March 05, 2021   9:26am

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It may not be your gluttonous ways that make you fat (but it is your diet).

According to a recent study “Western diets turn on fat genes,”* having a diet high in fat and sugar turns on fat-storing genes that makes your body store too much fat. Called the kappa opiod receptor (connected to your body’s metabolism), it is stimulated by fatty sugary foods and is the culprit that keeps our fat locked inside our bodies.

The test was conducted on two groups of mice. One group had the receptor deactivated while the other group remained normal. After eating a diet high in sugar and fat for 16 weeks, the control group gained far more weight than the deactivated kappa opioid receptor group, but this deactivated group also was not able to store as many nutrients.

What a cruel adaptation. Or is it? Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB** Journal Gerald Weissmann says, “In times when food was scarce and starvation an ever-present threat, an adaptation that allows our bodies to store as much energy as possible during plentiful times was probably a lifesaver.”

Lifesaver then, maybe, but now it’s just a fat-saver. Wouldn’t it be great if we had an evolutionary adaptation that boosted our metabolism during the holidays?!


*, “Western diets turn on fat genes,” November 30, 2009

** Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

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