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Friday, November 9, 2012

How Carbohydrates Make You Hungry

By Terrance Franklin

So far we've read about the main forms of macro-nutrients, the two kinds of metabolic process your body can run on, and why these are important points to consider for survival. In terms of advice the favorite looking quite seriously toward a fat based diet plan rather than one based upon carbohydrates like grains, flour and sugar.

Until now, we were concentrating mostly on the results of carbohydrates on blood insulin in your body. However now, we're going to check out a vital hormone that has just entered the limelight in nutritional science: leptin.

The mystery of the obese mice

In 1950, scientists were in the process of breeding lab rats for different features. One of the variations was a tremendously hungry mouse that would eat until it was physically unable to. All these mice would eventually become obese, giving them the appropriate nickname of 'obese mice'.

It was 4 decades before the problem of why the obese mice could eat so much was solved. At Rockefeller University in 1994, a researcher known as Jeffrey Friedman was able to segregate a protein which, when injected to the obese mice, would enable them to eat normally and get back to normal weight. This protein was a mix of 167 amino acids called leptin.

The way in which the hormone functions is by controlling the body's hunger. When you experience hunger, you will continue eating until you are 'satisfied', however the quantity of food which will allow you to be satisfied is determined by leptin. The reason obese mice consumed in the way they did was since they were genetically unable to either produce the hormone or perhaps have functioning receptors. Thus, they kept eating to satisfy their hunger. This sounds like an awesome science story but the applications to survival foods are enormous.

Losing leptin sensitivity

In nature, the hormone is the perfect feedback loop to sustaining a normal body weight. It is made by fat cells themselves, therefore theoretically, having more fat cells would make a person feel much less hungry. Fat levels will decrease to normal and nobody would be at a bad weight. But there are actually hundreds of millions of human examples to verify that it isn't the case these days.

The reason this occurs is leptin insensitivity. From having persistently high levels of the hormone, leptin receptors in the brain can't tell when levels are high or low. Basically, this is what happened with the obese rats - with no ability to tell when they are full they would eat until they couldn't anymore. This would be devastating in a survival case, either by causing unnecessarily higher food intake or just by being traumatic mentally from constant hunger.

Luckily, there is a solution for this. Low carb diet plans have been shown to recover leptin sensitivity in two methods. First, they lower blood triglycerides making it easier for the hormone to reach the human brain. Secondly, they have the effects of reducing bodyfat which contributes to chronically elevated levels. Also, various carbohydates such as fructose and wheat have shown to intervene directly with leptin receptors.

You decrease carbs, you lessen leptin insensitivity, you decrease hunger.

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