All’s fair in love and war — but not in dieting, apparently. If you’ve ever wondered how it is that men can cut out a few desserts and quickly drop 10 pounds, while women tortu-ously calorie-count their way to incremental weight loss, a new animal study may have the explanation: It’s in the brain.
A class of hormones known as POMC peptides, which regulate body weight, acts dif-ferently in female mice than in male mice, according to a collaboration of researchers across four continents. The difference appears to make it harder for female mice to lose weight.
POMC peptides are pro-duced hi the brain and play a role in appetite, calorie burn-ing and physical activity., all of which’ affect overall body weight. When genetically engineered obese mice were given the weight-reducing medication lorcaserin, the males experienced significant weight loss, pushing them
back into the healthy range, whereas the female mice saw much smaller weight losses and remained obese.
“What we have discovered is that the part of the brain that has a significant influence on how we use the calories that we eat is wired differ-ently in males and females,” team leader Lora Heisler, of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, saki in a news release.
In female mice, the source of POMC peptides reduces appetite, but it does not raise physical activity or calorie burning the way it does in male mice.
While humans aren’t nec-essarily the same as mice, it’s worth noting that two of every three adults and one in three children and adolescents in the United States are over-weight or obese, according to the National Institutes of Health.
“These findings provide evidence that males and females are hard-wired dif-ferently in their regulation of energy balance,” the study’s authors wrote in the jour-nal Molecular Metabolism. “Given the reported reduc-tion of POMC neuron activ-ityin middle age in mice, these data may have … broad impli-cations for future sex-specific strategies in treating over-weight problems and obesity.”
For what it’s worth, the, study may provide some answers for all those women wondering wh-y they outnurn-ber men in Weight Watchers meetings. When it comes to dieting, it seems men really do have a head start.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2016
By AMY ELLIS NUTT Washington Post