Study Reports Changing to a Low-Fat Diet Can Induce Stress
Preferred diets act as natural rewards
Philadelphia, April 17, 2007 – Changing one’s diet to lose weight is often difficult. There may be physical and psychological effects from a changed diet that reduce the chances for success. With nearly 65% of the adult population currently classified as overweight or obese and with calorically dense foods high in fat and carbohydrates readily available, investigating those factors that contribute to dieting failures is an important effort. In a study in the May 1st issue of Biological Psychiatry, researchers found that mice withdrawn from high-fat or high-carbohydrates diets became anxious and showed changes in their brains indicating higher stress levels.
Using a variety of standard measures of mouse behavior, researchers acclimated mice to either high-fat (HF) or high-carbohydrate (HC) diets, abruptly replaced those diets with standard chow, and observed behavioral changes. The brains of the mice were also examined for increases in corticotrophin releasing factor (CRF) levels which can indicate high stress levels.
Writing in the article, Tracy L. Bale, Ph.D., states, "Our behavioral, physiologic, biochemical, and molecular analyses support the hypothesis that preferred diets act as natural rewards and that withdrawal from such a diet can produce a heightened emotional state." Once deprived of their preferred diet, mice would overcome their natural aversion to bright environments to obtain the HF foods, even when standard food was available. The authors continue, "These results strongly support the hypothesis that an elevated emotional state produced after preferred-diet reduction provides sufficient drive to obtain a more preferred food in the face of aversive conditions, despite availability of alternative calories in the safer environment. Our results may suggest that, similar to the case of an individual who is in withdrawal from a rewarding substance, these mice effectively are displaying risk-taking behavior to obtain a highly desirable substance, supporting the powerful rewarding aspects of the HF food."
The article is "Decreases in Dietary Preference Produce Increased Emotionality and Risk for Dietary Relapse" by Sarah L. Teegarden and Tracy L. Bale, of the Department of Animal Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It appears in Biological Psychiatry, Volume 61, Issue 9, (May 1, 2007), published by Elsevier.
# # #
About Biological Psychiatry
Biological Psychiatry is an international rapid-publication journal sponsored by the Society of Biological Psychiatry covering the whole range of psychiatric neuroscience. Both basic and clinical contributions are encouraged from all disciplines and research areas relevant to the pathophysiology and treatment of major neuropsychiatric disorders. Full-length and Brief Reports of novel results, Case Studies of unusual significance, and Correspondence and Comments judged to be of high impact to the field are published, particularly those addressing genetic and environmental risk factors, neural circuitry and neurochemistry, and important new therapeutic approaches. Concise Reviews and Editorials, generally invited by the Editors, which focus on topics of current research and interest, are also published rapidly.
Biological Psychiatry is ranked 4th out of the 94 Psychiatry titles and 16th out of 200 Neurosciences titles on the 2005 ISI Journal Citations Reports® published by Thomson Scientific.
Elsevier is a global information analytics business that helps institutions and professionals progress science, advance healthcare and improve performance for the benefit of humanity. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, SciVal, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, more than 35,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray's Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX Group, a global provider of information and analytics for professionals and business customers across industries. www.elsevier.com
Tel: +1 215 239-3674