A new study by the University of Georgia, Washington State University and Binghamton University, has specified that consuming high fat food changes the populations of bacteria residing inside the gut; altering signaling to the brain.
High fat may cause inflammation in the brain impacting on the ability to detect satiety signaling (fullness). These changes can cause inflammation that damages the nerve cells that carry signals from the gut to the brain, resulting in gut-brain miscommunication.
“When we switch the rats to a high fat diet, it reorganizes brain circuits,” said Krzysztof Czaja, DVM, PhD, a principal investigator on the study who is an associate professor of neuroanatomy at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. “The brain is changed by eating unbalanced foods. It induces inflammation in the brain regions responsible for feeding behavior. Those reorganized circuits and inflammation may alter satiety signaling.
“In the regular physiological state, many different strains of bacteria live in a balanced environment in the intestinal tract,” said Dr. Czaja. “They don’t overpopulate. There are little shifts, but in general this population is quite stable. When we start feeding the rats a different diet, there is an immediate effect. Suddenly, different nutrients are changing the microenvironment in the gut and some bacteria begin to overpopulate. Some sensitive bacteria begin to die and some populations may even vanish. So, introducing a significant change in the gut microenvironment triggers a cascade of events that leads to this”.
The research has revealed how processed food may change the gut bacterial population and the subsequent adverse consequence on health. Disrupting the gut bacterial balance with modified foods high in fat ad sugar leads to a confused brain and may result in obesity due to a lack of satiety feedback.