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Western Diet Turns On "Fat Genes" and Makes You Fat

sciencedaily.com | 12/01/09

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Read More: fat gene, standard american diet, western diet

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ScienceDaily (Dec. 1, 2009) -- Those extra helpings of gravy and dessert at the holiday table are even less of a help to your waistline than previously thought. According to a new research report recently appearing online in The FASEB Journal, a diet that is high in fat and in sugar actually switches on genes that ultimately cause our bodies to store too much fat.

This means these foods hit you with a double-whammy as the already difficult task of converting high-fat and high-sugar foods to energy is made even harder because these foods also turn our bodies into "supersized fat-storing" machines.

In the research report, scientists show that foods high in fat and sugar stimulate a known opioid 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.

According to Traci Ann Czyzyk-Morgan, one of the researchers involved in the work, "the data presented here support the hypothesis that overactivation of kappa opioid receptors contribute to the development of obesity specifically during prolonged consumption of high-fat, calorically dense diets."

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