High fat meals could be more harmful to males than females

High fat meals could be more harmful to males than females

Male and female brains are not equal when dealing with high-fat diets.

High fat meals could be more harmful to males than females:

Debora Clegg, PhD, scientist from Cedars-Sinai Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute and a research team found that male mice fed a high fat diet developed brain inflammation and heart disease, which were not seen in female mice fed the same diet.

For the first time, we have identified remarkable differences in the sexes when it comes to how the body responds to high-fat diets,” said Clegg.

In the study, the mice were given the equivalent of a steady diet of hamburgers and soda. The brains of the male mice became inflamed and their hearts were damaged. But the female mice showed no brain inflammation and had normal hearts during the diet,” she added.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, and the results were published in the journal Cell Reports.

According to the authors, the female mice had a strong protection against brain inflammation and heart disease caused by high-fat or high-sugar diets. Science has linked brain inflammation to overeating, harmful changes in blood sugar, and changes in structure of fat tissue that causes obesity.

It is as if the brains of females had a chemical force field that kept the dangers of fats and sugars from harming them,” said Clegg. “Our data in this study also adds to the growing body of evidence that brain inflammation may be a key factor in the obesity epidemic. These negative brain changes can occur even over a short period of eating fatty and sugary food and clearly affected males much more than females,” she added.

Richard Bergman, PhD, director of the Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute, believes that obesity management strategies may need to change. “These findings on how the brains and bodies of males and females respond so differently to nutrients suggests we have to reconsider whether the diets and drugs we recommend for managing obesity may need to be sex-specific to be more effective,” Bergman said.

Investigators did discover that they could manipulate the male mice’s brains in a way that they could inherit the anti-inflammatory properties of the female brain.

When we caused the male brain to resemble the female brain in chemical composition, it was protected from the dangerous inflammatory effects a high-fat diet created in the normal male brain,” said Clegg. “It provided more proof that the female brain inherently possesses certain chemical qualities that protects her from the dangers of a high-fat diet,” she added.

Clegg believes that the next step in this research is to test the difference between males and females in humans when it comes to processing high-fat diets. Identifying the factors that protects females from brain inflammation could significantly impact the way obesity and diabetes is treated in all patients.

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REFERENCES:

1. “High-Fat Meals Could Be More Harmful to Males Than Females, According to New Obesity Research.” Newswise. Cedars-Sinai, 16 Oct. 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.

2. “Hypothalamic PGC-1α Protects Against High-Fat Diet Exposure by Regulating ERα.” Cell Reports. Cell Reports, 16 Oct. 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.

3. “High-Fat Meals Could Be More Harmful to Males Than Females, According to New Obesity Research.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 Oct. 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.

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