Monday, December 7, 2009

Western, High-Fat Diets Turn On Fat Genes

(ScienceDaily Summary)

It's no surprise that consuming an excess of calories, especially from fats (they are the most energy dense, with 9 calories per gram) results in excess fat storage. According to new research, diets that are high in fat and sugar content, more commonly known as 'Western' diets, actually switch on genes that cause our bodies to store even more fat - more than we're supposed to.

According to the study, high fat and high sugar foods hit our bodies with a double whammy - not only are those foods already difficult to metabolize, but they also turn our bodies into fat-storing machines. In the report, it was shown that foods high in fat and sugar stimulate a receptor, called the kappa opioid receptor, which plays a role in fat metabolism. When this receptor is stimulated, it causes our bodies to hold on to far more fat than our bodies would do otherwise.

In evolutionary times, when food was scarce, this may have saved our lives by allowing us to store more energy than normal. Today, however, this research provides more proof that high-fat and high-sugar diets should be avoided.

Check out more about this study in the article called "Western Diets Turn on Fat Genes: Energy-Dense Foods May Activate Genes That Ultimately Make Us Obese" from ScienceDaily (Dec 1, 2009).