Irvine, Calif. – Never mind the comfort of carbs. It’s the fat in french fries and potato chips that make these types of foods almost impossible to resist.
Researchers at the University of California – Irvine have found that the fats in these types of foods trigger marijuana-like chemicals in the body called endocannabinoids, driving consumers to eat more.
In their study, the researchers found that when rats tasted something fatty, cells in their upper gut started producing endocannabinoids.
Sugars and proteins did not have the same effect, reports the University.
Triggers “wanton intake”
The process, say the researchers, starts on the tongue, where fats in food generate a signal that travels first to the brain and then through a nerve bundle to the intestines.
There the signal stimulates production of endocannabinoids, which initiates a surge in cell signaling “that prompts the wanton intake of fatty foods,” say the researchers.
Researchers say the study is a demonstration that endocannbinoids signaling in the gut plays an important role in regulating fat intake.