Hunger Hormone May Aid in Weight Loss
Timeless Health Tip
There aren't many of us who don't know what it is like to try to fight off that fat and then keep it off. The New England Journal of Medicine reports of a study that shows this may be caused by a hormone called ghrelin, which is secreted by the stomach and believed to trigger appetite in humans.
According to the study, people who diet have higher levels of ghrelin (up to 50-percent higher) than do gastric bypass patients, making it more difficult for dieters to lose weight and keep it off. The rise in ghrelin caused by dieting and several other forms of weight loss is part of the body's normal adaptive response.
When we lose weight, the body senses this as famine and triggers a survival mechanism to keep our weight constant. Our metabolism drops and we feel hungrier so we eat more. Currently, gastric bypass surgery is the only method known to short-circuit this normal body response, perhaps in part by disabling ghrelin-producing cells. This is not to say gastric bypass is for anyone dealing with this dilemma - gastric bypass is still (and rightfully so) only recommended for the morbidly obese.
However, researchers now have reason to hope that these findings will lead to a new generation of effective and safe drugs for modestly overweight people.