Why We Really Eat Too Much
By: Kate Oliver
Why do we eat too much? Lack of will power? Too much TV? Boredom? Problems? Think again. According to Dr Robert Lustig the urge to over eat is a hormonal issue triggered by eating too much sugar.
He points to the hunger hormone leptin and its role in our encdocrine system to suppress appetite. When we have had enough to eat our fat cells release leptin which quietens the appetite by sending signals to the brain to tell us we are full. The problem is sugar. Our sweet tooth is interfering with the signals, interrupting the signal if you like which is no longer registering the fact in our brain that we are full. We have become “leptin resistant.”. We don’t hear the message, we don’t register the signal: no matter how much we eat, we still feel hungry. Sugar is causing havoc.
What happens next?
We eat. A lot. The brain sends out the message for food craving high fat, high sugar food because these give energy fast and have that other powerful pay back : all energy is conserved because all that overeating will keep you sat on the couch. Sound familiar? Indeed the food cravings become even more intense (and impossible to resist) because the hormone leptin is supposed to quieten the feeling of pleasure and euphoria we get with certain food by suppressing the release of the feel good brain chemical dopamine.
If we are leptin resistant, it doesn’t happen. And the cravings continue on and on and on deep into the night. And this, says the Professor is why we find it so difficult to resist. What causes leptin resistance? Too much sugar in the diet, says Professor Lustig. He states that high sugar diets spike hormone response specifically insulin. This is needed to clear the sugar out of the blood and to transport the excess energy out of the blood stream into storage as…..fat. Repeated insulin spikes over time cause insulin resistance (diabetes 2) and Professor Lusting states that insulin resistance triggers leptin resistance.
Is it all over? No. Professor Lustig has discovered that by reducing insulin levels it is possible to improve the leptin signalling, quieten the food cravings, quieten the overeating and cause weight loss…
More at: Why We Eat Too Much