My Plantcentric Journey

Posts tagged ‘cottonseed oil’

Obese Brain May Thwart Weight Loss: Diets High in Saturated Fat, Refined Sugar May Cause Brain Changes That Fuel Overconsumption

Diets high in saturated fat and refined sugar may cause changes to the brains of obese people that in turn may fuel overconsumption of those same foods and make weight loss more challenging, new research indicates. (Credit: iStockphoto/Geo Martinez)

Just because you lose the weight doesn’t mean you regain the brain function. This could help explain why it is so difficult for formerly obese people to keep the weight off.”

 

ScienceDaily (Oct. 1, 2012) — “Betcha can’t eat just one!” For obese people trying to lose weight, advertising slogans such as this one hit a bit too close to home as it describes the daily battle to resist high calorie foods.

But new research by Terry Davidson, director of American University’s Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, indicates that diets that lead to obesity — diets high in saturated fat and refined sugar — may cause changes to the brains of obese people that in turn may fuel overconsumption of those same foods and make weight loss more challenging.

“It is a vicious cycle that may explain why obesity is so difficult to overcome,” said Davidson, also a professor of psychology at AU.

Davidson recently published his research, “The Effects of a High-Energy Diet on Hippocampal-Dependent Discrimination Performance and Blood-Brain Barrier Integrity Differ for Diet-Induced Obese and Diet-Resistant Rats,” in the journal Physiology & Behavior.

Fat Rats Suffer Memory Impairment, Damage to Brain’s Armor

Davidson, formerly with Purdue University, focuses his research on the hippocampus — the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning.

For this study, Davidson and his team trained rats given restricted access to low-fat “lab chow” on two problems — one that tested the rats’ hippocampal-dependent learning and memory abilities and one that did not. Once the training phase completed, the rats were split into two groups: one group had unlimited access to the low-fat lab chow, while the other had unlimited access to high-energy (high-fat/calorie) food.

The high-energy food was high in saturated fat (animal fats, such as those found in cheese or meat or certain plant-based fats, such as cottonseed oil and coconut oil) — considered to be the most unhealthful dietary fat as research has linked it to cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.

When both groups of rats were presented the problems again, the rats that became obese from the high-energy diet performed much more poorly than the non-obese rats did on the problem designed to test hippocampal-dependent learning and memory. They tested the same as the non-obese rats on the other problem.

When the researchers later examined all of the rats’ blood-brain barriers (if the brain were an exclusive nightclub, the blood-brain barrier — a tight network of blood vessels protecting the brain — would be the bouncer at the door carefully policing who gets in), they found that the obese rats’ blood-brain barriers had become impaired as they allowed a much larger amount of a dye that does not freely cross the blood-brain barrier into the hippocampus than did blood-brain barriers of the non-obese rats (the dye was administered to all of the rats).

Interestingly, the non-obese rats group included rats from both the low-fat lab chow group and the high-energy diet group. But this isn’t a matter of some rats having a super-high metabolism that allowed them eat to large amounts of the high-energy food and remain a reasonable weight.

“The rats without blood-brain barrier and memory impairment also ate less of the high-energy diet than did our impaired rats,” Davidson said. “Some rats and some people have a lower preference for high-energy diets. Our results suggest that whatever allows them to eat less and keep the pounds off also helps to keep their brains cognitively healthy.”

A Vicious Cycle

The hippocampus is also responsible for suppressing memories. If Davidson’s findings apply to people, it could be that a diet high in saturated fat and refined sugar impacts the hippocampus’s ability to suppress unwanted thoughts — such as those about high-calorie foods, making it more likely that an obese person will consume those foods and not be able to stop at what would be considered a reasonable serving.

“What I think is happening is a vicious cycle of obesity and cognitive decline,” Davidson said. “The idea is, you eat the high fat/high calorie diet and it causes you to overeat because this inhibitory system is progressively getting fouled up. And unfortunately, this inhibitory system is also for remembering things and suppressing other kinds of thought interference.”

Davidson’s findings are compatible with other studies finding a link between human obesity in middle age and an increased likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive dementias later in life.

“We are trying to figure out that link,” Davidson said. “We have compelling evidence that overconsumption of a high fat diet damages or alters the blood-brain barrier. Now we are interested in the fact that substances that are not supposed to get to the brain are getting to it because of this breakdown. You start throwing things into the brain that don’t belong there, and it makes sense that brain function would be affected.”

