Proving that stupid news races around the world much faster than the beleaguered Olympic Torch, the story comes from Popular Science, The BBC, and CTV British Columbia. Each features the requisite scare-pic that have become almost stock; a headless fat caucasian belly in as unflattering a pose as possible. At least Popular science shows some originality here; their picture is a closeup of frying bacon that will turn any vegetarian an interesting shade of green. Even the fat ones :-)
The Canadian researchers claim that abdominal fat cells produce a hormone (Neuropeptide Y, dubbed NPY). They claim that "NPY increases fat cell number by stimulating the replication of fat cell precursor cells, which then change into fat cells."
Their theory is that this appetite-stimulating hormone is released by the belly fat, triggering excess hunger, causing the fat person to overeat, creating more fat from the precursor cells created by the NPY.
The researchers are, apparently, all ways of giggly over the "possible therapeutic applications" of this discovery (i.e. drugs that block NPY production or uptake, i.e. appetite suppressants).
I don't even know where to begin with this one. Maybe the entire underlying premise that fat people eat more than thin people? Maybe. That's a good start at any rate. Many studies have actually started out with the determined intention to prove that fat people eat more (on average) than thin people, but could not do so. Of course we all know (either personally or anecdotal) a fat person who does eat a lot. We also know a thin person who can pack away four-square plus snacks and never put on an extra pound. That's what "on average means." But, of course, these researches must have some secret hidden (unreferenced) knowledge that shows every fat person secretly binges hourly on cartons of baby-flavored donuts cooked in bacon fat and topped with double cream...all in the thralls of overactive appetite hormones. My goodness, all this time and what we really needed was another unproven, theoretical new appetite suppressant. Because anorectics are such an innovative and never-before-tried method of losing weight. And oh-so effective. Evidenced, of course, by the fact that they've been around for over a century and look at how fewer fat people there are.
Oh, and I love how they assume actual binge-disorder eating has anything to do with physical hunger. What are these, high-school biology students?
But effectiveness has rarely stopped the pharmaceutical diet industry, and when the research institute behind the study (Lawson Health Research Institute) lists it's "Worldwide Business and Industry Partners" as: "including large corporations such as Bayer, Eli Lilly, Fujisawa, GE Medical, GlaxoSmithKline Inc, Medtronic, Merck Frosst Canada, Novartis, Pfizer, Schering...." You really have to wonder whether the science behind this was ever actually intended to be disinterested.