Scientists are always searching for a physical explanation for why some of us pack on pounds much more easily than others--even when consuming fewer calories. And this week they seem to be closer to an answer--and maybe a drug or injection that jumpstarts fat burning.
Our intestines produce a fat-storing hormone called neurotensin--and if you produce a lot of it, you're twice as likely to be obese when you're middle aged as someone whose levels are less elevated, researchers at the University of Kentucky found. When mice had low levels of the gut hormone they didn't gain weight even when they were fed a high-fat diet. Even better, they were less likely to develop insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.
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To replicate their findings in humans, researchers looked at the neurotensin levels in 4,600 people in Sweden participating in a cancer and diet study. Again, they discovered that people with too much of the gut hormone had more belly fat and were fatter overall than those with lower levels.
How will that lead to new medications to speed slimming? Doctors think the discovery could lead to a drug that blocks the body's ability to produce too much of the hormone.
In the meantime, take a look at these 60-second weight loss tricks.
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