In part one, I discussed how obesity starts from a cellular level and how the body fights itself but it actually makes things worse. This article I’m going to discuss where I left off, the link between obesity and cancer and what you can do if you are struggling with obesity
The brain knows how much energy is available from fat (the brain likes fat) because of the leptin system. As fat stores decrease (from fasting or starvation) less leptin is available to signal the hypothalamus, which is part of your brain that controls hunger, and this results in the feeling of intense hunger. As body fat increases leptin increases and the signal to stop eating will be stronger.
Now the A-HA moment is basically the leptin system is supposed to get through the hypothalamus but it can’t because of that broken circuit that I discussed in the first article, which you can find here. It can’t get to your brain since it’s not getting the message it thinks that you are still hungry but you aren’t.
This will cause overeating in the attempt to feel satisfied so palatable foods- the type of food you would do anything for, well it releases dopamine and since that food felt so good the first time you ate it you want to feel that high again but you can’t get it from eating the same amount so you eat more food.
What does obesity and cancer have in common? Many cancers are caused by oxidative stress and chronic inflammation where you just learned that obesity thrives off of this. Insulin resistance also seen in obesity creates a favorable environment for the cancer cells to grow out of control because insulin is a growth building and storage hormone and the presence of high insulin levels make the cancer more out of control.
Cancer cells become the ultimate glucose hog; a raging cancer cell will burn through glucose 200 times faster than a normal cell. If you think in car terms cancer cells are exotic cars they don’t care about fuel efficiency they just go really fast. So this is why cancer patients have just started to eat a low carbohydrate diet or ketogenic diet in hopes of slowing down the cancer. (Please ask your doctor if this is safe for you) Keep in mind though this is fairly new research.
Now I talked about how obesity starts, why it’s not as simple as eating the right kinds of foods and exercising and I also talked about the link between obesity and cancer. Now I am going to talk about what you can do if you are struggling with obesity. Keep in mind this is also good to do if you are diabetic or have onset of Alzheimer’s because they are all related.
Get what’s called an oral glucose tolerance test. This is usually performed by fasting for eight hours, then drinking a glucose and water mixture containing 75g of glucose. After drinking the liquid and waiting two hours, your blood glucose is measured.
But you are not going to do it this way. You are going to do the oral glucose tolerance test after a meal. Take two readings after the meal, one hour after and two hours after. The goal of your blood glucose level after one hour should be less than 140. After two hours it should be less than 120. If it is you are in the clear.
You should do it this way because a healthy person with normal insulin levels will rarely have their blood sugar above 140 after a meal so that’s how they’ve established a baseline. Measure your blood sugar this way for a while to get a sense of what foods you can and can’t eat. Also keep in mind that the amount of starch you can handle will change depending on what you eat with the starchy food in the meal and so it can help you identify which foods to eat with a starchy food to help control blood sugar. (e.g. fiber with veggies) Over time you will not need to measure as much because you will know what works.
Another helpful tip is to find out why you eat- is it because you are stressed, sad, angry etc. Try to find out your why and try to get rid of the problem.
Hopefully from these two articles you have learned a lot about obesity. Obesity is an epidemic plain and simple, hopefully I have gave you some tools to help fight this.
To find out more information
Strong Medicine by Chris Hardy and Marty Gallagher
Precision Nutrition http://www.precisionnutrition.com/
Docs Who Lift http://docswholift.com/