Scientists discover 'internal bathroom scale' in bodies that could help with weight loss

Many rely on a traditional scale to monitor weight, but you may be able to ditch the device, because the body has its own measuring system, according to a new report.

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Researchers from universities in Sweden recently conducted an experiment, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, to determine how other parts of the body, aside from leptin system, regulate fat.

To do so, they examined fat mice, which were implanted with additional weight. While some had capsules that were 15 percent of their body fat, others had empty capsules.

After a few weeks, they weighed the rodents again. Both groups had the same weight, which means the animals with the extra weight were able to shed the pounds.

They discovered the heavier group had less white fat, which warms the body and provides energy, compared to the lighter group. But scientists noted the brown fat, which burns energy, wasn’t any higher for the obese rodents than it was for the lighter ones. In fact, they ate less than the skinnier mice, which made it easier for the team to conclude that another part of the body was managing fat.

"Quite simply, we have found support for the existence of internal bathroom scales. The weight of the body is registered in the lower extremities. If the body weight tends to increase, a signal is sent to the brain to decrease food intake and keep the body weight constant," coauthor John-Olov Jansson said in a statement.

Researchers now want to further their investigations with hopes of yielding the same results for humans. If so, they believe they can help doctors find effective treatments for obesity.

“The mechanism that we have now identified regulates body fat mass independently of leptin,” coauthor Claes Ohlsson added. “And it is possible that leptin combined with activation of the internal body scales can become an effective treatment for obesity.”

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