LIFESTYLE

Drug To 'Switch Off Hunger' May Be Available In The Future Thanks To New Brain Research

28/04/2015 12:18 BST | Updated 28/04/2015 12:59 BST

Just thinking about food makes us feel hungry, which can be a bit of a pain if we're trying to kickstart weight loss.

But scientists may now have found a way to "switch off" our sense of hunger.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Edinburgh University have identified the brain cells which create the sensation of hunger.

black woman looking at food

By targeting weight loss drugs at this brain circuit - known as melanoncortin 4 receptor-regulated (MC4R) - the scientists believe they may be able to offer support for people trying to lose weight.

The researchers altered the MC4R cells in a group of mice and saw a change in the amount amount of food they ate. This indicates that their desire to eat had been altered.

"Our results show that the artificial activation of this particular brain circuit is pleasurable and can reduce feeding in mice, essentially resulting in the same outcome as dieting but without the chronic feeling of hunger," the study's senior author Bradford Low said, according to The Telegraph.

The paper is published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Drugs that alter the hunger sensation are not currently available, so for now the most effective way to manage appetite may be to eat foods that help you feel fuller for longer.

“Key components of highly satisfying foods are protein and fiber,” Rebecca Solomon, director of clinical nutrition at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, previously told HuffPost Post50.

“My rule is fiber plus protein equals full.”

Check out the slideshow below to see how else foods influence your appetite.

12 Foods That Control Your Appetite

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