Research on obesity examining the role of hormones and the autonomic functions of the digestive system was presented at the 75th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology. Gastric function, as well the activities of the autonomic nervous system that regulates digestion, are impaired in obese individuals in both fasting and feeding states, according to a study from UTMB Health, “Altered Postprandial Gastric and Autonomic Functions in Obese Subjects.” Measures of gastric myoelectrical activity by electrogastrography and of heart rate variability on electrocardiogram for 12 obese and 12 lean patients were compared for a 30 minute fasting period and then 30 minutes after a fatty soup or a high protein soup. “Obese subjects in the study showed enhanced responses to both soups,” said the study’s co-author Jiande Chen. “The obese were more receptive to fatty meals, meaning the stomach is more tolerant to fatty meals, as well as more responsive to protein meals. Since the function of the stomach is to pump whatever is in the stomach to the small intestine, being more responsive means that the stomach may empty the protein meals more quickly in obese subjects than in lean subjects,” explained Chen. The story also appears in Medical News Today.