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Stanford Medicine

Neuroscience, Nutrition

High-fat foods may tell the brain to splurge

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Overindulging on a second piece of pie may have less to do with your will power, or lack thereof, than your choice in foods.

A specific type of dietary fat called palmitic acid may be telling your brain to override the body’s innate mechanism of weight regulation and sabotaging your portion control efforts, according to a new study.

Deborah Clegg, PhD, the study’s lead author, summarized the researchers’ findings in a release:

Someone’s entire brain chemistry can change in a very short period of time…when you east something high in fat, your brain gets ‘hit’ with fatty acids, and you become resistant to insulin and leptin…The action was very specific to palmitic acid, which is very high in foods that are rich in saturated-fat.

Unlike palmitic acid, monounsaturated fatty acid and oleic acid, a type of fat present in olive oil, did not disrupt the body’s normal appetite-suppressing system.

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