Tags: fat | gene | carbs | diabetes | obesity

Discovery: Gene Turns Carbs Into Fat

Friday, 07 December 2012 10:24 AM

In a discovery that could pave the way for new treatments for diabetes and obesity, scientists have identified a gene that helps the body convert carbs into fat.
The finding, by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, unlocks the molecular mechanisms of how our body converts dietary carbohydrates into fat and that the gene responsible — called BAF60c — also contributes to the condition known as fatty liver (steatosis).
The study, published online in the journal Molecular Cell, found mice that have had the BAF60c gene disabled did not convert carbohydrates to fat, despite eating a high-carb diet.
SPECIAL: These 5 Things Flush 40 lbs. of Fat Out of Your Body — Read More.
"This work brings us one step forward in understanding fatty liver disease resulting from an excessive consumption of carbohydrates," said Hei Sook Sul, a professor at UC-Berkeley's Department of Nutritional Science and Toxicology. "The discovery of this role of BAF60c may eventually lead to the development of treatment for millions of Americans with fatty liver and other related diseases."
About three-quarters of obese Americans have fatty liver, which has been linked to a diet high in bread, pasta, rice, soda, and other carbohydrates. After a meal, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, a source of energy. But excess glucose gets stored in the liver as glycogen or, with the help of insulin, is converted into fatty acids, circulated to other parts of the body and stored as body fat. When there is an overabundance of fatty acids, fat also builds up in the liver.
"Fatty liver caused by the high intake of carbohydrates can be as bad as that due to excessive alcohol intake, and it contributes to various diseases including type 2 diabetes," said Sul. "The conversion of excess glucose into fatty acids occurs in the liver, but there are many steps in this process that have not been fully understood."
The new study finds BAF60c plays a key role in that process and disabling the disrupted the formation of fatty acids, even when the mice feasted on a carb-heavy diet.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
SPECIAL: These 5 Things Flush 40 lbs. of Fat Out of Your Body — Read More.

© HealthDay

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New fat gene discovery could pave the way for novel treatments for diabetes and obesity.
Friday, 07 December 2012 10:24 AM
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