Junk food may not be the only reason about 2/3 of Americans are overweight. Scientists are learning more about a particular gene they say takes a lot of the blame.
The gene produces a protein called 'R-lip 76'. Scientists at City of hope experimented with two separate mice. One had a lot of the protein in its body. The other mouse on was on the same diet but with having little of that protein, it just didn't gain weight.
"And they had very low levels of fat. They had half the normal blood sugar and about two thirds of the normal cholesterol and triglyceride," says Dr. Sanjay Awasthi, a City of Hope researcher.
Researchers believe that even without that gene, stress can make a person produce some of that protein which somehow protects fat cells and helps them grow.
The good news is that researchers are now focusing on that protein. They've already learned that a chemical in orange rinds can help block the protein, and they've starting clinical trials to look for antioxidants or some sort of drug that could do the same thing.
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