Addiction to Sweets and Kids Obesity

BlogPic2New brain imaging research show that people might really we addicted to desserts.  Researchers found that eating highly-processed carbohydrates such as cakes, cookies and chips could affect pleasure centers within the brain that could lead to serious cravings that might cause people to overeat.

Study author Dr. David Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital stated in a press release, “Beyond reward and craving, this part of the brain is also linked to substance abuse and dependence, which raises the question as to whether certain foods might be addictive.”

Our brains are made up of a complex network of pathways that controls for all our bodily functions.  Chemical messengers called neurotransmitters allow signals to pass from nerve cell to the next to aid in these functions.  One neurotransmitter, dopamine, actually plays a huge role in the brain’s reward pathways.  For example, the brain gets filled with dopamine when people take addictive drugs.

Ludwig and his colleagues recruited 12 overweight and obese men between the ages of 18 and 35 years old to study and find out how food intake was regulated by the dopamine pathway.  On two occasions the men were fed milkshakes that were almost the same but one was a high-glycemic index and the other was low.  The glycemic index measured how fast blood sugar levels rise after eating that item.  High glycemic cards digest rapidly and low-glycemic carbs digest slowly.  Four hours after their meals, they were given fMRL brain scans that measured the activity of these networks and pathways.  Men who drank the high glycemic milkshakes saw their blood sugar levels rise, only to crash four hours later.  When their blood sugar had dropped, they didn’t feel excessively hungry, but the fRMIs did show “intense” activation in the nucleus accumbens, which is a region of the brain that is involved in addiction.

Researchers also pointed out that during previous studies comparing eating vegetables or high-calorie cheesecakes showed different brain reactions.  This study showed that when calories and sweetness are similar, the glycemic index could still trigger brain changes that might lead people to overeat.

Ludwig mentioned, “These finding suggest that limiting high-glycemic index carbohydrates like white break and potatos could help obese individuals reduce cravings and control the urge to overeat.”

In reference to Processed carbohydrates are addictive, brain study suggests.

Fat Camps Can Not Prevent Future Weight Gain

During the holidays we tend to eat a little more and possibly gain a little more. People should learn how to control their eating habits especially during holidays, but fat camps do not offer that education.
Friends and family will pass baked goods to you and it’s hard to say no. Even just simply looking for healthier recipes that cut down fat and sugar.
Although holidays should be enjoyable they tend to be stressful with the gifts, parties, and family gatherings in so little time, so try to control your stress. Don’t wait until the last minute to plan something, think ahead.
Holiday parties tend to have lots of junk food and rarely any healthy options.
Bringing a healthy dish would not be a bad idea. Never show up to a party on an empty stomach because that’s the easiest way to overeat, so eat something light before you go.
Prepare meals with the healthiest alternatives. Don’t serve the food where the family eats; keep the food in a separate area from where you eat. Serve everyone the same proper portions each mealtime.

Fat camps don’t offer these types of tips to their campers to encourage continuous weight loss. Campers can leave help happy with the results, but they won’t be happy when they return the next summer because they did not get the supporting guidance they need to maintain a healthier weight. With proper education you can learn to enjoy yourself better.

Did You Know These Effects Of Obesity?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than 36% of Americans are now considered obese and an additional 34% are considered to be overweight.  People are no longer surprised by these statics mentioned in 7 Surprising Effects of Obesity, but it can be surprising to find out how being obese can actually effect every area of your life such as health, family and income.

Obese people have a greater risk for all cancers and they are often diagnosed in later stages than thinner people and have higher chances of dying from the disease.  The National Cancer Institute connects 34,000 new cases of cancer in men and 50,000 in women each year with obesity. There are some theories as to why heavy weight connects with higher rates of cancer.  Raul Seballos, vice chairman of preventive medicine at the Cleveland Clinic states, “It could be that excess fat cells increase hormonal activity or they increase growth factors that lead to tumor growth.”  Looking at weight loss data it suggests that some of this risk can end by losing excess weight.

Infertility increases with overweight women.  Dr. Marc Bessler, stated that obesity is an inflammatory state and that alone might decrease fertility and that it may also be the result of hormone changes produced because of fatty tissue.   Many infertility clinics will not accept patients with high body mass indexes because of their low chances of becoming pregnant.  However, after some of his patients lost weight they were able to become pregnant.  Overweight women who are able to get pregnant have a higher risk of having a preterm baby. The researchers theorize that having too much fat may inflame and weaken the uterine and cervical membranes.

Poor sleep has an impact to many diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.  Many studies have shown that lack of sleep tend to expand waistlines, for example, a study showed that people who slept less than 5 hours a night were 15% more likely to gain weight than people who slept for 7 hours.  For obese people sleep apnea is one of the most immediate health dangers, which is a condition when a person gasps or stops breathing for a moment when they are sleeping.

