By ANDY KRESS
The obesity epidemic across America has reached a new time high. Adults and children have grown into super-sized versions of their former selves. These people are eating their way to an array of poor health conditions, as well as an early grave. The horrible selection of foods these individuals eat is mainly to blame. But are these people victims addicted to the foods that are killing them?
A poor quality diet consists of foods that contain high saturated fat and trans fat.
Saturated fats promote insulin and leptin resistance, making the body work harder to absorb the nutrients consumed. The body releases these chemicals so it can satisfy the brains demands to keep the body functioning and process the food into energy. Over time the body has to produce more of these hormones to compensate for the resistance. After years of keeping the body in this state, insulin and leptin producers and receivers start to wear out and become completely inefficient.
Trans fatty acids keep the body in a state of systematic inflammation. Adding this to a body already struggling to produce and receive insulin and leptin and you have one toxic combination. The arteries start to become extremely clogged with fatty plaque and narrow, while the body starts to widen and put on fat. Once this cycle begins in the body, it is then trained to continue down this unhealthy path. This makes it easier for the individual to continue eating these unhealthy foods, because their body is immune to feeling lack of energy and nutrients from the food.
Gaining weight, while continuing to eat foods low in nutrients, high in saturated fats and trans fats, create an addiction condition in the body from which most of these individuals will never escape. Settling into this lifestyle, the individual continues to slowly kill themselves—all the while teaching this addictive behavior to the people that surround them, especially children and young adults.
Added sugar or syrups is also a major contributing factor to a poor quality diet. This includes not only white and brown sugar, raw sugar, corn syrup and corn syrup solids, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, malt syrup, pancake syrup, fructose sweetener, and liquid fructose, but also honey, molasses, anhydrous and crystal dextrose.
Sugar sweetened beverages are by far the largest source of added sugar consumed on a daily basis. This can account for up to a whopping 50% of the calories consumed for the individual in a day. The sugar spikes from these sugary beverages are harmful to the insulin response system just like fat, burning out the receptors overtime aiding in Type II diabetes.
Repeated exposure to high quantities of both of these highly palatable foods trigger addictive-like neuroadaptive responses in the brain reward circuit that drives the individual to compulsively eat. The phenomenon for the craving for these extremely palatable foods is similar to recreational drug-like addictions, in the way that they excite the brain’s dopaminepleasure center.
Overloading the brains dopamine-pleasure center can cause dietinduced deficits of dopamine D2 receptors and D2 signaling in the reward circuitry of the brain. The result is a downregulation or “hyposensitivity” to these receptors.
Dietinduced reward hypofunctionality can have a pathiophysiological role in the development to the onset of obesity by increasing the motivation to consume such high-reward or “obeseogenic” foods. This helps the individual ignore logical guilt or danger signs by rewarding the brain’s pleasure center with dopamine from food and drink.
Junk food eats away at your health. Healthy choices equal healthy lives.
Andy Kress is a certified fitness trainer,
yoga instructor and nutritional counselor
in Fort Lauderdale, FL. For more nutritional
tips or inspired exercise routines, reach
him at 954-789-3930 or via email at