You may think your bathroom scales are the only way to weigh yourself.
But in a new medical breakthrough, scientists have discovered ‘internal bathroom scales’ already do the job for you.
Swedish researchers have uncovered evidence of a mechanism in the brain of mice that operates in the exact same way.
Body weight is recorded by the brain whenever someone stands, according to the team at the University of Gothenburg.
If it notices an increase in weight, it triggers a signal that subconsciously tells the brain to stop eating so much food.
However, the internal scales don’t work for those who sit down too long, such as office workers who spend hours sitting at their desk.
As a result, they eat more and gain weight – which could explain the substantial body of evidence linking sitting as a major fuel of obesity.
In a new medical breakthrough, scientists have discovered that mice have ‘internal bathroom scales’ that help them to stay on top of their weight
What did the researchers say?
Professor John-Olov Jansson, lead author, said: ‘We have discovered a completely new system that regulates fat mass.
‘We hope this discovery will lead to a new direction in obesity research.
‘The findings may also provide new knowledge about the cause of obesity and, in the long run, new treatments of obesity.
‘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.’
THE FATTER YOU ARE, THE HARDER TO LOSE WEIGHT
For those with a lot of weight to lose, a study published in 2015 makes for depressing reading.
The fatter a person is, the harder it is for them to lose weight, scientists discovered.
Heavier people produce more of a protein that inhibits the body’s ability to burn fat, researchers found.
This is because fat produces a protein, called sLR11, which stops the process by which cells burn energy to keep warm – and therefore preventing weight loss.
The Cambridge University findings may have implications for the treatment of obesity and other metabolic diseases.
How was the study carried out?
Published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study was performed on obese mice.
They were made artificially heavier by being loaded with extra weights.
The rodents lost almost as much weight as the artificial load, suggesting they knew they were obese and cut back on their food intake.
Scientists also noted how those mice with extra weights had lower body fat and better blood glucose levels after the study.
Could it apply to humans?
Despite the experiment having been conducted on mice, the researchers believe humans could also have ‘internal bathroom scales’.
Mice have been used in scientific experiments for decades because they share many genetic characteristics with humans.
Professor Claes Ohlsson, involved in the study, said: ‘We believe that the internal body scales give an inaccurately low measure when you sit down.
‘As a result you eat more and gain weight.’
The body fat regulatory system discovered by the Swedish researchers is the first since the discovery of leptin 23 years ago.