Obesity is currently seen as one of the world's biggest health problems, as it affects millions of people of all ages, ethnicities, and environments. One's risk to becoming obese is primarily determined by their genetics, lifestyle, and diet, and much research is being done to better understand how these affect the problem on a deeper level. An article written for Science Daily discusses scientists' recent finding of a genetic receptor that plays a role in developing obesity.
Scientists at King's College London and Imperial College London have been looking at how the FFAR2 (Free Fatty Acid Receptor 2) receptor affects the role of fermentable carbohydrates in the body. Fermentable carbohydrates are found in things such as bread, fruits, and vegetables, and are called fermentable carbohydrates because they are fermented easily in the digestive system. To test how these and the FFAR2 receptor combined affect the body, the scientists fed mice, with and without the FFAR2 receptor, foods high in fat containing fermentable carbohydrates and compared the results from these tests to a control group. It was found that mice with the FFAR2 receptor did not become obese despite the high fat diet, but the mice without the FFAR2 receptor did suffer from obesity.The mice with the FFAR2 receptor showed an increase in hormones that made them feel fuller faster, ultimately preventing the obesity. Because of this study, scientists can better understand how diet can affect appetite regulation, and they can now look into the possibility of changing the gut with diet or pharmaceuticals to treat obesity and many other gastrointestinal disorders. Professor Gary Frost, one of the leaders of the study made the comment that, "the fact it actually has a major impact on cells that help control appetite regulation in the colon is amazing." Because of this their next step is applying the knowledge from this study to humans and eventually create food systems to help people suffering from obesity.
This article intrigued me as I know a vast number of people in the world suffer from obesity, including members of my family and friends. The impact of obesity is huge, and as a nursing major I know in my future I will likely be faced with patients who suffer from obesity every single day. I want to be able to offer these patients the best advice that I can, so I'm glad research is being done on treating the problem.
King's College London. (2016, November 25). New target receptor discovered in the fight against obesity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 5, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161125104749.htm