Highlights:

  • High-fat diets reduce gut bacteria diversity, leading to an unhealthy gut microbiome
  • Unhealthy microbiomes can increase anxiety by weakening the gut lining and affecting brain communication
  • Healthy fats from sources like olive oil, nuts, and seeds can benefit brain health and reduce inflammation

Feeling stressed? You might reach for a comforting burger or samosa, but a new study suggests this common coping mechanism may backfire. Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder found that a high-fat diet in animals disrupts gut bacteria, alters behavior, and influences brain chemistry in ways that increase anxiety (1 Trusted Source
Why you eat unhealthy food when you’re stressed

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Study Links High-Fat Diet to Anxiety

The study compared two groups of animals: one fed a regular diet and another fed a high-fat diet. The high-fat group not only gained weight but also showed a significant decrease in gut bacteria diversity. This decrease in diversity is linked to an unhealthy gut microbiome.

Researchers also observed a higher expression of genes involved in the production and signaling of serotonin in the high-fat diet group. While serotonin is often associated with feelings of well-being, specific serotonin pathways can trigger anxiety-like responses in animals.

The Gut-Brain Connection

The study proposes a link between the unhealthy microbiome caused by a high-fat diet and increased anxiety. The researchers believe that an unhealthy microbiome weakens the gut lining, allowing bacteria to enter the bloodstream and potentially communicate with the brain via the vagus nerve, a pathway connecting the gut and the brain.

The study highlights the importance of differentiating between healthy and unhealthy fats. While burgers and samosas are often high in unhealthy fats, other foods like fish, olive oil, nuts, and seeds contain healthy fats that can be beneficial for brain health and may even have anti-inflammatory properties.

This study suggests a link between high-fat diets and increased anxiety in animals. The study highlights the importance of gut health and a balanced gut microbiome.

Not all fats are created equal! While burgers and fries may be high in unhealthy fats, other foods like olive oil, nuts, and seeds contain healthy fats that can be beneficial for brain health and may even have anti-inflammatory properties.

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So next time you’re feeling stressed, ditch the comfort food and reach for a brain-boosting option,such as a handful of almonds or a piece of fruit. Maintaining a balanced diet with a variety of healthy fats can contribute to overall well-being and potentially help you manage stress levels more effectively. For more information on the gut-brain connection and healthy eating, consider consulting a registered dietitian.

Reference:

  1. Why you eat unhealthy food when you’re stressed – (https://this.deakin.edu.au/self-improvement/eat-unhealthy-food-youre-stressed)

Source-Medindia

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