A Lifelong Battle

As evidenced by contestants of NBC’s reality show “The Biggest Loser,” formerly obese celebrities who undergo gastric by-pass surgery, and other numerous examples of extreme weight loss, it is possible for obese people to win the battle of the bulge. Unfortunately, the attempt to keep it off is, more often than not, a lifelong battle that requires permanent lifestyle changes. Davidson says this could be due in part to permanent changes in the brain.

“I do think it [the damage] becomes permanent, but I don’t know at what point it becomes permanent,” Davidson said. “Other research has found that obese people and formerly obese people have weaker hippocampal activity when consuming food than do people who have never been obese. Just because you lose the weight doesn’t mean you regain the brain function. This could help explain why it is so difficult for formerly obese people to keep the weight off.”

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121001171115.htm

Are GMOs Making You Fat?

While health experts and non-experts alike continue to take stabs at the solution to our nation’s obesity crisis, the answer still seems rather illusive.

Some say we need more exercise. Others suggest we need less food. Still others contend we need incentives and rewards to get off our duffs and lose the weight. But perhaps the answer is as simple as what’s in our lunch.

New research from the Norwegian School of Veterinary science is pointing the fat finger at genetically modified organisms, a term we now affectionately know as GMOs.

Researchers are suggesting that while GM foods may not be directly making us sick, they might be causing weight gain which can in turn contribute to illnesses.

To conduct the 90-day study, researchers studied how rats and salmon responded to genetically modified food. One group of rats was fed GM corn and scientists watched as they slowly got fatter than the group that was being fed non-GM foods. Researchers also noticed that the GMO rats ate more and grew faster.

A corresponding study examined how salmon reacted to GM foods by feeding one group GM food and another non-GM food. The result? The salmon that consumed GM foods experienced a number of adverse effects including weight gain, higher food consumption, and the inability to properly digest protein. They also developed a different intestinal microstructure and even saw changes in their immune systems.

In other words, the results didn’t come back in favor of GMOs.

The Right to Know – a California-based organization pushing for the labeling of GM foods – has pointed out that independent studies have not only linked GMOs to increased allergies, but also asthma, autism and ADHD. And now that this research suggests they may also be making us fat, the pro-GMO argument just keeps getting dimmer.

While the fish and rats didn’t see any additional health problems as a result of the GM foods, Ashild Krogdahl – one of the lead authors of the study – explained to the ScienceNordic that the evidence is still troubling. ”If the same effect applies to humans, how would it impact people eating this type of corn over a number of years, or even eating meat from animals feeding on this corn? I don’t wish to sound alarmist,” she said, “but it is an interesting phenomenon and worth exploring further.”

Jeffrey Smith of the Institute from Responsible Technology feels strongly that GMOs could potentially be causing weight gain in humans. ”I have heard from people who stop eating GMOs that weight problems is one of the symptoms that improves or goes away,” he said. “One woman told me that with no other change in the diet, she lost 35 pounds, her husband lost 15, and her two kids 5 pounds each, just focusing on eliminating GMOs.”

Leah Segedie, founder of Bookieboo (an online health resource for moms) and leading figure in the fight against GMOs, tells of her own experiences with eliminating GMOs from her diet.

“I’ve lost close to 200 pounds over three pregnancies so far, but most of my life I spent overweight eating genetically modified foods. As someone who has come at it from both sides, I can testify that when I removed processed foods from my diet I lost quicker and was able to maintain my weight loss. About anywhere from 80-95 percent of processed foods have genetically modified ingredients inside of them,” she says. “Just look at the nutritional contents. If you seen corn, soy, cottonseed oil, canola oil, or sugar beets, chances are you are eating something genetically modified. And those ingredients are in about 80-95 percent of all packaged foods. Those ingredients willmanipulate your metabolism, causing you to be hungrier and gain weight. As for me personally, I was only able to maintain my weight loss when I ate foods that were minimally processed or not processed at all. In fact, the minute I switched from shopping at Vons to Trader Joes (where the private label items are Non-GMO) I lost [weight] faster.”

If GM foods are in fact causing adverse effects in humans like these studies suggest, in our opinion, it’s just not worth the risk. Even if they aren’t banned entirely, people should at least have the right to know if the foods they’re consuming contain genetically modified elements. Hopefully California’s Proposition 37 vote, which takes place November 6 to determine whether or not GMO-containing foods will be labeled as such in California, will be just the push we need to make this hope a reality.

Also Read:

Genetically Engineered Salmon May be Coming Soon 

True Food Shopper’s Guide: Your Guide to Non-GMO Foods

Weight of the Nation Seeks Drastic Change for America’s Health

source: fastcoexist

http://www.dietsinreview.com/diet_column/07/are-gmos-making-you-fat/

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: