Researchers, studying mice, have gained a greater understanding of the tendency to add weight after ending a diet – known as the yo-yo effect.
A study at EARA member the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Metabolism Research, Germany, and Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts, USA, looked at the brain neurons which control hunger in mice that had been put on a diet.
The researchers saw that these ‘hunger neurons’ were stimulated during dieting, and it was detected that these neurons then continued to be active long after the diet ended.
This meant the mice ate more after the diet and gained weight, however if the researchers stopped the activity of the hunger neurons it led to the animals gaining less weight.
Dr Henning Fenselau, at MPI, said: “This could give us the opportunity to diminish the yo-yo effect. Our goal is to find therapies for humans that could help maintain body weight loss after dieting.”