Two new studies have shown that a newly identified “starvation hormone” plays an important role in the metabolic shift seen in animals after a period of fasting and in those fed a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet.
In one study, led by researchers at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, a search for changes in gene activity in mice fed a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet for 30 days turned up the gene encoding liver-derived fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21). The investigators also found that fasting mice and mice on a carbohydrate-restricted diet require increased blood levels of FGF21 to begin burning fat (Badman MK et al. Cell Metab. 2007;5:426-437).
Hampton T. Starvation Hormone. JAMA. 2007;298(5):505. doi:10.1001/jama.298.5.505-c