Good News About Fat, Sugar… Just Kidding

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SciShort_6_25_15Sorry for the headline head fake there, but quite frankly I didn’t think you’d want to read on if I told the truth right out of the gate. But here’s the new dope on fat and sugar: according to an OSU-led research study, high-fat and high-sugar diets have been found to be detrimentally related to what they call “cognitive flexibility,” or your brain’s ability to adapt to different situations and changes.

In short, that Twinkie you’re inhaling is making you a dullard, and the process starts so early it’s probably too late for you.

The experiments that led to these dire-sounding results involved feeding mice different diets and then gauging their performance at different tasks, including negotiating a water maze.

“It’s increasingly clear that our gut bacteria, or microbiota, can communicate with the human brain,” said Dr. Kathy Magnusson in a press release about the findings. Magnusson is a professor in the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine, and is the principal investigator in this project, working out of the Linus Pauling Institute. “Bacteria can release compounds that act as neurotransmitters, stimulate sensory nerves or the immune system, and affect a wide range of biological functions,” she elaborated. “We’re not sure just what messages are being sent, but we are tracking down the pathways and the effects.”

This new data is crucial to understanding why diets high in fat and sugar can be so bad for you, something we’ve already known for quite some time. The microbial changes these diets cause in our bellies are sweeping across the rest of our bodies and affecting us in ways we couldn’t have predicted.

Unless of course you’ve ever seen how stupid kids become in front of the candy aisle at a grocery store, in which case this is all making complete sense to you.

By Sidney Reilly

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