We all know that starving yourself to lose a few pounds can zap your energy and kill your mood.
But would you believe that dieting turns you into a literal zombie? That's right: cut back on the calories, and you become a brain-eating zombie whose appetite cannot be satisfied. And the brain you're eating? Yours.
The science behind this disturbing notion is a new study in the August issue of Cell Metabolism. Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have discovered that food restriction induces brain cells in the hypothalamus to shift into self-annihilation mode. The brain cells start to eat themselves (a cell process called autophagy) in an act of martydom. You see, the neurons in the hypothalamus that become zombies normally regulate your appetite. When these cells gobble themselves up, it produces a hunger signal. Thanks to their self-sacrifice, you're suddenly motivated to end the famine and feed the brain.