Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/15/2013 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Scientists discover root cause of obesity and why diets fail.

After decades of dead-end research and fad diets, scientists have finally found just what makes people obese and why it's so difficult for them to lose weight and keep it off. The cause is genetic and will allow researchers to focus on more effective means of managing weight in patients.

It's not just about willpower, as often assumed.

It's not just about willpower, as often assumed.

Article Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/15/2013 (9 months ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Diets, obesity, cause, shame, ghrelin


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Are obese people heavy because they are lazy, or lazy because they're heavy? This is as far as most Americans go when thinking about obesity. And it's wrong.

 It may be that effort and hard work had very little to do with it. Certainly, caloric intake matters and exercise helps, but it could be that obese people begin life at a significant disadvantage, a disadvantage so great that willpower is almost useless.

It's not about effort. According to scientists, obese people begin life with two genetic strikes against them. A common variation in the "FTO" gene makes people susceptible to obesity. Each person has two copies of the gene, one from each parent, and if one or both are defective, it will almost cause obesity in at least 70 percent of the recipients.

Individuals with defective FTO genes have higher levels of the "hunger hormone" ghrelin, and have a disposition o prefer fatty foods. They also have larger bellies as a result of the gene, which are subsequently enlarged by their intake.

The implications of these findings are important for several reasons. For one, it means that people who are obese should not be shamed or blamed entirely for their weight, especially when they struggle to control it. Obese people are predisposed to consume larger quantities of fatty foods before they feel satisfied. They're born this way, not made. It's an important distinction.

Normally, our bodies tell us to stop eating after a certain point. In obese people, that cue to stop comes much later.

Another implication of the study is that we need to revisit our strategies for promoting weight management for the obese. As a nation, we spend billions every year on fad diets, supplements that we take as pills, drink in shakes or coffee, and resort to expensive surgeries to reduce our weight. Now we know why these solutions fail, even if they offer some hope in clinical trials.

Obese people are much more likely to be genetically disposed to defeat any weight loss routine, even surgery, because the underlying cause, which is genetic, isn't being addressed.

Until new treatment options are developed, doctors suggest managing the abnormally high levels of ghrelin. Exercise, such as cycling, does reduce ghrelin levels in subjects. Also, eating high-protein food is known to help reduce the hormone.

For now, the advice is the old time-tested, eat right and exercise advice. However, this can be difficult for people who are already heavy. As a society, developing programs that start in childhood and entrench long-term healthy habits would help substantially.

Of course, we could also stop blaming and shaming overweight people altogether. That would help too.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



Comments


More Health

WHICH IS WORSE? 'I'd rather have HIV than diabetes,' one controversial doctor says Watch

Image of Dr. Max Pemberton say that it is now very rare for someone to die of HIV in the U.K. and that, in fact, people with the virus have a very similar life expectancy to people who are HIV-negative.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

At one time, HIV and AIDS was considered a horrifying death sentence. There was no way to control it, and those who suffered from it would suffer, long painful deaths as their faculties fell away. Diabetes, on the other hand, was a given for those who ... continue reading


Death lurks about the cutting board: Kitchens could be sources of drug-resistant bacteria, experts warn Watch

Image of Ironically, the cutting board -- and NOT the knife, represents the greatest threat to health and safety, experts say.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There's a killer lurking undetected in many ordinary kitchens, experts warn. Cutting boards used to prepare raw poultry may be an important source of drug-resistant bacteria in both hospital kitchens and private homes, a new study warns. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Uh-oh! One in every 20 adults seeking medical care walks away misdiagnosed Watch

Image of In little more than five percent of cases, the original diagnosis was wrong and could have been accurately detected by the information available in the first setting.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you're diligent and go to your doctor regularly - you still may not be getting a clean bill of health. According to a new study, one in 20 Americans who see their doctor may walk away having their condition misdiagnosed. Twelve million Americans a year could ... continue reading


Analysis: Millions wasted on shoddy flu drug, Tamiflu Watch

Image of The analysis, from the Cochrane Collaboration claims Tamiflu did not prevent the spread of flu or reduce dangerous complications.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's an especially harsh analysis for a drug that many people keep in their bathroom mirror for a sudden outbreak of the sniffles. A new analysis says that many millions may have been wasted on Tamiflu, a common drug used to treat flu symptoms. According to the ... continue reading


Deadly H5N1 bird flu virus could easily mutate to spread from human to human Watch

Image of When the healthy ferret developed flu symptoms, such as ruffled fur, loss of appetite and lack of energy - researchers knew the virus had spread through the air.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The avian flu, or H5N1 virus was so deadly scientists once halted research as governments feared it might be used by terrorists to stage a biological attack. The dreaded H5N1 avian influenza has since killed 60 percent of the 650 humans known to be infected ... continue reading


Scottish scientists successfully regenerate organ in mouse - could humans be next? Watch

Image of After the regeneration, the treated mice also started to make more T-cells, which is a type of white blood cell key to fighting infections.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A breakthrough which may pave the way for the technique to be used in humans has been uncovered by Scottish scientists. Researchers have been able to fully restore an organ in a living animal for the first time.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The team ... continue reading


New drug used to treat breast cancer heralded as 'quite groundbreaking' Watch

Image of While Pfizer remains in the lead to bring this new class of drugs to market, Novartis has begun late-stage testing of its own CDK 4/6 inhibitor.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An important treatment option in the fight against breast cancer may be waiting in the wings. Researchers say a new type of drug could help prevent advanced breast cancer from worsening. The potential is great for breast cancer patients, and makes for a ... continue reading


Delicious Earl Grey tea found to have hidden health benefit Watch

Image of Bergamot is a Mediterranean citrus fruit which gives Earl Grey its distinct taste and smell. It has enjoyed popularity among the upper and middle classes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Many drink it for its taste and the enjoyment it brings, without thought of it being "good for them." Scientists now say that Earl Grey tea can lower cholesterol and reduce the chances of heart disease. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A popular beverage ... continue reading


Deaf since birth, woman hears - for the first time Watch

Image of Deaf since birth, 40-year-old Joanne Milne received cochlear implants - and is now learning to hear the world for the very first time. Electronic implants were switched on, and Milne burst into tears when the sound of a nurse reciting the days of the week gave her the first sensation of sound.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Deaf since birth, 40-year-old Joanne Milne received cochlear implants - and is now learning to hear the world for the very first time. Electronic implants were switched on, and Milne burst into tears when the sound of a nurse reciting the days of the week gave ... continue reading


Two people in United Kingdom contract tuberculosis - from their cats Watch

Image of Public Health England believed the risk of transmission from cats to humans was

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Tuberculosis has roared back into the public consciousness with the spread of a new drug-resistant strain. There are reports from the United Kingdom, now of two people there - who contracted the deadly airborne from their cats. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


All Health News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 3:1-10
1 Once, when Peter and John were going up to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh, call on his name, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:13-35
13 Now that very same day, two of them were on their ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 23rd, 2014 Image

St. George
April 23: Pictures of St. George usually show him killing a dragon to ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter