Obese stomachs tell us diets are doomed to fail

September 16, 2013, University of Adelaide

The way the stomach detects and tells our brains how full we are becomes damaged in obese people but does not return to normal once they lose weight, according to new research from the University of Adelaide.

Researchers believe this could be a key reason why most people who lose weight on a diet eventually put that weight back on.

In laboratory studies, University of Adelaide PhD student Stephen Kentish investigated the impact of a high-fat diet on the gut's ability to signal fullness, and whether those changes revert back to normal by .

The results, published in the International Journal of Obesity, show that the nerves in the that signal fullness to the appear to be desensitised after long-term consumption of a high-fat diet.

"The stomach's response does not return to normal upon return to a normal diet. This means you would need to eat more food before you felt the same degree of fullness as a healthy individual," says study leader Associate Professor Amanda Page from the University's Nerve-Gut Research Laboratory.

"A hormone in the body, leptin, known to regulate , can also change the sensitivity of the nerves in the stomach that signal fullness. In normal conditions, leptin acts to stop food intake. However, in the stomach in high-fat diet induced obesity, leptin further desensitises the nerves that detect fullness.

"These two mechanisms combined mean that obese people need to eat more to feel full, which in turn continues their cycle of obesity."

Associate Professor Page says the results have "very strong implications for obese people, those trying to lose weight, and those who are trying to maintain their weight loss".

"Unfortunately, our results show that the nerves in the stomach remain desensitised to fullness after weight loss has been achieved," she says.

Associate Professor Page says they're not yet sure whether this effect is permanent or just long-lasting.

"We know that only about 5% of people on diets are able to maintain their weight loss, and that most people who've been on a diet put all of that weight back on within two years," she says.

"More research is needed to determine how long the effect lasts, and whether there is any way - chemical or otherwise - to trick the stomach into resetting itself to normal."

Explore further: Bariatric surgery restores nerve cell properties altered by diet

More information: www.nature.com/ijo/journal/vao … ull/ijo2013138a.html

Related Stories

Bariatric surgery restores nerve cell properties altered by diet

June 17, 2013
Understanding how gastric bypass surgery changes the properties of nerve cells that help regulate the digestive system could lead to new treatments that produce the same results without surgery, according to Penn State College ...

Your gut bacteria may predict your obesity risk

August 28, 2013
(HealthDay)—Bacteria in people's digestive systems—gut germs—seem to affect whether they become overweight or obese, and new research sheds more light on why that might be.

Injecting botox into stomach does not promote weight loss

January 28, 2013
Despite conflicting data in support of the practice, some overweight Americans looking for an easy fix have turned to gastric botox injections to help them lose weight. This month in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, ...

Study suggests focus on lifestyle changes—not weight loss—is key to kids' health

August 22, 2013
A UCLA School of Nursing study has found that both healthy-weight and obese children who participated in an intensive lifestyle modification program significantly improved their metabolic and cardiovascular health despite ...

High-fat diets may spur overeating, mouse study suggests

August 15, 2013
(HealthDay)—Many people who have tried to give up fatty foods in favor of healthier choices have found themselves obsessing over cookies or chips. Choosing a salad over a cheeseburger can feel like a Herculean act of will.

Calorie-restricted weight loss restores ghrelin sensitivity

January 21, 2013
(HealthDay)—In a mouse model, calorie-restricted weight loss reverses the high-fat diet-induced ghrelin resistance that may contribute to rebound weight gain, according to research published online Jan. 10 in Endocrinology.

Recommended for you

Evening hours may pose higher risk for overeating, especially when under stress, study finds

January 16, 2018
Experiments with a small group of overweight men and women have added to evidence that "hunger hormone" levels rise and "satiety (or fullness) hormone" levels decrease in the evening. The findings also suggest that stress ...

Bariatric surgery prolongs lifespan in obese

January 16, 2018
Obese, middle-age men and women who had bariatric surgery have half the death rate of those who had traditional medical treatment over a 10-year period, reports a study that answers questions about the long-term risk of the ...

Sugar-sweetened drinks linked to overweight and obesity in children, adults: Analysis of new studies

December 23, 2017
A new review of the latest evidence on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs)- which includes 30 new studies published between 2013 and 2015 (and none of them industry sponsored) - concludes that SSB consumption is associated with ...

As income rises, women get slimmer—but not men

December 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—A comprehensive survey on the widening American waistline finds that as paychecks get bigger, women's average weight tends to drop.

Policy and early intervention can curb obesity rates

December 18, 2017
More information and emphasis on dietary lifestyle changes that prevent obesity, and its comorbidities, have not reduced the rise in obesity in U.S. adults and adolescents, according to a recent study in the New England Journal ...

Warning labels can help reduce soda consumption and obesity, new study suggests

December 15, 2017
Labels that warn people about the risks of drinking soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages can lower obesity and overweight prevalence, suggests a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.