Who needs weighing scales? Your body's in-built weight sensor can help combat obesity

The system, which regulates weight gain by calculating body weight and fat mass, could lead to a better understanding of the causes of obesity as well as new anti-obesity drugs.

By Zee Media Bureau | Updated: Dec 28, 2017, 18:37 PM IST
Who needs weighing scales? Your body's in-built weight sensor can help combat obesity
(Representational image)

New Delhi: Obesity is one of the biggest health problems at present, that is rapidly becoming a part of everyone's life. The rising number of obese people around the world just goes to show how we are allowing a particular lifestyle to dictate us into an unhealthy state of being.

Obesity is also a trigger for many other health problems like diabetes, hypertension and hormonal disorders.

Monitoring your body weight to maintain normalcy is important in this regard and it appears, you don't really need a weighing scale to do it.

Researchers have found that there is a weight sensing system within your own body that operates like bathroom scales, registering body weight and signaling the brain to reduce food intake.

The system, which regulates weight gain by calculating body weight and fat mass, could lead to a better understanding of the causes of obesity as well as new anti-obesity drugs.

The results also explain why several studies have coupled sitting habit with obesity and bad health. It is because the "internal body scales give an inaccurately low measure when you sit down. As a result you eat more and gain weight," the researchers said.

"We have found support for the existence of internal bathroom scales. The weight of the body is registered in the lower extremities. If the body weight tends to increase, a signal is sent to the brain to decrease food intake and keep the body weight constant," said John-Olov Jansson, Professor at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

Further, the results demonstrate that the weight sensing system regulates fat mass independently of leptin – a weight loss hormone. It is possible that leptin combined with activation of the internal body scales can become an effective treatment for obesity, the researchers said.

For the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the team performed experiments on obese rodents that were made artificially heavier by loading with extra weights.

The animals lost almost as much weight as the artificial load. The extra weights caused body fat to decrease and blood glucose levels to improve.

(With IANS inputs)