In Rodents Fed High-Fat Diets, Gut Microbes Boost Hunger, Trigger Obesity

After several hints that gut microbes may be key players in the obesity epidemic, a new study provides a mechanistic explanation of how the intestinal inhabitants directly induce hunger, insulin resistance, and ultimately obesity in rodents.

Source: In rodents fed high-fat diets, gut microbes boost hunger, trigger obesity

The percentage of fat in our diets (since the early 80s) has gone down, but protein stayed the same, and carbs have gone up to pick up the slack.

The Psychological Factors That Cause Food Cravings

I’ve heard a lot of people say that: when they start eating healthier, they start craving healthier food over time…

I haven’t noticed that working for me.  Not exactly.  I get cravings, but when I go to address the craving – I do try to make healthier choices.

Stick to Your Diet for at Least a Year for Potentially Lasting Weight Loss

If you’ve ever dieted before, you know how hard it is to keep the weight off for good. New research suggests that if you maintain your weight loss for at least 52 weeks, it’ll be easier to maintain that weight in the long run.

Source: Stick to Your Diet for at Least a Year for Potentially Lasting Weight Loss

You don’t necessarily need to deprive yourself, either. Just eat more vegetables.

Given the sample size (no pun intended), I’d stick to what this study found about how long you need to keep weight off to make it a more permanent change.

New nonsurgical weight-loss treatment curbs hunger, melts away pounds

Battling bulge can often be a frustrating fight—with tedious calorie counting, rigorous exercise regimens, and invasive and expensive stomach-shrinking surgeries. But a new method to offload the flab promises to be a quick and simple treatment that cuts cravings and leads to sustainable weight loss.

The non-surgical procedure works using tiny, injectable beads that restrict blood flow to the part of the stomach that releases the hunger-sparking hormone, ghrelin. In a pilot clinical trial with seven severely obese patients, the method successfully curbed hunger and trimmed an average of 13.3 percent of excess weight after six months.

Source: New nonsurgical weight-loss treatment curbs hunger, melts away pounds

Given that the treatment involves obstructing blood vessels to restrict blood flow, it will be interesting to see how many people who could benefit from this would actually be eligible. Healthy circulation in the morbidly obese is not something you can take for granted!

I’d also want to know about the long-term effects of this, particularly the likelihood of the beads getting dislodged and clogging blood vessels they’re not supposed to.

Curious about the FDA approved AstraZeneca’s approach in 2014?  Leptin doesn’t work, since it’s too easily overcome.  The drug also has very nasty side effects, including diabetes and lymphoma. It is really only supposed to be used by people who have a congenital Leptin deficiency. Providers must go through special training to be able to prescribe the drug.

How Hormones Make You Feel Hungry and Full

The need to find fuel to generate energy is a profound drive within the biology of all living organisms: we all need food to survive. So it’s not surprising that our bodies have such a complex system to control food intake, driven by hormones.

Source: How Hormones Make You Feel Hungry and Full

Interesting to learn that the food cravings after/during weight loss are hormonal.

You Snooze, You Win: How a Lack of Sleep Can Hold Back Your Weight Loss

In grade school, we were told that “You snooze, you lose.” Now as adults, we know sleep is important, but when life gets hectic it’s often the first thing we cut out. That’s truly our loss. In fact, crappy z’s could be a big reason you aren’t losing weight. Here’s why.

Source: You Snooze, You Win: How a Lack of Sleep Can Hold Back Your Weight Loss

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that despite an awful lot of money thrown at this by pharmas (it’s potentially the holy grail of a weight loss pill) while we have some interesting correlates on leptin and ghrelin and sleep and appetite, we haven’t really begun figuring out their mechanisms yet.

In fact, one of the more interesting bits of research that came out after that Chicago study was that that a population with untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has levels of leptin far above what their BMI should indicate, yet they are entirely resistant to its effects on appetite.

It’s also why any study involving leptin or ghrelin should be screening participants for potential sleep disorders, as the latter can wildly skew data. Unfortunately, almost nobody does that.

How to Free Yourself from Food Cravings with Intermittent Fasting

Fasting for weight loss might sound as silly as drinking water for thirst, but it’s not exactly the same thing. Let’s look at a special kind of fasting, called intermittent fasting (or IF), that can be a powerful tool on your fitness journey.

Source: How to Free Yourself from Food Cravings with Intermittent Fasting

I would say IF has become a buzzword, and the hype around it has been inflated over the mild benefits. Much like any other fad diet, if you can be hungry for a while but not eat, you lose weight! It works for some people who just go hungry, but likely will result in poor long term weight loss like most fad diets.

Study Explains Why Men Eat Like Disgusting Animals

To some, scarfing down food is natural, and the ability is often associated with growing teenage boys or grown men more so than women. A group of researchers from Semyung University in South Korea wanted to better understand what the chewing and eating differences were between men and women, and how chewing patterns had an effect on weight. In their study, which was published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, they found that men and women had vastly different chewing “performances,” and that obesity also had an effect on chewing and eating behaviors.

…While the study found a significant difference between the chewing patterns of men and women, it did not fully explain whether chewing was directly related to weight gain or weight loss. Sure, chewing quickly and swallowing huge amounts of food in a short period of time might be a factor in obesity — but so are a myriad of other things like physical inactivity, depression, and genetics. The researchers concluded that they’ll need more research, but they hope that at some point the information will be used to develop obesity therapies.

Source: Chew On This: Your Brother Scarfs His Food Down Because Men’s Chewing Patterns Differ From Women’s

I’m surprised to see the variation in such a small sample.

The Best Ways to Deal With Hunger on a Diet

Because of leptin and ghrelin’s actions, we annoyingly feel more hungry when dieting and less so when gaining mass. The horrible irony of this means we need some ways to control our appetite, so without further ado:

Source: Appetite Experiments – Part Two: 13 ways to Suppress Appetite

Before anything else, make sure you’ve covered the basics:

  1. You should not feel hungry at the very start of a well-designed diet.
  2. It might be a good idea to keep your diet flexible, because rigid dieting may lead to binge eating tendencies. Even if you’ve been doing everything perfectly, fat loss increases hunger for biological reasons.

If you still find yourself straying on your diet, binge eating, or fighting your own willpower to stay on track, relax, practice mindfulness and some self-compassion, and discover the root causes.

The Benefits of Intentionally Failing on Your Diet

I’ve listened to many reasons people fail on diets. One of the most cited is “life got in the way.” A wedding, bachelor party, or happy hour can derail even those who claim the highest of willpower. Here’s a solution that’s so simple it’s often overlooked.

….when obesity researchers at Brown Medical School instructed participants to take a short break from their diet, they were surprised. Not only did dieters not gain weight during the break (compared to the control group), but they had no problem getting back on the diet. Simply instructing dieters to take a break made them react completely different from the norm.

Source: The Benefits of Intentionally Failing on Your Diet

The more you fail on purpose, the better prepared you’ll be to deal with it when factors beyond your control cause you to fail.