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14/12/2009

Western diets stimulates genes for "fat"

(NaturalNews) New research published in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) has found that the "Western" diet, typically high in sugar and fat, may be responsible for activating genes that signal the body to become fatter. According to scientists, the body's response to high amounts of energy-dense food is to activate the kappa opioid receptor which triggers increased fat storage.

Researchers arrived at this conclusion by conducting an experiment on two groups of mice. One group had its kappa opioid receptors genetically deactivated while the other remained intact. Both groups were fed diets high in fat and sugar for 16 weeks. At the end of 16 weeks, the group with the deactivated receptor remained lean while the control group gained significant weight.

Besides limiting their bodies' ability to store energy-dense food in their fat stores, the mice whose receptors had been deactivated were noted to also have a limited ability to assimilate and store nutrients from the foods they ingested.

Traci Ann Czyzyk-Morgan, one of the study's researchers, indicated that the findings prove the hypothesis long held by many in the scientific community that the kappa opioid receptor may be responsible for causing widespread obesity in Western countries. She and others continue to encourage people to avoid diets high in fat and sugar.

Now that they better understand the process by which fatty, sugary foods turn to fat, those in the medical community are seeking other options as well, including therapeutic ways of deactivating the receptors in order to help curb obesity.

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