Friday, October 17, 2014

Beating Overeating | The Science of Appetite

Indulging in food is a favorite pastime for many, but considering that two thirds of Americans or approximately 207 million 337,000,21 or overweight. Perhaps we enjoy food a bit too much so why can’t stop ourselves from consuming so much fatty and sugary food? How do we beat overeating?

When your stomach is empty it releases a hormone called ghrelin. Ghrelin interacts in the brain with the neurotransmitter NPY and turns on the desire to eat. Once you satisfied this desire by eating ghrelin levels drop back down in hunger subsides, conversely after eating a different hormone leptin is released from the stomach and fat cells and interfears with NPY further turning off the desire to eat and making you feel full. But if this hunger regulation system is in place why can’t we say no to that piece of cake or chips? Many food psychologist believe that in the past energy-rich food such as those with lots of fat and sugar were hard to come by. As hunter-gatherers the human body needed to take advantage of these meals for survival and as a result they become extremely desirable.

But in today’s world we can get a high fat and sugar meal on every corner at any hour. The problem is the instinct and desire still remains and so we struggle to stop eating these meals. Recently it’s been discovered that the continual intake of fat and sugar overrides the regulatory system of ghrelin and leptin. The signaling pathways insufficient to control diet and so initial evolutionary desire now plagues our ability to choose wisely and eat healthy. It’s a self-perpetuating problem. The more healthy food you eat - the more you desire food.

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