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Fats stimulate binge eating

Rat study suggests strategy for combating the munchies

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3:38pm, July 8, 2011

Eating fatty foods may give you the munchies. A new study shows that when rats taste fat, it stimulates the same cellular buttons triggered by the active ingredient in marijuana, telling the body to keep on eating.

Uncovering the events that lead to this molecular “eat, eat” missive will make it easier to develop drugs that curb binge eating and other weight related-problems, says pharmacologist Daniele Piomelli, who led the new work.

Piomelli and his colleagues were interested in compounds known as endocannabinoids — the body’s version of the active ingredient in marijuana — and the role they play in overeating. Several kinds of endocannabinoids are released in the brain and body, but researchers are still discovering the nitty-gritty of where and when these compounds regulate mood and behavior. 

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