set point hypothesis
A deterministic theory that explains the interplay of appetite and other factors–e.g., fats and carbohydrates in weight control.
Per the hypothesis, the brain is constantly adjusting the metabolism and manipulating an individual’s behaviour to maintain a target weight. The theory holds that the set point changes with age, but does so according to a fixed genetic program. While diet and exercise can shift the set point, the target itself is immutable.
Note: The set-point hypothesis has been criticised as it does not explain the marked increase in obesity in the general population, nor the differences in weight in geographically separated Pima Indians. If the hypothesis is valid, and weight is indeed centrally controlled, the intake of fat should have little impact on weight.
Reference Dis Model Mech. 2011 November; 4(6): 733–745.doi: 10.1242/dmm.008698