Personal Nutrition and Obesity in America

The disease of obesity in America is quickly gaining importance as a major health concern. Genetics and hormones play a role in obesity, but not as big of a role as you do. For the vast majority of us, genes may set the lower limits of our weight, but we set the upper limits by our food choices and personal nutrition. Most of those food choices contain high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup is a sweetener produced using cornstarch. It contains a mixture of simple sugars called glucose and fructose. High fructose corn syrup can contain up to 90% fructose. High fructose corn syrup can raise blood sugar levels which raise insulin production, both of which play a large role in regulating hunger. High fructose corn syrup doesn’t have the same impact as other forms of carbohydrates such as glucose, which comes from cane sugar.

Research studies have shown that there are a number of hormones that effect appetite and energy use in the body. Hormones are chemicals released by cells that affect other cells. Only a very small amount of hormone is required to alter cell metabolism. Hormones are essentially a chemical messenger that moves a signal from one cell to another. All multicellular organisms produce hormones. The hormones in animals are often transported in the blood. Cells respond to a hormone when they express a specific receptor for that hormone. The hormone binds to the receptor protein, resulting in the activation of a signal transduction mechanism that ultimately leads to cell type-specific responses.

Ghrelin is the hormone thought to signal the brain that you are hungry. It is also referred to as the “appetite increaser.” Although ghrelin has been linked to hunger and how fast it returns after we eat, it has also been recently thought to play a role in regulating body weight. Ghrelin can “peak” late evening, and so it has been linked to the reason we like to “midnight snack.” custom supplements

Leptin, the “appetite suppressor,” is one of the satiety hormones. Leptin signals the brain that the body has enough energy stores. It is manufactured by fat cells, so the more body fat you have, the more leptin you have circulating in your blood. People can build a resistance to leptin’s appetite-suppressing effects, which is why obese people still overeat. People who are obese have an unusually high circulating concentration of leptin as a result of enlarged fat stores. This is how obese people become resistant to the effects of leptin; much like the way type 2 diabetics are resistant to insulin. An increased amount of fructose in the diet, especially high fructose corn syrup and certain fruits in general, becomes a problem because it is what leads to leptin resistance.

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