Obesity gene makes high-calorie food more tempting

An international group of researchers discovered that a polymorphism of the obesity gene, FTO (fat mass and obesity associated), made high-calorie foods more tempting and increased levels of the hormone ghrelin.

The study involved two groups of normal-weight men, including 49 with two high-risk alleles of the FTO gene and 149 with low-risk alleles. 

High-risk subjects were thought to have a 70% increased risk of obesity compared to low-risk subjects, the study stated.

Ghrelin levels were measured before and after a meal in 10 men from each group and were found to drop less and climb more quickly in the high-risk group.

A series of brain scans after a meal showed the high-risk group found pictures of high-fat foods more appealing than the low-risk men. 

The authors concluded that drugs targeting ghrelin might reduce weight gain.

“Our findings argue for a genotype-tailored therapeutic approach, targeting