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The Obesity Epidemic: One Cupcake Leads to Another

January 17, 2014 2 min read

Conventional wisdom has always postulated that obesity is the result of eating too many unhealthy foods full of sugar, salt, and fat.  Technically though its not anyone's fault.  Our evolutionary history has always demanded high caloric foods that are necessary to keep up with the rigors of the hunter/gatherer lifestyle.  These foods were able to keep up with the necessary energy levels required.  Fat storage was also optimized for the times when food would have been scarce. With the advent of the industrial revolution though lives became exponentially sedentary and though the high calorie foods were still what humans craved, they no longer expanded the energy that would make those foods necessary. According to The Scientist, a chronic high fat diet desensitized the dopamine receptors in the brain.  This means that the more high sugar, high fat foods that you eat the more that you will have to eat in future to get the same level of satisfaction from the food.  Consider a drug addict, after the first use of a drug the addiction grows making the addict ever more desperate to replicate that first "fix" and the feeling of it.  For the person with a high fat diet the "drug like" feeling does not start with the taste buds but actually in the stomach itself.  The stomach itself send signals to the brain to control our eating habits and even when feeding tubes bypass the mouth, there is still a surge in the dopamine receptors. What this means is that obesity isn't as cut and dry as once was thought with the age old-"calories in, calories out" mantra.  Eating changes however can reduce hormone levels to normal, taking out high fat and high sugar foods or reducing them drastically will enable the body to reset in a way.  Say whatever you want about the obesity epidemic but at the end of the day its not as cut and dry as anyone would like to think.  New research has even shown that children of obese fathers are more likely to have a mutation on a gene, insulin-type growth factor 2, which can lead to colorectal, ovarian, and kidney cancer. If there isn't one simply reason for the obesity epidemic in the United States should our approach to dealing with it be one sided as well?

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