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Eating When Full

January 28, 2010

If you find yourself reaching for dessert when you’re already full, the hormone ghrelin may be responsible.


Hormonal overeating…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Many people turn to fattening treats even when they feel full, and researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have identified one possible reason why. They administered either a hormone called ghrelin or an injection of saline to mice. They found that even after they had already eaten, mice with the extra ghrelin were much more persistent in trying to retrieve high fat food rewards. Endocrinologist Jeffrey Zigman says they also spent more time in a room that previously had high fat treats in it.

JEFFREY ZIGMAN (UT Southwestern Medical Center):
When ghrelin levels are high, it can motivate mice, or probably also humans, to obtain rewarding food.

Ghrelin is secreted by the stomach and gut. Understanding how the hormone acts on the brain’s pleasure centers could lead to better treatments for obesity in the future. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.