Whoa, maybe don't jump all over that new Cheesecake Factory diet just yet: a new study says that dieting can force the brain to eat its own cells.
The study, led by researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University, concludes that brain cells will resort to eating themselves—a process scientifically known as autophagy—as a "last-ditch" attempt to ward off starvation. Then, as Science Daily helpfully explains, that act of "self-cannibalism" turns up a hunger signal to prompt eating (just, you know, try to avoid binging on those fatty foods).
"A pathway that is really important for every cell to turn over components in a kind of housekeeping process is also required to regulate appetite," said study leader Dr. Rajat Singh. "Treatments aimed at the pathway might make you less hungry and burn more fat, a good way to maintain energy balance in a world where calories are cheap and plentiful." Looking for a better way to lose weight? One diet technique that science condones is pretending your food is extra caloric, which, though stupid-sounding, won't actually destroy your brain.