Researchers say a high-fat diet may lead to over-consumption of tasty snacks according to a recent study done on rats. It is believed that regular eating habits could affect sensitivity to a hormone that tells us when to stop eating.
For the study researchers observed the effects of the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK) on two groups of rats. CCK is released in the small intestine in the presence of fat or protein, triggering the activation of nerves to send 'stop eating' signals to the brain. Over a 20-day period, one group was fed a long-term high-fat diet, and the other a long-term low-fat diet with an equivalent calorie loads. For three hours a day, both groups were given access to a high-calorie, high-fat snack that rats find delicious. When CCK was administered to the rats, researchers say they noticed that those on the low-fat diet reigned in their consumption of the snack food but those on the high-fat diet continued to eat as much as 40 percent more.
The results indicate that a long-term, high-fat diet may actually promote short-term over-consumption of highly palatable foods high in dietary fat by reducing sensitivity to at least one important feedback signal which would ordinarily limit eating say specialists.
Till date no human study has been carried to assess the relation between CCK and snacking, however researchers say in studies where human subjects have reported increased hunger, declining fullness and a desire to eat more when on a high fat diet, the subjects were found to have more CCK in their bloodstream but were less responsive to it.
Researchers also point out to an interesting finding, saying that despite gorging on the snack food the high-fat diet rats were no fatter than those on the low fat diet. The reason being that unlike humans, rats have an innate ability to compensate for over consumption and the high-fat group simply adjusted their routine food consumption to compensate.