How does fast food encourage my body to store more fat?

Sure, no one needs the fat and calories in a double cheeseburger with fries. But research suggests it's not the fat and calories you should fear.

It's the impact they have on your opioid receptors. Your what? Your opioid receptors. Animal research suggests that fatty, sugary, high-calorie foods cause weight gain because they stimulate fat-storage genes, which then turns up the inner pound-packing dial. Salad bar, anyone?

Researchers believe kappa opioid receptors play an important role in fat metabolism and that eating foods high in fat and sugar somehow stimulates these receptors not only to promote weight gain but also to store fat in bad places. In the animal study, an unhealthful diet didn't just increase body fat. It encouraged fat storage in the liver, too. And it zapped energy levels. Bottom line: Garbage in means garbage stays -- and makes you tired, too!

More research is needed to determine if the impact fatty foods have on opioid receptors in animals holds true for our bodies, too.

Continue Learning about Nutrition

Well-Balanced Meals Help Create Well-Balanced Relationships
Well-Balanced Meals Help Create Well-Balanced Relationships
In Sam Peckinpah’s 1969 western, The Wild Bunch, Pike (William Holden), Dutch (Ernest Borgnine), and Deke (Robert Ryan) were former members of a bank-...
Read More
What are some healthy food options that I can try?
Andrew WeilAndrew Weil
Eating healthy doesn't mean sticking to tofu and bean sprouts all the time. In this video, I will di...
More Answers
What happens if I don’t eat enough?
Dominique AdairDominique Adair
There's a lot of discussion among dieters about why weight loss is so difficult, and one theory I’ve...
More Answers
Is Eating Organic Foods the Healthiest Choice?
Is Eating Organic Foods the Healthiest Choice?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.