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NEWS & VIEWS NATURE|Vol 439|26 January 2006 limited utility. High-fat, fast-food diets can

Summary: NEWS & VIEWS NATURE|Vol 439|26 January 2006
limited utility. High-fat, fast-food diets can
override delicate regulatory networks estab-
lished by appetite-regulating hormones, and it
has been difficult to develop drugs that reduce
food intake in the face of powerful environ-
mental influences. Moreover, drugs that block
fat absorption have limited efficacy.
Are there other approaches to combat obe-
sity? Endocrinologists have long known that
hormones can alter the body's fat content.
And although they cannot override the laws
of thermodynamics, hormones do alter the
energy-balance equation by increasing meta-
bolic rate. An illustration of this principle is
seen in disorders involving excess thyroid
hormone, where stimulation of metabolic rate
and decrease in body fat can occur even with
increased dietary intake. Thyroid hormone


Source: Amaral, Luis A.N. - Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Northwestern University
Ottino, Julio M. - Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern University


Collections: Biology and Medicine; Engineering; Materials Science; Physics