Weekly Gems from Ronda Gates.
I always smile when research affirms common sense. In this case it has to do with evolving research that attempts to explain why some people overeat and others don't. Consider the following which came in one of the weekly newsletters I receive from mentors in the field of weight management.
"In findings that could be used to investigate the roots of obesity, a team of scientists has identified a mechanism by which leptin, a hormone released by fat cells, stimulates the brain and triggers eating."
The researchers believe that the finding, admittedly, from a study of the nerve pathways in the brains of rats, not humans, is the beginning of understanding how brain pathways are linked to weight regulation.
Leptin targets the hypothalamus, a region of the brain involved in regulating food intake and body weight. While scientists have been aware there is a connection between body weight and activity in the hypothalamus for some time, this breaking news is exciting because it has identified specific genetic markers of leptin action and nerve cell activity. It targets the site of action for leptin more specifically than earlier studies that showed high brain levels of leptin seemed to decrease hunger. Why, then, would some people who had high levels of leptin continue to overeat?
It turns out that there are two clusters of nerves in the same region of the hypothalamus that have opposite effects on eating behavior. Each is programmed to control eating in very specific ways. One cluster, when activated by leptin, leads to loss of appetite. The other cluster, when activated by leptin, actually increases appetite. In other words, in lab animals, leptin targets cells that project to another area of the hypothalamus that contains the neuropeptitdes implicated in regulating our behavior--including how we eat and sleep.
Your natural response to this emerging research would be--> perhaps, in the future, we'll have a pill to manage food cravings. We probably will. The problem will be whether or not the pill can deliver the result we want without unwanted side effects. (Remeber Phen/Fen!)
My own prejudice is that the pill should be delivered only to people who are already exercising. Those will be the people whose body will be best equipped to succeed with low doses of a medication that might enhance an already healthy lifestyle.
Here's my challenge. Consider what lifestyle choices you can make this week that will set the stage to make use of the resources to come.
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