Eating too much? It's all in the genes
It sounds like an all too convenient excuse to us, but scientists are claiming that a ‘gluttony gene’ may be responsible for over-eating and obesity in many cases.
A team of scientists from the Georgetown University Medical Centre in the US have apparently found that the Bdnf gene, or what they are calling the ‘gluttony gene’, was found in mice to prevent brain neurons from transmitting signals that tell the body it has eaten enough.
According to research carried out by the team, the release of the chemicals leptin and insulin into the body after a meal triggers signals in the brain which help a person deduce that they have had enough.
If the connection made between the chemical signals and the brain is not made, a person will apparently not be aware that they are in fact full and will continue on eating, even if they have just finished their third Big Mac meal at that stage.
The scientists at Georgetown discovered that "short" versions of the Bdnf gene block the chemical signals and prevent activation in the brain’s correct appetite-suppressing locations. Research carried out on mice discovered that mice born without the correct Bdnf gene become severely obese as well as suffering from impaired learning and memory.
"If there is a problem with the Bdnf gene, neurons can't talk to each other and the leptin and insulin signals are ineffective, and appetite is not modified,” said lead researcher Dr Baoki Xu.
“This discovery may open up novel strategies to help the brain control body weight."
We’re sure that there are probably many out there affected by the lack of a functioning gene to help suppress their appetites, but equally certain that it will be pounced on by others as a method of falsely explaining their expanding wastelines.
So the next time someone gives out to you for going back for seconds or taking just one more Chocolate Digestive from the biscuit tin, just blame it on the genes. It’s easier, after all.