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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:09 pm    Post subject: Overweight People May Not Know When They've Had Enough

Overweight People May Not Know When They've Had Enough
Brain-imaging study may explain why some continue to eat, despite full stomachs
January 9, 2008
Brookhaven National Laboratory

UPTON, NY - Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have found new clues to why some people overeat and gain weight while others don't. Examining how the human brain responds to "satiety" messages delivered when the stomach is in various stages of fullness, the scientists have identified brain circuits that motivate the desire to overeat. Treatments that target these circuits may prove useful in controlling chronic overeating, according to the authors. The study is published online and will appear in the February 15, 2008 issue of NeuroImage.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 11:17 am    Post subject: Salt intake is strongly associated with obesity

University of Helsinki
1 November 2006

Salt intake is strongly associated with obesity

Comprehensive reduction in salt intake would be a powerful means against obesity, claims new study
A study published in the journal "Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases" refutes the frequently repeated claims that a comprehensive salt reduction would not produce any overall health benefits, or would even increase diseases and shorten the life-span.

Professors, Dr. Heikki Karppanen of the University of Helsinki and Dr. Eero Mervaala of the University of Kuopio report that an average 30-35 % reduction in salt intake during 30 years in Finland was associated with a dramatic 75 % to 80 % decrease in both stroke and coronary heart disease mortality in the population under 65 years. During the same period the life expectancy of both male and female Finns increased by 6 to 7 years.

The most powerful explaining factor for the favorable changes was the more than 10 mmHg ("point") decrease in the average blood pressure of the population. A marked decrease in the average cholesterol levels of the population also remarkably contributed to the decrease of heart diseases. The extensive use of drugs contributed less than 10 % of the observed decreases in blood pressure, cholesterol, and cardiovascular diseases.

"To our surprise, the sales figures of the American Salt Institute divulged that salt intake increased more than 50 % in USA during 15 years from mid-1980s to the late 1990s", says Professor Karppanen. The study reports that the prevalence of high blood pressure, which had long shown a decreasing trend, turned to a marked increase concomitantly with the increase in salt intake.

Perhaps the most interesting finding of the study is the close link between salt intake and obesity. The study reports that increasing intakes of sodium (salt) obligatorily produce a progressive increase in thirst. The progressive increase in the average intake of salt explains the observed concomitant increase in the intake of beverages which, in turn, has caused a marked net increase in the intake of calories during the same period in the United States.

Between 1977 and 2001, energy intake from sweetened beverages increased on the average by 135 % in the United States. During the same period, the energy intake from milk was reduced by 38 %. The net effect on energy intake was a 278 kcal increase per person a day. The American Heart Association has estimated that, to burn the average increase of 278 kcal a day and avoid the development or worsening of obesity, each American should now walk or vacuum 1 hour 10 minutes more every day than in 1977. Unfortunately, this has not been the case.

In a decade from 1976-1980 to 1988-1994 the prevalence of obesity increased 61 % among men and 52 % among women. During 1999 to 2002, the prevalence of obesity was 120 % higher among men and 99 % higher among women as compared with the 1976 to 1980 figures. The increased intake of salt, through induction of thirst with increased intake of high-energy beverages has obviously remarkably contributed to the increase of obesity in the United States.

It is noteworthy that, until 1983 the use of salt did not change or even showed a continuous decreasing trend in the United States. The prevalence of obesity was relatively low and remained essentially unchanged from early 1960s to early 1980s. The study suggests that a comprehensive reduction in salt intake, which would reduce the intake of high-energy beverages, would be a potentially powerful means in the so far failed attempts to combat obesity in industrialized societies.

The authors conclude that there now is conclusive population-wide evidence, which indicates powerful beneficial health effects of comprehensive salt reduction. Decrease of obesity is now added to the previous list of recognized benefits. The population-wide long-term experience from Finland indicates that a remarkable decrease in the salt intake has not caused any adverse effects. Professor Karppanen states that "the repeated warnings of various industries on possible harmful effects of comprehensive salt reduction are unjustified and even unethical".
PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 10:11 am    Post subject: The neurobiology behind why eating feels so good

