Overeating? Blame Your Body's Marijuana Chemicals

Fatty foods trigger chemicals that tell us to eat more
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2011 11:14 AM CDT
Now you know why you can never eat just one.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

(Newser) – Can't stop eating French fries? Blame the marijuana-like chemicals in your own body. A new study shows that eating fatty foods triggers the body to produce such chemicals, which in turn make you want to eat more fatty foods. Endocannabinoids, which are similar to the chemicals contained in marijuana, are known to influence appetite and taste—which explains the "munchies" that stoners get, LiveScience reports.

The study found that fat on the tongue (in this case, high-fat beverages sipped by rats) triggered a signal to the brain, which in turn triggered the production of endocannabinoids in the gut. The end result? A message urging the rats to continue eating. This would have come in handy, evolutionarily speaking, when the fats that mammals needed to survive were difficult to come by. Not so much today, when you can buy a bag of potato chips in any 7-Eleven. The good news? Doctors may be able to block overeating by blocking endocannabinoid receptors in the gut.

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