David “Fathead” Newman played on many of Ray Charles’ greatest hits. But he didn’t earn his nickname because of how he looked when he played the sax. He got it from his high school music teacher because he refused to learn to read music, preferring to play by ear. Seems being a fathead worked out pretty well for him. It sure doesn’t for most people.

A study published in Cell Metabolism reveals that a high-fat diet doesn’t just pack on pounds because it’s so calorie-dense. Long before you see your belly bursting over your belt, the excess fat (mostly saturated and trans fats that are combined with highly processed carbs) has caused neurological changes in your brain.

It seems the hypothalamus, which regulates metabolism and helps control your weight, becomes inflamed. That leads to dysregulation in how your body uses energy and manages glucose, and it might set you up for chronic depression by altering a signaling pathway from the hypothalamus that helps regulate emotions.

This clearly shows that ditching a high-fat diet is not just about losing weight (although that’s important for your health and longevity), it’s also about how your brain works and whether you’re happy or depressed! So stick with healthy fats from salmon and sea trout, olive oil, nuts, avocados and vegetable oils. And make sure you consume less than 20 grams (around 200 calories) of saturated fat daily. There’s less than 3 grams of saturated fat in a 3-ounce skinless chicken breast, and just under 2 grams in a tablespoon of olive oil.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

© 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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