Journal of Clinical Investigation
19 October 2006

The neurobiology behind why eating feels so good

The need to eat is initiated, in part, by a hormone known as ghrelin. Although ghrelin is known to be produced in the gut and to trigger the brain to promote eating, it remains to be determined precisely how ghrelin affects different parts of the brain. Now, in a study appearing online on October 19, in advance of publication in the December print issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers from Yale University, have shown that in mice and rats ghrelin triggers the same neurons as delicious food, sexual experience, and many recreational drugs; that is, neurons that provide the sensation of pleasure and the expectation of reward. These neurons produce dopamine and are located in a region of the brain known as the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Tamas Horvath and colleagues showed that ghrelin bound its receptor on neurons of the VTA and triggered their production of dopamine. Importantly, infusion of ghrelin into the VTA of rats increased their food intake. Conversely, infusion of inhibitors of the ghrelin receptor into the VTA of rats decreased the amount they consumed after a 24-hour fast. This study identifies the VTA as a site of action for ghrelin to induce food intake. As this region of the brain is also triggered by many recreational drugs and is known to be produce the expectation of reward, the authors suggest that ghrelin stimulation of the VTA might be involved in diseases of food abuse.
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 3:46 pm    Post subject: Study finds anorexia nevorsa is heritable

Study finds anorexia nevorsa is heritable

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., March 6 (UPI) -- A University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill study of Swedish twins suggests anorexia nervosa is heritable and linked to neurotic behavior early in life.

Anorexia nervosa -- an eating disorder characterized by an extreme fear of obesity and an aversion to food -- is associated with the highest death rate of any mental disorder, but little is known about risk factors for its development.

UNC's Cynthia Bulik and colleagues studied individuals in the Swedish Twin Registry to examine the prevalence, heritability and risk factors for anorexia.

For the current study, they focused on the 31,406 twins in the registry born between Jan. 1, 1935, and Dec. 31, 1958.

The overall prevalence of anorexia in 2002 was 1.2 percent in women and .29 percent in men. The researchers estimate the disorder is 56 percent inherited, with the remaining differences caused by environmental factors.

Those in the study born after 1945 had a higher prevalence of anorexia than those born before and individuals with lifetime anorexia reported lower body mass indexes, exercising more and having better overall health satisfaction than those without anorexia.

The study's details appear in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:25 pm    Post subject: Eating disorders

Eating disorders
Wed Feb 22, 2006
Dr. Gary S. Sy, M.D.
Manila Bulletin

LOT of people has eating habits that could be considered "strange." Some are extremely choosy eaters, consuming only a few kinds of foods. Some are ritualistic about their food, eating certain foods only at certain times or in certain combinations.

But serious eating disorders are grouped into three categories:

Anorexia nervosa – characterized by an individual who refuses to maintain a minimally normal body weight.

Bulimia nervosa – characterized by an individual who engages in repeated incidences of binge eating, then compensates for the excess calories by purging – inducing, vomiting, misusing laxatives, diuretics, or other medications; and fasting or exercising excessively.

Binge eating disorder – rapid consumption of large amounts of food without purging.

What is Anorexia Nervosa?

Coming from the Greek words ‘an’ (lack of), ‘orexis’ (appetite), and ‘nervosa’ (mental disorder), anorexia nervosa literally means "lack of appetite due to mental disorder.

A person with anorexia nervosa consciously maintains her weight at a level lower than the low end of the normal weight range for her height. It’s not easy to distinguish anorexia from thinness since many people are thin because of genetic reasons or simply because they exercise a lot or don’t eat much. The primary difference between thinness and anorexia is that the anorexic is characterized by a distorted body image, an extreme fear of obesity, refusal to maintain normal body weight, and in women, the absence of menstrual period. About 95% of the people who have this disorder are females. It usually begins in adolescence, occasionally earlier, and less commonly in adulthood. Anorexia nervosa primarily affects people in middle and upper socio-economic classes. Its cause is unknown, but social factors appear to be important. The obsession to be thin and society considered obesity unattractive, unhealthy, and undesirable.

What are the diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa?

A victim of anorexia will exhibit most, if not all, of these symptoms:

l Refuses to maintain a normal body weight for age and height.

l Extreme weight loss.

l A female who missed at least three consecutive menstrual cycles.

l Intense fear of gaining weight or "getting fat" even though underweight.

l Denies the seriousness of low body weight.

l Feels "fat" even though very thin.

l No known physical condition that would account for her low weight.

