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The Caveman's Curse - Why it is easy to get fat and hard to slim down

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willem9

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Ik was gisteren avond mijn Economist aan het lezen en kwam volgend artikel tegen. Is wel interessant. Dacht het maar te sharen met jullie. De titel spreekt voor zich.

The Economist zei:
The caveman’s curse
Why it is easy to get fat and hard to slim down


OBESITY SEEMS TO have a simple cause. An individual consumes more calories than he uses, so the surplus is stored as fat. Reversing this would seem to be a matter of choice. Don’t eat that burger; do use your bicycle. But this basic equation masks lots of questions about why some people get fat and others don’t, why it is so hard to lose weight, and what damage excess fat does to the body. A legion of scientists are now looking for answers.

It is widely assumed that people are capable of choosing exactly what they eat, but that is only partly true, for various reasons. First, they form associations and habits around food at a young age. It is not for nothing that Proust’s reverie in “Remembrance of Things Past” was inspired by a madeleine cake, and why some dishes are known as “comfort foods”. Second, the amount of food people consume is often influenced by external factors, from the size of their plate to the music being played in the background, as Brian Wansink of Cornell University has documented. The bigger the bowl of soup, the more of it people will slurp.

People’s bodies are also predisposed, to varying degrees, to gain weight rather than lose it. The body uses a range of hormones known as homeostatic factors to indicate whether it is hungry or full. For example, ghrelin, made in the stomach, helps to signal that the body wants food. Leptin, a hormone secreted by fatty tissue, tells the brain that it is time to stop eating. These signals are meant to help the body balance energy consumed with energy spent, but they can be overridden by other factors.

Animal experiments show that when rodents first consume a sugary food the brain releases dopamine, a chemical also involved in drug addiction. It signals pleasure and helps drive motivation. The more scrumptious the food, the more dopamine is produced. The same reaction is found in humans. But over time a glut of sugary foods seems to change the brain’s circuitry. Obese people become conditioned to getting excited by the sight of yummy food. Just a glance at a fried Oreo can trigger higher activity in the frontal cortex (linked to reward and motivation) of a fat person than it would in those of normal weight. At the same time fat people seem to have fewer dopamine receptors. This is a dangerous combination—they get more worked up by the prospect of junk food, but also get less pleasure from eating it. This may drive compulsive overeating. And as an individual gets fatter, levels of leptin, the fullness hormone, rise so much that the brain seems to stop responding to it. When he starts to lose weight, leptin levels drop and the brain signals that he is starving, even if he still has plenty of fat to spare.

All this served man well until very recently. Cavemen needed to eat what they could when it was available, storing any surplus because the next meal could be a long way off. But what was useful in the savannah is less so in suburbia, home to the 512-calorie 7-Eleven Super Big Gulp Coca-Cola. Man’s biology is hopelessly out of sync with the modern environment.

“Humans have a biological disposition to a certain size of fat store. If they try to lose weight, the body will work hard to make sure they regain it”Yet not everyone is obese. Studies of siblings and twins show that the propensity for getting fat is largely determined by genes. In the 1980s Rudolph Leibel of Columbia University and his colleagues were among the first to identify some genes that influence the way the brain regulates food intake. Since then genetic analyses have revealed many more genes involved in this process. Genetics does not guarantee that someone will get fat, says Philip James of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, nor does it explain the dramatic rise in the number of fat people in recent decades. But genes do help explain why, given similar conditions, some people are fatter than others.

The mechanisms that help make people obese also prevent them from losing weight easily. Dr Leibel argues that humans have a biological disposition to a certain size of fat store. If they try to lose weight, the body will work hard to make sure they regain it. Leptin levels drop while hunger-signalling ghrelin levels rise. A recent study by Joseph Proietto and his colleagues at the University of Melbourne showed that, even a year after individuals had lost weight after dieting, their levels of leptin remained depressed and those of ghrelin elevated. Dr Leibel and his colleagues examined patients before and after they had lost 10% of their body weight through a diet, using magnetic resonance imaging to watch their brains respond to food. Before the weight loss their brains viewed the food with relative equanimity. Afterwards they signalled great excitement.

Such studies help explain why so many diets fail. It is not just lack of willpower but a biological response honed over millennia. “The evolutionary process has led to a gene pool that is designed to defend body weight against falling below a minimum,” Dr Leibel explains, “but not to defend against gain.”

