Articles

Print

Achieve Weight Loss Lying Down Advice

Written by Suzanne Leigh

Weight loss panacea doesn't pan out. The discovery of a hormone once blamed for obesity is called into question.

If you were elated to hear that your oversized thighs or swollen midriff might be blamed on the deficiency of a fat-control hormone, a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist wants you to think again.

Leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells that sends signals to the brain to control eating, was once hailed as the key to controlling human obesity. Studies have shown that injecting the hormone into leptin-deficient mice reduced the amount of body fat, lowered food intake and increased energy expenditure.

But in an interview published in the Mayo Clinic's journal Oasis Dr. Michael D. Jensen said the function of leptin is to "protect us from being underweight rather than to prevent us from becoming overweight."

"I haven't seen any evidence that it's going to be an important contributor to weight regulation in humans. I could be wrong, but I see no indication that leptin is a major factor in causing people to be overweight," he said.

Instead, Jensen believes other factors predispose people to gaining weight. In people who are not overweight, it's possible that a substance in the brain, or from the muscles, prompts people who have eaten more than they need to reduce calorie intake over the next several meals. People who are overweight may lack this substance, he said.

"Everyone overeats at times. The question is: How do you respond to overeating? Do you consciously or subconsciously increase your calorie expenditure or reduce calorie intake to make up for it?" he said.

The bad news for people who struggle with obesity is that no quick fix is on the horizon. "We're probably not going to find something that will allow people to just lie in bed and burn off a lot of calories," Jensen said.

However, in 30 or 40 years' time, Jensen predicts that obesity will be, as polio is now, "a condition that once affected many people, but now, we don't even worry about it."

Related Items
Success in Dieting