The effects of high saturated fat and refined sugar diets on brain regions associated with appetite regulation

Excellence in Higher Degree Research – Social Sciences, Business & Humanities – 2013 Research Award Winners

Heather Francis, Faculty of Human Sciences

The typical Western diet, high in saturated fat and refined sugar (HFS), has been shown to adversely affect cognition, particularly cognitive functions associated with the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.

This research examined mechanisms underlying such cognitive changes using proteomic analysis methods. We then showed, for the first time, that the cognitive deficits identified in rodent models are also present in a human population.

Additionally, the impairments to hippocampal memory were accompanied by changes in hippocampal regulation of food intake, with broad implications for the prevention of prominent health issues in overweight and obese individuals.

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