Friday, 14 Aug, 2009 Health & Fitness

Fast Food Can Make You Dumb


Researchers from Oxford University discovered that the consumption of burgers, kebabs, chips and other high-fat food could make a person less intelligent. While carrying out their experiments on rats, scientists found that in about 10 days the high-fat diet managed to damage their short-term memory and had a negative effect on their mental capacity. In addition, the diet reduced the rodents' ability to exercise. Such outcomes were dubbed "high-fat hangover".

A team of biological researchers says the study's results demonstrate that what we eat has a significant influence on the performance of our bodies. According to Andrew Murray, the scientist who co-authored the research, western diets have high levels of fat, which has been linked the development of obesity, diabetes and heart failures in the long-run. Very little attention, however, is paid to high-fat diets in the short-run.

Scientists compared rats that were fed with high-fat junk food, comprising 55 percent of calories as fat, with rodents fed with low-fat diet that featured only 7.5 percent of calories as fat. It was found that rats fed with high-fat diet increased in size and their hearts started working harder. Such outcomes result from the fact that the rodents' muscles could not use oxygen properly in order to produce the energy required for exercise.

In just 9 days on high-fat diet rats were 50 percent slower at completing a maze. Besides, they made a lot of mistakes during the process compared to rodents that were on low-fat diet.

Afterwards scientists analyzed muscle cells to find the cause of these problems. They discovered increased levels of uncoupling protein 3. This protein was the reason why muscle cells used less oxygen.

The results of the study were published by the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology. The study could be useful in helping patients who suffer from metabolic disorders. Currently researchers study the short-term effect of high-fat diet on people.

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