printable article

Originally published December 13 2009

Western diet triggers genes that cause the body to store more fat

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

(NaturalNews) New research published in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) has found that the "Western" diet, typically high in sugar and fat, may be responsible for activating genes that signal the body to become fatter. According to scientists, the body's response to high amounts of energy-dense food is to activate the kappa opioid receptor which triggers increased fat storage.

Researchers arrived at this conclusion by conducting an experiment on two groups of mice. One group had its kappa opioid receptors genetically deactivated while the other remained intact. Both groups were fed diets high in fat and sugar for 16 weeks. At the end of 16 weeks, the group with the deactivated receptor remained lean while the control group gained significant weight.

Besides limiting their bodies' ability to store energy-dense food in their fat stores, the mice whose receptors had been deactivated were noted to also have a limited ability to assimilate and store nutrients from the foods they ingested.

Traci Ann Czyzyk-Morgan, one of the study's researchers, indicated that the findings prove the hypothesis long held by many in the scientific community that the kappa opioid receptor may be responsible for causing widespread obesity in Western countries. She and others continue to encourage people to avoid diets high in fat and sugar.

Now that they better understand the process by which fatty, sugary foods turn to fat, those in the medical community are seeking other options as well, including therapeutic ways of deactivating the receptors in order to help curb obesity.

Comments by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

After reading this, the first question in the minds of many people is probably, "How do I deactivate my kappa opioid receptor?"

But this is a loaded question, and it represents a very unhealthy approach to personal health. For starters, there's no such thing as a standalone "opioid receptor organ" that can be turned off like a light switch. Opioid receptors are distributed throughout the nervous system, and they have their own important function such as regulating the body's response to stress.

It's a dangerous pursuit to try to modify or disable essential functions of the human body in an effort to cause automatic weight loss. What most patients really want is some magic switch that will cause them to lose weight without them having to change their terrible diets. "Turn off my opioid receptors," they say, "and I can eat all the cake and hamburgers I want!"

I say rather than trying to disable opioid receptors in people, we should all be asking why the decision-making centers of consumers' brains have already been disabled when it comes to their diets. In order to fight obesity today, what our world needs is more brain function, not less. And that comes from eating brain-enhancing foods such as organic, fresh vegetables (or the fresh juice made from them).

The best way to lose weight is to make smart food choices at every meal, then combine that effort with regular physical exercise.

Sources for this story include:

All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing LLC takes sole responsibility for all content. Truth Publishing sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. For the full terms of usage of this material, visit