Ever think that your brain is trying to trick you into eating unhealthy? Our brains have a desire for sugar that has developed over millennia. This evolutionary sweet tooth rewarded us for supplying the brain with the enormous amount of energy it needs to stay healthy.
Unfortunately, sugar is far from scarce in modern society, causing our brains to sometimes reward us for eating unhealthy. As a factor in weight gain, this can’t be denied. New research, however, has found insight into how we can use this to prevent obesity.
Eating too much sugar can lead to all sorts of health problems, like weight gain, heart disease, diabetes and more. Too much sugar causes our Insulin Efficiency to drop along with numerous other problems, some of which actually exacerbate the root cause. Our bodies release gastrointestinal hormones, like ghrelin, as a way of helping us eat right. When there’s too much insulin in the body, possibly from eating too much fructose, that can make us feel hungry when we really aren’t and keeps our brains rewarding us for eating sugar when it shouldn’t. This is part of how artificial sweeteners can cause weight gain.
Researchers at Imperial College London recently examined lab rats to see if there was another factor involved in our sugar cravings, one which operates not on how much energy we take in, but specifically in whether we have enough glucose or not. Their findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Glucokinase is a hormone that detects glucose levels in the liver and pancreas and is found in the brain’s hypothalamus, where the appetite control center is located. By measuring the levels of glucokinase in the hypothalamus of rats, scientists found that levels increased significantly when glucose was taken from the rats’ diets.
Scientists also provided two sources of nutrients to the rats, glucose-rich food and standard rat “chow.” The rats with more glucokinase in their brains showed a preference to the glucose over the chow while rats with less glucokinase were the other way around.
This is a significant discovery, as it can help us treat obesity. Imagine if we could eliminate sugar cravings by lowering glucokinase in the brain, for example. While a pill is just an idea at present, lead researcher Dr. James Gardiner provided some practical advice you can use today.
“[The study result] suggests that when you’re thinking about diet, you have to think about different nutrients, not just count calories,” he stated. “People are likely to have different levels of [glucokinase], so different things will work for different people.
For some people, eating more starchy foods at the start of a meal might be a way to feel full more quickly by targeting this system, meaning they eat less overall.”
In the Olumia Life diet, we follow a similar idea. Counting calories is not as important as eating the proper ratios of healthy foods. In fact, healthy foods often act as their own appetite suppressants. Sugar isn’t inherently bad; we just eat too much of it. In fact, some sweets, like chocolate, can even be a healthy addition to your diet.
Modern foods don’t make cutting down on sugar easy. While sugar is added to some products to keep them edible longer or cover up for missing fat in low-fat foods, manufacturers are well aware of how it can also make you eat more than you need.
Sugar in pizza crust, for example, causes you to feel hungry even when your stomach’s full, skewing what you might perceive as a “serving” of pizza and making it more likely to order more than you need in the future. Sugary drinks can also trick you, and not just soda. Sports and energy drinks are often loaded with sugar as well, which can mess up your Insulin Efficiency while also disrupting how easily you fall asleep.
New FDA calorie labeling in places selling food may help this somewhat, but since calories are not the be-all and end-all, the primary point is that it is up to you to battle your sugar cravings and eat healthy foods (in healthy ratios and amounts).
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