Your belly fat could make you hungrier

April 17th, 2008 - 3:32 pm ICT by admin  

Toronto, April 17 (IANS) The extra fat we carry around our waist could be making us hungrier, so we eat more, which in turn leads to more belly fat. Yaiping Yang and his colleagues of the University of Western Ontario found abdominal fat tissue can reproduce a hormone that stimulates fat cell production.

Yang identified the hormone Neuropeptide Y (NPY) that is reproduced by abdominal fat tissue, earlier thought to be produced by the brain.

NPY is the most potent appetite-stimulating hormone known, sending signals to the individual that they are constantly hungry.

The traditional view is that one of the main reasons why overweight people eat more food is because their brains produce the hormone NPY in excessive amounts.

Yang has provided evidence that in obese rat models NPY is also produced locally by abdominal fat.

A fat cell cannot replicate itself. But the researchers found NPY increases fat cell number by stimulating the replication of fat cell precursor cells, which then change into fat cells.

Yang says: “This may lead to a vicious cycle where NPY produced in the brain causes you to eat more and therefore gain more fat around your middle, and then that fat produces more NYP hormone which leads to even more fat cells.”

Being overweight, regardless of where the fat is located, is unhealthy. However, because of its anatomical location and its by-products, abdominal fat or the apple-shape is known to be the most dangerous.

People predisposed to the apple shape are at an elevated risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and some cancers.

The findings were reported in a recent issue of The FASEB Journal.

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