Fat Switch’ Work Is Full-Speed Ahead

May 29, 2014  |  Post by: Comments Off on Fat Switch’ Work Is Full-Speed Ahead

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New York Times Sunday Review piece ) is all singing more or less the same tune: it’s seems that we get fat not just because of calories, but because of the kind of calories we take in. Sugar – in particular fructose, which is everywhere in the American diet – appears to be a major problem. Which is what Johnson has been saying for years. Not just talk. His conclusions are based on thousands of hours of lab work and described in many scientific papers . The gist is that the prevailing wisdom of weight gain boiling down simply to calories consumed exceeding calories burned may be wrong. Rather, he said, the metabolic roads in our cells have natural forks – in part plowed into our DNA 15 million years ago when we were 20-pound apes. These alternate pathways, Johnson believes, lead to either burning fat or accumulating it. Johnson fits Kuhn’s bill of an established scientist from another field. He is chief of the Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He came into the world of metabolic syndrome – characterized by high blood pressure, high blood sugar, fat around the middle, and high cholesterol levels, all of which boost risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes – via study of the kidneys, which suffer when blood pressure rises. In particular, he is known as a uric acid guru. Best known for triggering gout, uric acid also messes with cellular switching as well as mitochondria, the power plants for cells. Johnson and colleagues like Miguel Lanaspa-Garcia, DVM, PhD, can now tell a very complicated story they say helps to explain the much-discussed rise in obesity rates in the United States. Distilled to its essence, it goes roughly like this. In his 2012 book “The Fat Switch,” Richard Johnson, MD, described his team’s work to illuminate why we get fat. He evoked everything from the enzyme AMP deaminase to the hibernation habits of thirteen-lined ground squirrels to do it. Two years later, he alluded to Thomas Kuhn, author of the 1962 classic “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,” to describe his team’s role in the broader realms of obesity and diabetes research. “Kuhn said paradigm shifts require someone new to come in or an established scientist from another discipline to enter the field,” said Johnson , a renal specialist who sees patients at University of Colorado Hospital. “We’re coming in more from the side.” The side looks to be moving quickly to the center. A growing chorus (including a recent review in the journal Nature; a National Geographic cover story on sugar; a May 16 commentary in the Journal of the American Medical Association and an accompanying Miguel Lanaspa-Garcia, DVM, PhD, a faculty researcher in the Johnson Lab at the CU School of Medicine, takes a magnified look at a thin slice of a mouse liver. The mouse, fed a rich fructose mix, developed a fatty liver (the fat pockets are stained red in this image). Once fringe idea moving toward the middle ‘Fat Switch’ Work Is Full-Speed Ahead


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