A recent Qatari study found that eating… Highly processed foods – Such as ready meals, fast food, frozen microwave meals, and instant noodles – can impair the sense of smell.
The study was conducted by researchers from Sidra Medicine, a member of Qatar Foundation, in cooperation with teams from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil and the Monell Chemical Sciences Center in the United States of America. It was published in the journal Molecular Metabolism and was conducted on mice.
The study demonstrated that short-term consumption of highly processed foods can impair brain metabolism and sense of smell in mice.
The study was supervised by Sidra Medicine's Dr. Louis R. Saraiva is associate director of the Division of Human Disease Modeling and Therapeutics.
The research team explored the short-term impact of consuming highly processed foods on the body, especially in light of increasing global obesity rates and current health concerns.
The mice were fed three different diets: a standard grain-based diet, a highly processed diet, and a high-fat diet.
The researchers conducted a comprehensive series of tests, covering behavioral and metabolic patterns, olfactory electromyographic recordings, imaging of glucose metabolism in the brain, and measurement of mitochondrial respiration. Advanced RNA sequencing was also performed on samples taken from the nose. And different areas of the brain to understand genetic influence.
Early olfactory and cerebral abnormalities
Researcher Dr. Melanie Makhlouf from Sidra Medicine said that the study showed that consuming highly processed foods, even if for a short period, is sufficient to cause early olfactory and brain abnormalities. This means that this type of food is capable of changing the consumer’s dietary choices and causing him to suffer from metabolic diseases.
She explained that these findings are a crucial reminder of the rapid and harmful effects that processed foods can have on key biological systems, and they also shed light on the potential risks associated with indulging in processed foods, even in the short term.
She pointed out that the results are a source of concern, especially since processed foods have become an essential component of many home diets.
This study is an important addition to the existing literature on the health effects of processed foods, and raises fundamental questions about dietary choices in contemporary society.
For his part, Dr. Luis Saraiva said that the results of this study are a call for attention, as they show how quickly diets rich in processed foods can lead to changes in brain function, which may affect behaviors and food choices. He added that the study will have major implications for dietary guidelines, public health policies, and future research directions in the field of nutrition and neuroscience.