The Checkup: Researchers Discover How Carbs Become Fat

Understanding the molecular process could mean big things for weight loss and weight-related diseases.

• If we’ve learned anything from Dr. Atkins over the years, it’s that carbs make us fat; cut back on carbs—specifically refined sugars, as in cookies and soda—and you’ll probably see the scale dial back a few ticks. Thing is, experts didn’t have a clear understanding of know exactly how the body turned carbs into fat—until now. Using lab mice, a team at UC Berkeley discovered that a gene called BAF60c is largely responsible for making white bread stick to your thighs. The molecule lives inside your cells, and once insulin enters your body, it triggers a chain reaction that causes enzymes to change carbs to fat. BAF60c plays a major role in this reaction, researchers discovered, and when turned off completely, mice eating a high-carb diet weren’t able to form fatty acids. Aside from it’s obvious weight-loss implications, the discovery could be useful in developing treatments for fatty liver disease, a condition that affects three quarters of obese people. Read more about the research here.

• You know how everyone thinks suicide rates spike during the holidays? That’s a myth, according to research from the University of Pennsylvania—a myth perpetuated by the media (eek!). After tracking to CDC data for over a decade, researchers determined that November, December and January actually have the lowest number of suicides per day; the biggest suicide seasons are spring and summer. USA Today has more.

• Not that this is necessarily a reason to have a brood of kids, but new research found that parents tend to live longer than people who never reproduce. For moms it was four times more likely and dads two times more likely, compared to childless peers. Read more here.