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Body’s “Natural Cannabis” System May Be Why Western Diet Leads To Obesity

January 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. Scientists have long known it was mainly because their Western diet is rich in sugar and fat. Now new U.S. research shows that a Western diet leads to overeating and obesity because of elevated "peripheral endocannabinoid signaling." The endocannabinoid system – a sort of “natural cannabis” consisting of lipid signaling molecules called endocannabinoids – is found in the brain and all peripheral organs. It helps control food intake, energy balance, and reward. Endocannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors on body cells. The researchers believe that targeting cannabinoid receptors with pharmacological inhibitors could be a safe way to treat overeating and diet-induced obesity, 
Donovan A. Argueta, Nicholas V. DiPatrizio., "Peripheral endocannabinoid signaling controls hyperphagia in western diet-induced obesity. ", Physiology & Behavior, January 11, 2017, © Elsevier Inc.
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