Friday, April 13, 2012

Programmed to be Fat?

Obesity is at epidemic proportions in this country.

But what if some people are overweight, not only because of the brownies they eat, but because of the plastic containers they store them in?

The conventional theory goes that people become obese because they take in more calories than they burn off. But molecular biologist Bruce Blumberg says it’s more complicated than that.

"If it were a simple problem, a matter of balancing our caloric checkbook, no one would be fat," says Blumberg. "We are not a country full of lazy people who just eat everything in sight."

In his lab at UC Irvine, some of his mice are obese. Blumberg made them that way, but not by overfeeding them.
"My mice become fatter on a normal diet," Blumberg explains. "That’s only because they were exposed to this chemical in the womb."

Listen to my story for Southern California Public Radio.