Commentary: Diabesity and the food-brain relationship

Scientists from Imperial College London have enhanced our understanding of the food-brain relationship by discovering a brain mechanism that drives our appetite for foods rich in glucose, which could lead to treatments for diabesity.

Obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type-2 diabetes have reached epidemic proportions, yet few people understand how closely they’re related, and what causes them. Diabesity is a metabolic dysfunction that ranges from mild blood glucose imbalance to fully-fledged type-2 diabetes.

Intimate food-brain relationship
Diabesity accounts for between 65 and 85% of new cases of type-2 diabetes, and affects more than one billion people worldwide; including 60 million Europeans, and 100 million Americans.

For most people, neither dieting nor current pharmacological interventions are effective in achieving long-term weight reduction. Therefore, to prevent and treat diabesity we must develop approaches to modulate the ways in which the brain controls body weight.

"This is the first time anyone has discovered a system in the brain that responds to a specific nutrient, rather than energy intake in general, and it raises the potential that diabesity could be reduced and prevented by medication acting on the part of the brain that craves glucose,” says Dr James Gardiner who led the study.

Read more