What is Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia nervosa is characterized by bingeing and purging. The binge eating must be episodic – meaning that it occurs repeatedly (at least twice a week) for at least three months. During binge, which usually takes place over the course of one to two hours, the individual feels completely out of control around food… unable to stop eating huge quantities of primarily high-fat, high-sugar foods like cookies, cakes, and ice cream. Once the binge is over, the victim is horrified about what he/she has done then panic and guilt set in. To get rid of the excessive calories, the bulimic will induce vomiting; take large amounts of laxatives or diuretics, engage in intense, prolong periods of exercise; go on a rigid diet, or simply eat nothing at all.

What are the diagnostic criteria for bulimia nervosa?

l Recurrent episodes of binge eating.

l Recurrent episodes of compensatory behavior to avoid weight gain.

l Engages in binge eating and compensatory behaviors on an average of at least twice a week for three months.

l Self-worth depends on body shape and weight.

What is Binge Eating Disorder (BED)?

Although not an officially recognized eating disorder. Binge Eating Disorder is much more common than anorexia or bulimia. Formerly referred to as compulsive overeaters or food addicts, and may have many of the characteristics of bulimics. They consume huge amounts of food within a relatively short period of time (usually two hours) while experiencing the same out-of-control feelings. The difference is that those with Binge Eating Disorder don’t purge.

What are the diagnostic criteria for Binge Eating Disorder?

l Eating in a discrete period of time of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances.

l A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating).

l Eating at a much more rapid pace than normal.

l Eating until feeling uncomfortably full.

l Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry.

l Eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating.

l Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty after overeating.

l The binge eating is not associated with the regular use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors (for example… purging; fasting; and excessive exercise).

What is the treatment for Eating Disorders?

Even in the early stages of the disorder, treatment is best done in the hospital by a team of physicians, nurses, social worker, and dietitians who are experienced in such conditions. The physician and the dietitian will agree on the type of diet to attain suitable body weight at a healthy rate. While in the hospital, the patient will participate in individual and group psychotherapy. The more that is learned about personal and family problems, the better the chance of solving them.

Dr. Gary S. Sy, M.D. is the Medical Director of Life Extension Medical Center located at The Garden Plaza Hotel (formerly Swiss Inn Hotel) 1370 General Luna St., Paco, Manila. He is a Diplomate in Gerontology and Geriatrics, advocate Diet-Nutritional Therapy, and conducts free seminar every Friday about age-related health problems. For more details, please call telephone numbers: 400-4205 or 522-4835 local 315. E-mail address:

Please tune in at DZRH 666khz "Operation Tulong" every Wednesday and Friday at 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. and DZMM 630 khz "Gabay sa Kalusugan" awarded as "2005 CMMA as Best Educational Radio Program," every Sunday at 11 a.m. to 12 noon.
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:35 pm    Post subject: (Health) Eating Troubles

Eating Troubles

Emily Sohn
8 February 2006

We all have to eat, but choosing the right foods can be hard. Many people also have trouble controlling how much they eat.
Instead of eating reasonable portions of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and other healthy foods, lots of people eat too many cookies and chips. Many people just eat too much food in general.

One result is an epidemic of obesity that has swelled the waistlines of millions of adults and kids. This increase in obesity has led to increases in the occurrence of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses.

Some people have trouble controlling how much they eat. Others are so worried about getting fat that they strictly limit how much they eat and may end up starving themselves.

But for other people, food becomes the enemy. They worry so much about getting fat that they either severely limit what they eat or make themselves throw up right after eating. Doctors say that these people have eating disorders.

Eating disorders among teens are much less common than obesity is. Yet the health consequences of eating disorders can be just as severe.

Not eating enough can lead to heart attacks, weak bones, organ damage, and fainting spells. Repeatedly throwing up causes chemical imbalances in the body, erodes teeth, and destroys the stomach lining.

Researchers are zeroing in on what causes certain people to develop eating disorders, why some people are more at risk than others, and what kinds of education programs work best to keep people from taking drastic measures to lose weight or stay slim.

It's important to learn how to recognize signs of disordered eating in yourself and your friends, doctors say, because research shows that getting treatment early on is the key to a quick recovery.

Starving yourself

In the United States, eating disorders affect as many as 10 million girls and women and 1 million boys and men.

