 2012

The best reason we’ve ever seen to avoid fast food completely

FoodFacts.com was just reading up on a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation regarding fast food. We’ve all known for awhile that there’s absolutely nothing redeeming in the ingredient lists of fast food products. They’re just bad for you. They have too much fat, too much salt, and tons of controversial ingredients. But now on top of that, it’s been found that there’s a very real possibility they cause brain damage.

In this new study, fatty foods were found to damage the hypothalamus region of rodent brains. The hypothalamus produces the hormones that control hunger, thirst, sleep and moods. It’s thought to be the “self-regulation” center of the human brain, helping us to determine how many hours of sleep we need, when we’ve eaten enough, etc.

During this study, rats and mice were fed a high-fat diet, similar to a fast-food heavy American diet. After 24 hours, their hypothalamuses were inflamed. In about a week, the rodents’ brains activated cells to repair the damage. But after several seeks, the inflammation returned and stayed for the remaining eight months of the study. The findings show that a diet can actually re-program the structure of the brain. It’s felt that this could explain why it can be so hard to lose weight and keep it off permanently. The rodents on the high-fat diet had a 25% decline in a special kind of cell that’s devoted to regulating appetite and fat control. The findings point to the idea that when we’re consuming an unhealthy, high-fat diet, we aren’t able to control our habits because the diet has actually affected the brain.

It’s important to remember that while this is compelling, researchers have yet to determine if the damage observed in rodent brains is analogous to what happens in the human brain. However, this is the first time that a study has found actual changes in brain structure based on fat consumption.

FoodFacts.com feels that this is important information for everyone in our community to note and share with others in their lives. Getting this new word out about fast food will give people another reason to stay away and recommit to preparing fresh foods at home.

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