Obese consumers could be physically unable to stop eating, according to new research, which reveals that obesity causes a breakdown in the system that regulates appetite.
Published in this month's issue of Cell Metabolism, the new study examines how people who are obese can become resistant to leptin, a hormone secreted by fat cells.
Leptin can suppress food intake by affecting brain cells that control appetite. However, according to scientists at the Oregon National Primate Research Center, high levels of leptin, which can be found in severely overweight individuals, can lead to the body no longer responding to the hormone's weight-suppressing effects.
The findings, which are primarily designed to help develop new weight loss drug therapies, could also provide clues as to why regulating body weight is often not as simple as providing consumers with 'healthier' food options.
The research was conducted in mice and involved two separate groups that were fed high-fat and low-fat diets.
Over time, the high-fat diet group developed symptoms of diabetes and obesity, as is often the case in humans, said the scientists. The low-fat group did not develop these health problems. - (Decision News, March 2007)
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