London - Foods with a high fat content may damage the region of the brain responsible for regulating a person's appetite, which could account for why overweight people often find it difficult to stick to a diet, scientists believe.
A diet rich in saturated fats leads to the sort of damage to the brain's hypothalamus that would normally be seen during ischaemic stroke, when the nerves are starved of oxygen, a study has found.
The hypothalamus is a key region of the brain involved in controlling appetite, so the finding suggests that saturated fats may be having a direct affect on the ability of the body to stick to a diet, said Lynda Williams, of the Rowett Institute for Nutrition and Health at Aberdeen University.
Although the research was carried out on a strain of mice susceptible to weight gain, Dr Williams believes the same processes take place in the human brain.
“There is some evidence from the US where they did brain scans on obese people and found some indication of damage in the hypothalamus,” she said. - The Independent