New research suggests cells in your bones are to blame.
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Osteocytes are a type of cell that sense outside force on bone and adapt accordingly, explains study author Jan-Åke Gustafsson, MD, Ph.D., founding director of the Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling at the University of Houston. These cells help regulate bone mass but the study results suggest they also do so for fat mass—at least in mice, he says.
Since sitting removes the force of our body weight from our bones, osteocytes in our legs mistakenly think we weigh less and try to get us back to homeostasis by sending signals that increase our appetite, Gustafsson explains.