Why Quitting Smoking Makes You Fat

If you’ve ever tried to give up a smoking habit, you might have found that you tend to pack on a little extra body weight, too. Now, scientists say they’ve found out why.

Researchers looking into new ways of treating depression made an interesting discovery. While testing nicotine, the primary chemical present in cigarette smoke, on lab animals, scientists noted that the test subjects weren’t eating as much. Yann Mineur, an associate research scientist at Yale, told CBS News:

We found that nicotine, when it enters the brain, activates specific nicotine receptors that are located on specific neurons known to decrease feeding and increase energy expenditure when activated.

Mineur says the potential exists to make other drugs that produce the same weight-loss effect. However, CBS News warns that “the same receptors that react this way to nicotine help control the way the body deals with stress.”

Quitting smoking makes you fat, and now scientists know why [CBS News]
Nicotine Decreases Food Intake Through Activation of POMC Neurons [Science Magazine]