According to a new book the obesity epidemic that is gaining pace may not be a simple case of over eating and a lack of exercise. In his new new book, Robert Lustig, a professor of clinical paediatrics at the University of California, suggests a new theory on weight gain.
The number of obese people has more than doubled in the last 30 years. The way we eat, and the foods we eat, have also changed quite dramatically during this time. We eat more processed foods, ready meals, and sugar consumption has also drastically increased over the last 50 years.
Professor Lustig argues that the urge to overeat is not a sign of weakness. He has linked hormonal and endocrine defects with weight gain and obesity. In his book, Fat Chance, the professor suggests that the rise in obesity is due to the high concentrations of insulin in the blood and a resistance to the hormone, leptin. Leptin is a hormone that tell the brain that you have enough energy and to decrease appetite. Scientists believe there are two “hunger hormones”, leptin, which reduces appetite and gherlin, which increases appetite.
Recent studies have found that obese people have an abundance of leptin (appetite reduction hormone). In theory they should have a lower appetite as they have high levels of leptin, but the studies have found that obese people are resistant to the effects of leptin. This leads to a hugely inflated appetite as the brain does not recognise that you are full. This is the theory behind Professor Lustig’s hypothesis.
Professor Lustig and his team have found that sugar is the cause of leptin resistance. High sugar intake leads to a surge in the levels of insulin, which is released by the pancreas, to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. Regular high sugar intake can eventually lead to insulin resistance (and type-2 diabetes). The professor believes that insulin resistance causes leptin resistance. He has found that reducing insulin resistance can improve the communication of leptin to the brain.
Reducing the amount of sugar can be the start of your weight loss programme, as you may have the added advantage of reducing appetite and food cravings.
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