Washington: Heavy drinking and a high-fat diet are believed to go hand in hand. A new study in mice suggests that it is because of the same brain circuitry.
"Obesity and alcoholism, two of the most common chronic disorders in the United States, may be behaviourally linked as binge intake of palatable diets, such as diets high in fat, and binge alcohol intake may utilize the same neurocircuitry," said the researchers.
The research was conducted on early adult male mice and studied their drinking and eating patterns. They were classified into three groups. First group ‘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 ‘Normal Diet’ a normal rodent diet and the same limited access to the alcohol beverage. The third ‘Binge Diet’ had limited access to both the high-fat diet with a normal diet during non-access periods and the alcohol beverage.
Over the course of eight weeks, the ratio of alcohol to water was gradually increased from 10 to 20 per cent. Also, the animals 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 signal the brain to binge on alcohol. "Given the increasing rates of binge drinking and overall obesity rates in the US 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.