Thursday, June 15, 2006
Why Blame Science?
Here's a parable:
Take two drivers. Both drive the same way in the same kind of car.
One driver gets a ticket for every driving violation (signalling, stopping at stop signs, speeds, shoulder checks).
One driver gets a ticket as often as you would expect for an average motorist.
Who do you think will end up punished more for their behaviour? If the heavily fined motorist became a better driver but still got fined for 100% of their infractions, they would have to go a LONG way to get down the "average" level that other motorists experience.
I look to scientific causes for obesity because some people can intake excess calories and not end up gaining weight. They can exercise and lose weight. Other people cannot. When diet and exercise don't change your weight, you have to ask why. In the driving example above, the police dole out punishment. In obesity, the punishment is doled through scientific factors.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Gut Bugs and Big Guts
The microorganisms that live in your gut could explain one of the sources of obesity, says a new study from researchers at Washington University.
Bacteria live throughout the body, but some intestinal bacteria appear to be better than others at helping their hosts turn food into energy, say researchers Buck S. Samuel and Dr. Jeffrey I. Gordon.
They believe changing the mix of bacteria in the intestine could influence how much people weigh.
Bacteria and archaea, another kind of single-celled organism, are common in the human intestine. Researchers are discovering that together, they help their human hosts extract calories and nutrients from food.
"We know very little about who they are and what they do,'' said Dr. Martin J. Blaser, chair of medicine at New York University.
Samuel decided to investigate that question by inoculating identical mice with different microbes, or a combination of two of the single-celled organisms.
The researchers found mice whose guts were inoculated with just the bacterium Beta thetaiotaomicron (B. theta) could process rodent food better than mice that were given no bacteria.
A second group of mice were inoculated with a combination of B. theta and an archaeon called Methanobrevibacter smithii (M. smithii). Those rodents could extract many more calories from the same amount of food, but they stored the extra energy as excess fat.
The researchers haven't yet concluded whether obese people have more M. smithii in their intestines. But Blaser said he believes scientists could eventually help control human nutrition by manipulating the types of microbes living in the gut.
The results of the study will be published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Eat a sensible diet of 1000 to 1500 calories a day (300-500 calories per meal is do-able). If you have any inclination for indulgences (cookies, chips, chocolate, etc.) swap out the craving for carrot stick and/or celery sticks. Eat those until the cravings pass or you're full. Every time the urge hits you hit the sticks. Before you know it, your stomach will associate cravings with carrots. You'll hate it, but this will re-program your cravings. After about three or four days, you'll associate treats with carrots and the dissatisfaction that they bring.
Here's a quick comparison of small orange snacks: carrots are 10 calories per ounce; cheetos are
162 calories per ounce.