Regular sex can help stay slim

Why regular sex can help you stay slim: High levels of 'cuddle hormone' stop you binge-eating

# Hormone oxytoxin is known to decrease the appetite, especially for sugar.

# Study found whether a person binge eats may be down to their genes.

# Binge eaters tend to have genes producing low levels of the hormone.

# Oxytocin is dubbed the love hormone as it is released after orgasm.

Forget eating salad and pounding on the treadmill - regular sex can help dieters keep slim.

On top of burning around 100 calories an hour, it also triggers the release of a hormone which may stop us overeating, new research suggests.

Oxytocin, dubbed the love or cuddle hormone, is released after sex to induce feelings of trust and affection, bonding couples together.

A new study found people who are less genetically able to produce oxytocin are more likely to indulge in sweet treats.

Increases in the hormone oxytocin tend to decrease appetite - especially the consumption of sweet carbohydrates, a study found. Oxytoxin is released after orgasm to incude feelings of love and affection
The researchers found whether we overeat or not is written in our genes, determined by how the gene for oxytocin is expressed.

The team, from York University, studied variations in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR), which produces the cuddle hormone.

They looked a how it affected appetite, food preferences, food intake and personality traits associated with feelings of reward in the brain.

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The team looked at a group of people ranging in age from 27-50 years with a broad range of body weights.

This included a 'substantial number' of people who confessed to have binge-eating habits.

Blood samples were collected from each person in order to analyse their DNA.

This uncovered a new link between oxytocin and behaviors associated with binge eating.

The researchers found seven sites in people's DNA where the chemical instructions for making OXTR could vary between individuals, known as 'single nucleotide polymorphisms' (SNPs).

The team found whether people overeat or not is written in their genes. Differences in how the oxytocin gene is expressed is linked with psychological traits associated with over-indulging, they discovered
The team then collected questionnaires from the people in the study about differences in their eating habits, preference for sugar or fat, and how their brain systems respond to reward or punishment.

They found that the SNPs were linked to psychological risk factors associated with binge eating.

Dr Caroline Davis, the lead researcher, said: 'Three SNPs were significantly related to the psychological traits, which collectively accounted for 37 per cent of the variance in overeating.

'Another SNP was directly related to overeating.'

The results suggest genes are linked with traits that regulate our behaviour, she said.

The results also highlight how the love hormone affects overeating, she added.

'Oxytocin enhances prosocial and related behaviors. Increases in oxytocin tend to decrease appetite - especially the consumption of sweet carbohydrates,' she said.

The findings will be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB), the society for the research into all aspects of eating and drinking behavior.

© Madlen Davies for MailOnline