Overeating Impacts Hormone That Controls Food Intake

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Overeating can be bad for you in a number of ways. Not only does it contribute to becoming overweight, overeating has also been associated with depression, social dysfunction, and can even develop into binge eating disorder over time.

Researchers still don’t completely understand the biological and mental factors that can lead someone to regularly overeat, but a new study from Thomas Jefferson University may partially explain how overeating perpetuates itself.

The findings published in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes suggest overeating may stop the production of an important hormone called uroguanylin which signals to your brain that the stomach is full. Without the hormone, a person can be compelled to eat significantly more than needed to become full.

For the study, the researchers observed two groups of mice. One group was fed a high-calorie diet until they became obese, while the other group was kept healthy and thin.

When testing the non-obese mice, the researchers noted that the hormone was being produced properly and appeared to cause the feeling of fullness to occur. However, this process was disrupted in the obese mice. Despite the systems that create and receive uroguanylin being undamaged, the hormone wasn’t being produced in the overweight mice. When these mice were put back onto a diet, the hormone began to reappear in tests.

The findings suggest overeating actually intervenes in the production of uroguanylin, which in turn perpetuates overeating even when a person is full. Even more interesting, the findings stayed consistent when tested on non-obese mice that were overeating.

This phenomena could potentially explain the biological aspects that contribute to conditions like binge eating disorder and disordered eating, however psychological aspects are still likely significant factors in the development of clinical eating disorders.

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