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Can’t Resist Fatty Foods? New Study Reveals How To Prevent A High-fat Diet From Disrupting Your Metabolism

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The secret to a healthy metabolism: Study finds ways to prevent high-fat diet from wreaking havoc

A protein inhibitor removal restores metabolic balance, according to biologists

A high-fat diet can increase the risk of metabolic disorders, yet the reasons behind this have not been fully understood. However, biologists at the University of California, Irvine, have made a significant discovery on how to prevent the detrimental effects caused by a high-fat diet.

Their research has been published in Nature Communications.

The focus of the research at UC Irvine was on the protein complex AMPK, which monitors the body’s nutrient levels and takes steps to maintain a healthy balance. For instance, if AMPK detects low glucose levels, it can increase the breakdown of lipids to generate energy.

It has been previously known that consuming high amounts of fat hinders AMPK’s function, leading to metabolic imbalances. However, how cells hinder this mechanism has not been extensively studied, especially in live models – until now.

The biologists at UCI decided to investigate the role of SAPS3, a component of AMPK, in blocking the mechanism that maintains metabolic balance in response to high-fat diets. They removed SAPS3 from the genome of a group of mice and fed them a diet with a 45 percent fat content. The outcomes were remarkable and surprising even to the researchers.

Eliminating the SAPS3 inhibitor component liberated AMPK in the mice, leading to its activation and enabling them to maintain a regular energy balance even when consuming a significant amount of fat.

“We were surprised,” remarked corresponding author Mei Kong, “by how well they maintained normal weight, avoiding obesity and development of diabetes.”

Ying Yang, a project scientist in the Kong lab and the study’s first author, stated that the discovery could potentially lead to a novel approach to addressing metabolism-related conditions.

By blocking the inhibition activity, it could help people reactivate their AMPK and overcome disorders such as obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver disease. It’s critical to recognize how vital normal metabolic function is for every aspect of the body, added Yang.

The researchers are currently focused on developing molecules that could inhibit SAPS3 and restore metabolic balance. They also plan to investigate SAPS3’s role in other conditions associated with disrupted metabolic systems, such as cancer and aging.

The discovery is significant as metabolic-related diseases like obesity and diabetes are on the rise. According to the World Obesity Federation, over half of the global population is projected to be overweight or obese by 2035, compared to 38 percent in 2020.

Similarly, the number of people with diabetes worldwide is predicted to increase by 25 percent from 2019 to 578 million by 2030, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Image Credit: Getty

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