Scientists have discovered that a high-fat diet activates an enzyme that causes older women to start thickening around the middle. This enzyme produces a powerful hormone, which increases fat build-up around the intestines. Researchers from the Ohio State University found that levels of this enzyme are markedly higher in abdominal fat extracted from obese women compared to cells taken from lean women. These results show that a high-fat diet interacts with your genes. Interestingly, oestrogen suppresses the activity of this enzyme, which helps to explain why men are more prone to develop a beer belly, and why female waist size tends to increase mostly after the menopause.