A new study published in Cell Reports suggests that there is a “remarkable difference in the sexes when it comes to how the body responds to high-fat diets," lead researcher Dr. Deborah Clegg told Food Navigator.
In a study conducted using male and female mice, researchers discovered that the same high-fat diet (HFD) — the equivalent of a steady diet of hamburgers and soda — resulted in brain inflammation and damaged heart function for male mice, while female mice showed no brain inflammation or heart damage, given an identical diet over the course of 16 weeks.
Brain inflammation has previous been connected to insulin and leptin resistance, which “facilitates the inset of cardiovascular disease” and other obesity-related diseases.
“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, Dr. Clegg told Food Navigator. “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.”