SOLNA, Sweden — Could a way to literally have your cake and eat it too be coming to dinner tables soon? Scientists in Sweden say they have discovered a way to prevent or reverse conditions such as diabetes and obesity while patients continue to eat a high-fat diet.
Research on mice reveals the health-damaging effects of a fatty diet can be completely offset with the use of so-called antisense (ASO) treatment. In fact, mice who developed diabetes, fatty liver disease, and obesity after consuming a high-fat diet completely reverted to normal health after treatment.
Meanwhile, mice receiving treatment before being fed any fatty foods didn’t develop health problems in the first place.
Researchers from the Rolf Luft Research Center at the Karolinska Institute discovered that the treatment lowered the body’s levels of apolipoprotein CIII (apoCIII), a key regulator of fat metabolism. The research team studied two groups of mice, one eating a high-fat diet starting at the age of eight weeks and a control group staying on a normal diet.
Some of the mice on a high-fat diet received ASO treatment after 10 weeks on the diet to decrease apoCIII levels. Researchers gave the rest of these mice ASO treatment from the start to examine any increases in apoCIII while eating. The team then compared these animals to the ones in the control group.
“After a period of 10 weeks, all of the mice in the first group were obese, insulin resistant and had liver steatosis,” says study first author Dr. Ismael Valladolid-Acebes, assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, in a media release. “However, after ASO treatment, still being on the high-fat diet, there was a normalization of glucose metabolism, weight and liver morphology.”
“We could demonstrate that a lowering of apoCIII levels, despite ongoing intake of a high-fat diet, not only protects against, but also reverses the deleterious fat-induced metabolic derangements by promoting an overall increased insulin sensitivity,” adds study senior author Professor Lisa Juntti-Berggren.
The findings appear in the journal Science Advances.
SWNS writer William Janes contributed to this report.