Where there’s pot, there’s often an insatiable hunger. A new study gives a clue why: Cannabinoids, the drug in marijuana, appear to flip a neural circuit that normally tells us we’re full into thinking we’re hungry.
Read more at NPR.org.
When it comes to weight loss there is never a lack of opinions and advice. Many people claim that low-fat diets is the key to losing weight, others say that counting total calories is the only effective measure to take. In a recent opinion article in the New York Times, two scientists attempt to uncover why the type of food you eat, not how much you eat, may be more important in terms of regulating hunger. The claim is that when extra energy from food (in the forms of glucose and fatty acids) is stored in the fat tissue instead of circulating in the blood our brain will tell us to eat more. Therefore, the fatter you get, the more energy the fat tissue takes up and the hungrier we become, leading to a vicious cycle of weight gain. The culprit in all of this? Insulin – the hormone that is released from the pancreas in response to an increase in blood glucose concentrations. Insulin tells fat cells to take in glucose and fatty acids from the blood, so they can either be used for energy or stored for later. The scientists, Dr. Ludwig and Dr. Friedman, state that foods that cause a higher insulin spike will cause more energy to be stored, thereby causing more hunger in the longterm. Foods that are high in processed carbohydrates and simple sugars cause a larger spike in insulin because glucose gets to our bloodstream quicker when foods can be easily digested and absorbed. Foods that contain fiber, protein and fats take longer to digest and absorb, so the entry of glucose into the blood (and subsequent release of insulin) after eating them is slower.
So what do you think, is it total calories or total carbohydrates that should be the focus of weight loss advice? As always, it is important to think critically when it comes to using the advice of others for your own health goals. So go ahead, do your research and decide what a healthy lifestyle looks like for you. To read the full opinion article head to the New York Times.
The world of nutrition has a long way to go before it fully understands the complex relationship between the brain and the gut, but a recently published study seems to have made a significant step in an interesting direction. The study, published the journal Health Psychology, asks the question of whether our beliefs about a particular food change us physically – that is, if you think a food is good (or bad) for you, do we have a different physiological response to that food? To answer this question researchers had study participants drink either a rich, high-calorie milkshake called “Indulgence”, or a more healthy, low-calorie milkshake called “Sensishake”, then measured blood levels of ghrelin – a hormone that signals to the brain that we’re hungry. The trick? Both milkshakes were actually identical, with no difference in ingredients (or calories). Even so, the participants that drank the “Sensishake” had higher levels of ghrelin than those that drank the “Indulgence”, making them feel hungry sooner!
Read more (with a link to the published article) at NPR.