Fat Gets You High

A new study finds that eating fatty foods triggers the release of endocannabinoids in the body, which are marijuana-like chemicals. And the feeling they give you makes you want to continue eating more fatty food.

The study “Endocannabinoid signal in the gut controls dietary fat intake” was published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

From the abstract:

Sham feeding a lipid-based meal stimulated endocannabinoid mobilization in the rat proximal small intestine by altering enzymatic activities that control endocannabinoid metabolism. This effect was abolished by surgical transection of the vagus nerve and was not observed in other peripheral organs or in brain regions that control feeding. Sham feeding of a nutritionally complete liquid meal produced a similar response to that of fat, whereas protein or carbohydrate alone had no such effect. Local infusion of the CB1-cannabinoid receptor antagonist, rimonabant, into the duodenum markedly reduced fat sham feeding. Similarly to rimonabant, systemic administration of the peripherally restricted CB1-receptor antagonist, URB 447, attenuated sham feeding of lipid. Collectively, the results suggest that the endocannabinoid system in the gut exerts a powerful regulatory control over fat intake and might be a target for antiobesity drugs.

A healthier way to stimulate endocannabinoids is to run or bike briskly for 50 minutes, generating a “floaty, free-form feeling of well-being” known as runner’s high. But that sounds like a lot of work so I’m just going to inhale this entire can of Pringles.

Endocannabinoid signal in the gut controls dietary fat intake [PNAS]
Body’s natural marijuana-like chemicals make fatty foods hard to resist [UCIrvine Today]
Fatty foods can trigger a marijuana effect, new research reports [The Independent]