8th July 2011
Natural chemicals within the body make it hard to resist fatty food, meaning people's average weight is moving upwards.
A research team at UC Irvine in the US found that endocannabinoids, a natural marijuana-like chemical, is produced when rats eat fatty foods, prompting the body to want more.
Lead researcher Daniele Piomelli said the reaction is linked to animals' need to consume fats, which can be scarce in nature. However, in today's society, where fatty foods are readily available, eating too much can lead to diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cancer.
The study suggests that in the future a weight loss treatment could be developed which 'clogs' the body's cannabinoid receptors, diminishing the effects of these chemicals.
Details of the study are featured in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Current government statistics show that almost one in four adults in the UK are overweight. It has been suggested that over 60 per cent of men and 50 per cent of women could be overweight by 2050.
Posted by Edward Bartel
1. Nicholas V. Dipatrizio, Giuseppe Astarita, Gary Schwartz, Xiaosong Li, Daniele Piomelli. Endocannabinoid signal in the gut controls dietary fat intake. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011
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