|Can hunger make you fat even if you're in a caloric deficit?|
Before we are even trying to make sense of either of these observations, though, I would suggest we take a closer look at the study design.
The scientists were and still are convinced that the 2.8 million deaths that occur due to obesity-related worldwide would be avoidable, if we were all eating regularly and kept an eye on our total energy intake. Their rationale is that the latter is not the case for people living in affluence, while the former, i.e. a regular eating schedule is absent in "many people in developed countries" who do not follow a regular eating schedule due to a busy lifestyle.
With their latest experiment in the course of which the used a mouse model with both 3-week and 6-week-old mice (10 mice in each group), the Korean researchers wanted to demonstrate that "hunger" is obesogenic, even if it is temporary and occurs in the context of a 60% food restriction.
|Figure 1: Relative distribution of body fat and serum ghrelin levels at the end of the study (Han. 2014)|
The scientists interpret this results as good evidence that it was the "sense of hunger", which "induced the typical characteristics of metabolic syndrome in an animal model, a distinct visceral obesity, hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia and hepatic steatosis."
|Figure 2: Leptin, liver cholesterol and triglyceride levels at the end of the study period|
- Han, Jong-Min, et al. "Repeated Sense of Hunger Leads to the Development of Visceral Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome in a Mouse Model." PloS one 9.5 (2014): e98276.