Heavy drinking and a high fat diet may have a deeper link than we thought. As per a new study conducted on mice, heavy drinking and a high-fat diet go hand in hand because of the same brain circuitry.
“Obesity and alcoholism, two of the most common chronic disorders in the United States, may be behaviorally linked as binge intake of palatable diets, such as diets high in fat, and binge alcohol intake may utilise the same neurocircuitry,” said the researchers.
For the study, the researchers studied the drinking and eating patterns of three groups of early adult male mice.
The three groups were classified as, ‘high-fat diet’, ‘normal diet’ and ‘binge diet’. First group that was put on ‘high-fat diet’ had continuous access to a high-fat diet but controlled access to drinking water mixed with alcohol for four hours, four days a week.
The second group which had ‘normal diet’ was made to eat a normal rodent diet and the same limited access to the alcohol beverage. The third group that had ‘binge diet’ had limited access to both the high-fat diet with a normal diet during non-access periods and the alcohol beverage.
The researchers, over the course of eight weeks, gradually increased ratio of alcohol to water from 10 to 20 per cent. The rodents were given free access to drinking water throughout.
The binge diet group showed a weight gain and loss cycle associated with binge eating. The mice drank more alcohol than water depicting a clear preference for alcohol. The other two groups consumed less alcohol than the binge diet group. These results suggest that controlling the access to high-fat diets promotes binge-like eating patterns, which signals the brain to binge on alcohol.
“Given the increasing rates of binge drinking and overall obesity rates in the U.S. in recent years, we think this new mouse model will be of critical importance in the near future,” wrote Caitlin, first author of the study.