One type of eating disorder is called anorexia (or anorexia nervosa). People with anorexia eat only tiny amounts of food. They're often obsessed with measuring food portions or counting calories. They may exercise for hours every day to burn off the few calories that they do consume. Someone who weighs 100 pounds can drop to an unhealthy weight of just 80 pounds, or even less, if they develop anorexia.

People with anorexia may be obsessed with measuring food portions, counting calories, and checking their weight.

Instead of starving themselves, people with an eating disorder called bulimia (or bulimia nervosa) eat a huge amount—like a quart of ice cream, a giant bag of chips, or a package of cookies—in a short time. Then, they try to get rid of the food by forcing themselves to vomit.

Both disorders often begin around puberty, when kids' bodies change in important ways. These changes can be stressful, especially for girls.

People have long blamed eating disorders on a culture that idolizes skinny women and muscular men. The idea is that pictures in movies and magazines become unrealistic goals for people, who then take dangerous measures to change the way they look.

One of the most surprising findings in recent years, however, is that genetics and biology may also play a role. Anorexia and bulimia run in families, says Kelly Klump, a psychologist at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

Genes and hormones

Klump and her coworkers have found that the family connection starts to emerge after puberty, usually in the early teen years. That's when levels of certain hormones start to change in kids' bodies.

Hormones are chemical compounds that help keep our bodies working properly. Hormones control how quickly cells make and digest proteins. They play roles in how fast we grow, how hungry we are, and how we feel.

Klump suspects that each person's genes determine his or her particular hormone levels. That's what makes some people more likely to develop unhealthy eating behaviors. Hormone differences may also explain why eating disorders are more common among girls and women than among boys and men.

Finding a genetic link, however, doesn't mean that fate determines who will end up with an eating disorder. "You're not doomed," Klump says. It only means that some people are at greater risk.

Media images

Whatever your risk for an eating disorder, one thing is certain: Media images have a big impact on how people feel about themselves.

Some studies have shown that girls who try to look like movie stars and fashion models are more likely to make themselves vomit than other girls are, says Alison Field. She's an eating disorder expert at Children's Hospital Boston.

And studies by Harvard psychiatrist Ann Becker showed that the occurrence of bulimia skyrocketed in Fiji after television was introduced to that South Pacific island in 1995. After just 3 years of watching commercials for exercise equipment and TV shows full of good-looking, superthin actors, the number of Fijian girls who said they vomited to lose weight jumped from 3 percent to 15 percent.

Media and advertising images can be misleading. Photos of models and actors are often touched up to make them look better.

Learning to resist the allure of media images may be the most important way for kids to protect themselves from eating disorders, Field says. After all, pictures can be deceiving.

The images that we see have usually been altered in various ways to make models and actors look even better than they do in person. "There's manipulation behind all ads," Field says. Ads are supposed to make you feel bad about yourself so that you buy stuff.

Dieting risks

Many schools today teach students about the hazards of obesity and the importance of staying lean. However, some studies have shown that kids who diet end up gaining more weight than those who don't. The more people try to restrict their food intake, the more likely they are to think about food. And the more they think about food, the more likely they are to head for the kitchen.

The best strategy, Field says, might be to teach kids about obesity and eating disorders. After all, the underlying message is the same. If you eat well and get enough exercise, your weight and health should fall into place.

School-based educational programs can be quite powerful. In one recent study, 500 middle-school girls participated in a program called Planet Health. The program taught the girls about nutrition and fitness within the context of other school subjects. After 2 years, the number of girls who were using diet pills or vomiting to lose weight dropped from 6.2 percent to 2.8 percent. It might be worth encouraging your school to adopt a similar program.

In the meantime, if you or any of your friends are showing signs of eating disorders, it's important to get help right away. Talk to a parent, a teacher, a doctor, or some other adult you trust.

You need to realize that you're not alone, Field says. You can really benefit from the help that other people can give.


Questions to explore further this topic:

What are eating disorders?

Anorexia Nervosa

Eating disorders in athletes

Binge eating disorder

Bulimia Nervosa

What causes eating disorders?


How does one treat eating disorders?


What can you do to help prevent eating disorders?


Is the media really that influential?

Is obesity a problem?


What is self-esteem?


Food and stress, any relationship?



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