A Yale study showed that heavy weight is the number one reason why people are bullied at any age and the people who are bullied have lower self-esteem, higher depression levels and an increased risk of suicide.  Rebecca Puhl, the study’s lead author stated, “More than 40% of children who see treatment for weight loss say they have been bullied or teased by a family member.”  In Puhl studies, it showed that 67% of overweight men and women report being shamed and bullied in a doctor’s office.  50% of doctors found their overweight patients were “awkward, ugly weak-willed and unlikely to comply with treatment” while 24% of the nurses said they were repulsed by the patients.  Negative remarks from a healthcare provider is definitely destructive to obese people, they already have a greater number of health problems than average there is no need to add negative remarks.

Studies have also shown the bigger your waistband, the smaller your wallet.  A study showed that women who weighed 25 pounds less than the group average made $15,572 a year more than women of normal weight and those who were 25 pounds above average earned an average of $13,847 less than an average weight female.  There was not a difference found among men.

Less Sleep for Teens could take away from Healthy Eating

BlogPic4Whether your teen gets enough sleep or not could determine the kinds of food they tend to eat.

Research that was presented at the annual SLEEP 2013 conference show that teens who are sleep deprived tend to eat less healthfully than teens who are well rested.  Sleep deprived teens not only just eat more food that is bad for them, but they tend to eat less healthy food.  “While we already know that sleep duration is associated with a range of health consequences, this study speaks to some of the mechanisms, i.e., nutrition and decision making, through which health outcomes are affected,” stated a study researcher Lauren Hale, Ph.D., an associate professor of preventive medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine.

In the study, researchers examined data from 13,284 teens with an average of 16 who were a part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.  18% of the teens had slept less than seven hours a night.  These sleepy teens were less likely to eat healthy foods like fruits and vegetables throughout the week and were more likely to eat unhealthy fast food at least two times a week, compared to the teens who got more sleep the night before.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, most teenagers need around 9.5 hours of a sleep, while some need about 8.5 hours, but only 15% of teens get 8.5  hours of sleep on school nights.

A recent study in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology showed that sleep deprivation could make people want larger food portions.   The researcher of this study, Pleunie hogenkamp of Uppsala University suggested that, “sleep deprivation enhances food intake regardless of satiety.”

Last month a study that was shown at the annual meeting of The Endocrine Society showed that sleep loss is linked with high blood level of a molecule, which regulate the feelings of reward that comes from eating.  This could be a reason why people seem to crave food after a bad nights sleep.

In reference to Sleep-Deprived teens skimp on produce, eat more unhealthy food:study

Less Sleep Makes You Eat, Which Makes You Overweight

Recent research that was published on June 26, in the journal Sleep confirms that the later you stay up, the more sleep you lose, which leads you to eat more calories, then you gain more weight.

Sleep researchers from the Sleep and Chronobiology Lab at the Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania, found that when people went to bed at 4 a.m. and woke up four hours later, they consumed about 550 calories after 11 p.m., which is far more than what their bodies needed.  Most of those 550 calories came from fat, which brings on weight gain on an average of 2 pounds after five straight nights of little sleep.  This study was significant because it studied 225 people and the research took place in a lab, leaving scientists able to control it.

Andrea Spaeth, a doctoral candidate and the study’s lead author said that participants in the study could basically eat whenever and as much as they wanted.  The meal sizes did not differ from the baseline days and the experimental days or between the sleep-deprived group and a small control group.  Spaeth explained that the sleep deprived group at more times through the day which shifted their calorie intake toward late night and the next morning they would eat less.

Kenneth Wright, associate professor in the department of integrative biology and the director of the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at the University of Colorado mentions that weight gain with sleep loss is still somewhat unclear.  He explained that in an experiment that was released earlier this year, his lab had found important hormones that regulate food intake, like gherlin and leptin, were within normal levels in sleep deprived people, but they would still eat more.

He mentioned, it could be that control centers of the brain, such as willpower, are weakened, causing us to look for rewarding and pleasurable food, which could be why we tend to eat junk food late at night.  We are simply looking for comfort, but there are many other factors at work as well.

“We have biological mechanisms to prompt us to consume more energy” when we are awake,

Spaeth mentioned.  We no longer have to hunt down anything for food; all we have to do is open the fridge when we are hungry.  Spaeth also mentions, “what we’re doing is really overcompensating for small increases in energy requirements.”  This explains why shift work can be so harmful to health, Wright explains.  “Shift work goes against the fundamental biological clock in our brain.  We evolved to be awake during the day when we are supposed to be physically active and consuming food.  When we are awake at night, the circadian clock does not adapt.  There are consequences to that…That’s why shift workers are at greater risk for many health problems we see in modern society.”  Shift work is not going to go away any time soon.  Wright said that looking for ways to compensate for this circadian havoc is an important goal of chronobiological research.

In reference to The Later You Stay Up, The More You Eat, Study Shows