All this biology, however, cannot explain one notable feature of the obesity epidemic. The rich and well-educated have mostly managed to stay slim, or at least have got less fat than the less well off. In America obesity rates in children with college-educated parents are less than half the rates of children whose parents lack a high-school degree. Marion Devaux and her colleagues at the OECD, a rich-country think-tank, found an inverse relationship between education levels and the likelihood of getting fat in Australia, Canada and England. The picture is slightly different in poor and middle-income countries, where the more affluent urbanites are usually the first to put on weight. As the economy develops, however, the poor become obese in disproportionately large numbers.

Among the many explanations put forward for this link is that educated people may be better informed about health issues. They may also have better access to doctors, gyms, parks and healthy food. The poor may be under greater stress, making it harder for them to resist food that is cheap, tasty, convenient and relentlessly advertised. Whatever the cause, a lot of poor and uneducated people are also fat.

For poor and rich alike, an easy medical solution to obesity would be a great boon. But such treatments as are available leave much to be desired.
 

broodjekip

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tsja ik vind het weer zo n typisch populistisch stukje.
Vooral onsportieve, zware mensen zullen weer roepen: Zie je wel, het zijn mijn genen, ik kan er niks aan doen.
Natuurlijk zijn er individuele verschillen, maar waar een wil is is een weg.
En ja, ook in ned. zullen de lagere bevolkingsgroepen wel dikker zijn.
Die zitten tenslotte savonds in de bank met een blik aldi bier en de frituur op het aanrecht.

Ik ben ook een FFB, ik moet ook veel sporten, bewuste keuzes maken in mijn voeding en een leven lang opletten. Heb niet de juiste 'genen' maar dan nog is het eindresultaat afhankelijk van je eigen keuzes in het leven.
 

Prophecy

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@ broodjekip

Waar een wil is is een weg, dat zeker, maar voor mensen met een langzaam metabolisme (en meer specifiek een metabolisme dat sterk vertraagd zodra je calorieën gaat beperken) is die weg wel een héél stuk zwaarder dan bij mensen met een normaal of zelfs snel metabolisme.

Ik ken zat ecto's die zelf leven op chips en snoep en vervolgens wel bij het zien van een dik wijf op station met een portie friet zeggen; "pff als je zo dik bent ga je dat toch niet eten??!"
Dan begrijp en besef je niet helemaal dat lang niet iedereen evenveel aanleg heeft om dik te worden.
 
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corpaul

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Zie je wel, het zijn mijn genen, ik kan er niks aan doen.

:fuu:
 

Taste Of Fire

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Vaak eten ecto's veel te weinig, ook al denken ze van niet.
Vaak eten (te) dikke mensen te veel, ook al denken of weten ze dat niet.

Dat de ene persoon meer kcal nodig heeft dan een ander persoon is logisch. Dat niet iedereen een snel metabolisme heeft, is ook logisch.

Mensen hoeven niet dik te worden, die keuze heeft iedereen (misschien te vaak onbewust).

Uitzonderingen daargelaten (medicatie, genetic freaks, etc.)
 

Webby

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Dat je een jaar na afgevallen te zijn nog steeds lagere Leptin levels en hogere Ghrelin levels krijgen is vervelend, maar als mensen kunnen stoppen met roken zou je dit ook moeten kunnen negeren. Het verlangen naar een sigaret blijft je ook heel je leven bij als je het eenmaal in je systeem hebt. Blijft wilskracht...
 

stronglifter

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Zie je wel, het zijn mijn genen, ik kan er niks aan doen.

:fuu:

Paul jij bent niet dik je wilt dik zijn omdat je powerlifter bent en btw ik weet zeker dat jij de aanleg hebt om lean te worden:) je hebt veel massa

---------- Post toegevoegd Thu 20 Dec 2012 om 22:26 ----------

Vaak eten ecto's veel te weinig, ook al denken ze van niet.
Vaak eten (te) dikke mensen te veel, ook al denken of weten ze dat niet.

Dat de ene persoon meer kcal nodig heeft dan een ander persoon is logisch. Dat niet iedereen een snel metabolisme heeft, is ook logisch.

Mensen hoeven niet dik te worden, die keuze heeft iedereen (misschien te vaak onbewust).

Uitzonderingen daargelaten (medicatie, genetic freaks, etc.)
Dit.

Gelukkig leeft alle BB'ers gezond en weten wij hoe we onze lichaam moeten behandelen dat is met respect, wat je daarvoor terug krijgt is heel veel voordelen. Al ben je een ecto en je eet ongezond van buiten zie je er gezond uit van binnen gaat je lichaam kapot van de slechte eten. Zolang jijde motivatie hebt om door te gaan zul je altijd jezelf vertrouwen niet bedriegen.
 

corpaul

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