Now this is a study that dieters can sink their teeth into! New research indicates that you can prevent gaining weight by sticking to a high-fat diet.
Wait … what?
You read correct! The new study showed that activating a certain protein pathway could help avoid increasing fat cells when being placed on a diet filled with fat. The research stems from the St. Louis’ Washington University of School Medicine where senior study author Fanxin Long, Ph.D. and his colleagues used mice to test their response when on a high-fat diet.
People gain weight commonly due to an imbalance in energy where caloric intake outweighs the amount of calories burned; and over time, the imbalance results in an individual’s body storing weight, which can eventually turn into obesity.
As such, high-fat foods, specifically saturated fats, are often thought to be a key driver when it comes to being overweight or obese; especially if consumed in large quantities.
Still, the research team believes there is a way to avoid weight gain and that is through a diet filled with fats.
Medical News Today reported that the study that authors had a focus on the Hedgehog signaling pathway that involves a multi-faceted network of proteins. Past studies using mice have revealed that this pathway can stop the forming of fat cells, also referred to ask adipogenesis. As per Long and his colleagues, most past studies that have reviewed the effects of Hedgehog signalling when it comes to adipogenesis have done so throughout embryonic development. Therefore, they have not been clear around activation of this path as it relates to fat cells forming in adulthood.
In order to get to the bottom of this, the team placed genes within adult mice that set off the Hedgehog signaling to respond to a high-fat diet. The mice were given this type of diet for eight weeks in total.
There was a controlled group of rodents who did not have an activated Hedgehog signaling pathway and ate foods filled with fat, whom turned out to be obese after eight weeks; whereas the genetically engineered rodents did not gain any weight, while on the same food.
This just might be one strong step forward in the fight against obesity today; something that is plaguing North America as of late. Still, applying these results to humans could be a challenge. The team noted that increased Hedgehog signaling has been connected to cancer risks in the past.
The researchers do believe that the results are promising when it comes to finding a way to avoid weight and obesity. Long stated if they could come up with a strategy to carefully focus on fat cells when activating the Hedgehog signaling pathway, then there is a chance to beat the issue of weight gain and obesity.