What Overeating Can Do to Your Body

What Overeating Can Do to Your Body

By Shakir Sayani

It has perhaps happened to all of us sometimes in our life: the urge to indulge in fast-food. And, moreover, we have been all tempted to order a larger size of the side order of fries. However, fortunately, for most of us this may not be a common occurrence. Yet there are millions of individuals that maintain a fast-food diet. One question beyond the obvious unhealthy factor and the weight gain is the slow but subtle changes associated with the consumption of fast food. How do our bodies react beyond the obvious weight gain? More importantly, what occurs inside of our bodies?

To address this question, a research team led by Salim Merali at the Temple University School of Medicine enlisted six healthy men and indulged them in overeating for a period of one week. These men were fed a high-calorie diet consisting of 50% carbohydrates, 35% fat and 15% protein. After the conclusion of the week-long study, the investigators obtained a few surprising results. Within a week of overeating, the men had begun to develop signs of insulin resistance as assessed by poor glucose uptake. Furthermore, fat cells underwent severe oxidative stress.

An important consequence of the oxidative stress was that it began to interfere with the function of normal proteins within the cell. One protein, called GLUT4, which is a major glucose transporter in the cell, caught the attention of the researchers. Oxidative stress causes GLUT4 to undergo a chemical modification known as carbonylation. This modification in turn causes GLUT4 instability and leads to a decline in the cell’s GLUT4 levels. Upon further investigating, researchers found that the carbonylation chemical modification occurred near the site of GLUT4’s glucose channel thereby severely affecting its normal function. However, given the complexity of signaling pathways inside the cell, the researchers also cited that there could be other stress pathways that are activated upon overeating.

Thus, it appears that affecting GLUT4 function as a result of oxidative stress is one of the major causes of the onset of insulin resistance. Although this study does help us illuminate a previously unidentified effect on GLUT4, the task of mapping the homeostatic changes that occur within our cells as a result of overeating still remains a largely unchartered territory. It would be incredibly advantageous if similar future studies began to shed light on the changes that may occur to other important proteins within our cells. Nevertheless, the present report is eye-opening since it offers insight into the rapid changes that occur within our bodies as a result of overeating. Hopefully, it will begin to make us a better judge of what and how much we consume on a daily basis.

The present study was published in the September 9th issue of the journal, Science Translational Medicine.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Learn more about PreScouter at www.prescouter.com.

Never miss an insight

Get insights delivered right to your inbox

More of Our Insights & Work
Popup Builder Mailchimp extension requires authentication.