New brain clue to obesity

Junk food could trigger brain signals, making you eat even more

Eating junk food could ‘overload’ certain parts of the brain that control what you eat, urging you to consume even more calories, found a new study.

Scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison discovered a particular pathway in the brain that can become disrupted by poor diets.

The ‘broken’ signalling system then affected how much food was eaten, suggesting it is responsible for regulating how much you normally eat.

Studies found that a particular protein produced in the brain was ‘switched on’ when mice were fed a high-sugar and high-fat diet. Once the protein was activated, the mice started eating even more food.

The researchers then managed to block the protein pathway so even when mice ate a bad diet, they did not overeat and maintained a normal weight.

Dr Dongsheng Cai, who led the research, said the discovery of the pathway could lead to anti-obesity drugs.

‘The ultimate goal will certainly be to identify a selective and effective suppressor of the pathway to target related neurons,’ he said.

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