Researchers at Yale University are looking for solutions to the obesity epidemic in a rather unlikely area: the brain.
A new study has found a connection between a nuclear receptor in the hypothalamus and the suppression of weight gain.
While this study may lead to innovations in certain pharmaceuticals, this approach may also have its drawbacks.
For their study, which was performed on genetically engineered mice, the researchers focused on the PPAR gamma nuclear receptor, which is responsible for the activation of POMC neurons in the hypothalamus. POMC neurons have been found to be connected to appetite, as they signal to the body when you feel full.
When the researchers blocked the PPAR gamma receptor in a few of the neurons of a group of mice, they not only ate less food, but they found that the mice did not gain weight despite being fed a high-fat diet.
Lead author Sabrina Diano states, “these animals ate fat and sugar, and did not gain weight, while their control littermates did. We showed that the PPAR gamma receptor in neurons that produce POMC could control responses to a high-fat diet without resulting in obesity.”
The researchers state that this discovery could lead to innovations in the development of type 2 diabetes drugs as well, since many of the current medications on the market lead to weight gain despite lowering blood sugar levels.
While obesity and type 2 diabetes are certainly dangerous and need to be mitigated, there are a few red flags that this study raises. If, for example, individuals are given a medication (should one or more result from this research) which suppresses the PPAR gamma receptor, and therefore do not gain weight no matter what they eat, they may feel more at ease eating sugar, junk foods and processed foods, and guzzling soda, because they do not see outward health detriments in their waistlines.
However, there are more consequences to an unhealthy diet than just obesity. Sugar, for example, has been found to have a vast array of dangerous health effects, including immune system suppression, behavioral changes and a higher risk of many chronic illnesses.
Processed meats have been linked to an elevated risk of colorectal cancer, and processed foods in general, as well as fast foods, are brimming with numerous chemicals that can wreak havoc on your body.
While the new research from Yale is interesting, when it comes to combating obesity and type 2 diabetes, your best bet is a diet of real, organic foods, including plenty of fruits and veggies, eliminating sugar, wheat and processed foods, and getting regular exercise. Relying on a wonder drug is just asking for trouble.
-The Alternative Daily