In a recent study, researchers found there is an internal body weight sensing system.
This system operates like bathroom scales, registering body weight and thereby fat mass.
In the system, the weight of the body is registered in the lower extremities.
If the body weight tends to increase, a signal is sent to the brain to decrease food intake and keep the body weight constant.
The study was performed on obese rodents that were made artificially heavier by loading with extra weights.
The animals lost almost as much weight as the artificial load. The extra weights caused body fat to decrease and blood glucose levels to improve.
The body fat regulatory system discovered by the scientists in Gothenburg is the first new one since the discovery of the hormone, leptin, 23 years ago by American scientists.
However, today it seems unlikely that leptin alone will become a treatment for obesity.
The mechanism that the researchers have now identified regulates body fat mass independently of leptin, and it possible that leptin combined with activation of the internal body scales can become an effective treatment for obesity.
Lately, several studies of human populations have coupled sitting with obesity and bad health. The present results could explain why.
The team believes that the internal body scales give an inaccurately low measure when you sit down. As a result you eat more and gain weight.
The lead author is Claes Ohlsson.
The results are published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
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