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Reported December 24, 2012

Fighting Obesity: Trick or Treat?

 

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Nearly 70 percent of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now, a simple trick may hold the key to battling obesity.
 
Researchers reported that a malfunction in the gut’s taste sensors may play a role in the development of obesity, and tricking those sensors into thinking the body has just eaten may be a promising strategy to combat the disease.
When a person eats, the tongue isn’t the only part of the body that tastes it – so does the gut. The gut "tastes" bitter, sweet, fat, and savory through the use of signaling mechanisms, and releases hormones to control satiety and blood sugar levels.
 
"Targeting extra oral taste receptors that affect the release of hormones that control food intake may offer a new road to mimic these effects in a nonsurgical manner," said Dr. Inge Depoortere, of the Translational Research Center for Gastrointestinal Disorders at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.
 
"The effectiveness of bariatric surgery to cause profound weight loss and a decrease in the prevalence of diabetes and other obesity-related conditions is not completely understood, but it may involve changes in the release of gut hormones." 
 
Depoortere and Dr. Sara Janssen examined the possibility of targeting select taste receptors on cells in the gut to release horomones that signal a feeling of fullness. This would mimic the effects of a meal, and fool the body into thinking it has eaten.
 
Although growing evidence suggests this technique is a viable one, they said additional studies are needed to show which receptors might be effective drug targets for the prevention and treatment of obesity and diabetes.
 
Source: Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism
 
 
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