by cheri sabraw
At the risk of alienating all of you, I am going to quote from Fat Chance. I will paraphrase Dr. Lustig’s paragraph (p.71) after you read it.
The Limbic Triangle: Disordered Eating, Obesity, and Disease.
These three brain pathways (hunger, reward, stress) drive hyperinsulinemia (excess insulin levels), resulting in obesity and metabolic syndrome. We call this model the “limbic triangle”—similar to the Bermuda Triangle: once you get in, you can’t get out. Chronic insulin action at the VMH inhibits leptin signaling, which is interpreted as starvation. This decreases SNS activity (sloth) and increases vagal activity (hunger). In the VTA, chronic insulin deregulates hedonic reward pathways by inhibiting leptin signaling (reward). You want to eat more, especially high-fat and high-sugar treats, which results in excessive energy intake. Chronic activation of the amygdala increases levels of cortisol (stress).By itself, this promotes excess food intake and insulin resistance, ratcheting up insulin levels and accelerating weight gain.This what is going on in virtually every obese individual.
Now, for my translation:
Either hunger, reward, and/or stress contribute to your pancreas producing more insulin (a hormone) than you need. Insulin that is not burned is immediately stored in your fat cells, the number of which is determined by the time you are two. They are like balloons, hoping you will fill them with fat (storage) and forget to burn the fat off through activity. Excess insulin levels produce weight gain and obesity.
When your pancreas is overworked from sugar consumption and is producing more insulin than your body needs, the VMH, (the ventromedial hypthalamus)-which is like a CEO that balances your energy expenditure with your energy storage-begins to inhibit the hormone called leptin, a protein which tells your hypothalamus that you have enough energy stored in your fat cells (so you are not hungry). When this happens, your hypothalamus tells your body it needs food for storage.
Your SNS ( sympathetic nervous system) slows (stops burning fat) because it has been told you are hungry. Feed me, it says. I need energy!! This imbalance is like that little sugar-devil on your shoulder that commands you consume more sugary (energy producing) foods.
When this syndrome becomes chronic, your amygydala ( an area of your brain) tells your adrenal gland to produce more cortisol, the hormone that prepares your body for dealing with stress. This vicious cycle causes you to eat more and creates insulin resistance, which in turn, produces obesity.
As Dr. Lustig cleverly writes: “Desserts is Stressed spelled backwards.
Your insulin levels determine whether you will store or burn fat. Too much insulin creates insulin resistance, so you continue to store fat in those balloons.
You can take one small step today: reduce your sugar intake.
If I have made any errors, please let me know.