Podcast Transcript: Talk about your vicious cycles. A new study finds that belly fat could be making you hungrier. Which would lead to more belly fat. The research was performed at the University of Western Ontario. The culprit is a hormone called Neuropeptide Y, or NPY. It was thought that only the brain produced this hormone, but no, your belly fat can make it too. So NPY produced in the brain initially makes you eat more and gain weight around your middle, and then that fat makes more NPY, which makes you eat more.
Now, fat cells can’t reproduce themselves. But the release of NPY can stimulate the reproduction of cells that are precursors to fat cells. So the result is the same—more and more fat cells. The researchers next want to come up with a way to easily detect the presence of the hormone—and to turn it off. The hope is to identify and treat those people at greatest risk for becoming abdominally obese. Because it would be easier to prevent obesity than to treat the many diseases that obesity can lead to.