Once the holiday celebration subsist, everyone seems either too broke or too obsessed with fulfilling New Year weight loss resolutions to eat any comfort food on “cheat” days. But in an instance of weakness, all efforts to stay away from the sweet potato fries at the annual Martin Luther King Day picnic fail unfortunately. As a result, you get off your diet grind for a few weeks, gorging on processed foods and high-fat meals.

Well, don’t feel too bad. Scientists now have identified the part of the brain that becomes inflamed when eating an high-fat meal, which may explain why it’s so hard to stay on a sensible diet and lose the desired weight.

According to a fairly new report published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Michael Schwartz, a professor and director of the Diabetes and Obesity Center of Excellence at the University of Washington, fed rats and mice a high-fat diet, similar to what people in the United States typically eat, and found inflammation in the hypothalamus after just one day, well before the animals gained any weight.

They were looking at the hypothalamus because it’s the part of the brain that helps regulate body weight and hunger. Earlier studies in obese lab animals have found inflammation there.

However, the results found puzzled some scientists who feel the inflammation may be a good sign. Rexford Ahima, an endocrinologist at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, wrote in his commentary that the brain’s fast response to fatty food might prove to be normal, like the insulin spike that people get after a big meal.

As scientists debate over the root causes of human beings’ apparent propensity to overeat high-fat meals, drug companies are coming up with clever ways to keep America medicated, funding experiments and keeping medical professionals on their payrolls. To illustrate this point, look what Dr. Ahima says about obesity:

It is becoming clear that diet, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications are insufficient strategies to combat this growing problem [obesity]. Greater understanding of the mechanisms controlling our desire to feed and our ability to balance energy intake with energy expenditure are key to the development of pharmacological approaches for treating obesity.

So according to this health professional, optimal health and wellness is unattainable in our society without the invention of a drug to regulate it. And that’s the world we live in presently.


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