Why do the kilos recover quickly after a diet?

Why do the kilos recover quickly after a diet?

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Research in Metabolism and Harvard Medical School have now shown in mice that communication in the brain changes during a diet: The nerve cells that mediate the feeling of hunger receive stronger signals, so the mice eat significantly more after the diet and gain weight more quickly. In the long term, these findings could help develop drugs to prevent this amplification and help maintain reduced body weight after dieting.

The researchers put the mice on a diet and tested which circuits in the brain changed. In particular, they examined a group of neurons in the hypothalamus, the AgRP neurons, which are known to control feelings of hunger. They were able to show that the neural pathways that stimulate AgRP neurons sent increased signals when the mice were on a diet. This profound change in the brain could be detected long after the diet.

The researchers were also able to selectively inhibit neural pathways in mice that activate AgRP neurons. This led to significantly less weight gain after the diet.

This work increases the understanding of how neural wiring diagrams control hunger. A key set of upstream neurons have previously been discovered that physically synapse and excite AgRP hunger neurons. In this study, they found that the physical neurotransmitter connection between these two neurons, in a process called synaptic plasticity, is greatly increased by diet and weight loss, leading to long-lasting excessive hunger.

The findings were published in the journal Cell Metabolism.


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