All behaviours have a biochemical basis. To give you an example let’s look at schizophrenia, for a 100 years’ schizophrenia was a behavioural disorder, now we know it’s a defect in dopamine neurotransmission, and probably actually a defect in glucose transport across the brain. These are biochemical problems, that ultimately manifest themselves as a behavioural disorder.
So, what are the biochemical underpinnings behind obesity?
Quick bit of science, leptin is a satiety hormone that signals when you are feeling full, and comes from your fat cell, goes to your brain and tells your brain, you have enough energy on board to engage in normal metabolic break down processes, so that you can burn energy at a normal rate.
Insulin is another hormone that does the same thing, when it senses that you are full it tells your brain, you’ve got enough energy, so let’s burn some fat, however, insulin has a dual role because whilst its telling the brain to burn fat, it also tells your fat cells, get bigger we’ve got some energy that we need to store.
Problems arise when our insulin levels get too high and our brain doesn’t see our leptin, and instead of getting the satiety signal, the brain gets the starvation signal.
As mentioned, insulin plays a dual role, and blocks leptin signalling by acting on the same neurons in the brain as leptin does, which seems like a cruel twist of nature, however there are two times in your life when you must gain weight, puberty and pregnancy, which are both necessary for survival of the species. If your leptin worked right all the time, you could never gain the weight because you’d be on a sugar high, you’d be burning it off before you ever had a chance to gain weight and the species would die out!
Puberty and pregnancy are insulin resistant states where your insulin goes high very specifically to cause the weight gain. Then, you cut the cord, the baby’s out, sex hormones go back down, the insulin resistance goes away, you lose the weight and you can start all over again. So, it makes perfect sense that insulin should block leptin twice in your life. The problem is, now it blocks leptin all the time because most of the time our insulins levels are too are high.
Glucose Is essential for life. Every cell on the planet utilizes glucose for energy. It’s so important that if you don’t eat it, your body makes it, that’s how important it is! We can make glucose from healthy carbohydrates (fruit and vegetables) fat and protein – we don’t NEED sugar for any biochemical purposes in the body, so when we add sugar, we cause biochemical imbalances that affect our behaviour and ultimately our ability to make healthy food choices, exercise and take care of wellbeing.
So really the question should be: are you in control of your weight, or is sugar running the show?
No doubt you will have heard that you need to cut down on sugar, but very rarely is the science behind the mechanism of weight loss and gain explained.
At Vitality Rising we breakdown the science so that you can make empowered choices that put YOU back in control of your weight.