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Let Them Eat Cake: Altered mice stay svelte on a high-fat diet

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11:16am, June 19, 2002

A protein that links gluttony and weight gain may be a novel target for antiobesity drugs. Mice lacking this protein can indulge in fatty food but remain as slim as mice on a lower-fat diet, a new study reports. The finding suggests a new avenue to help morbidly obese people lose weight.

When food is scarce, stockpiling energy in fat cells is a survival advantage. But when food is plentiful, as in industrialized countries, genes that promote fat storage lead to obesity (SN: 4/14/01, p. 238: Available to subscribers at Fatty Findings). The molecular mechanisms that translate extra calories into fat deposition are largely unknown.

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