Thursday, October 16, 2008

Brain's reaction to yummy food may predict weight

This seems like just another way to blame fat people for being fat.

Drink a milkshake and the pleasure center in your brain gets a hit of happy — unless you're overweight. It sounds counterintuitive. But scientists who watched young women savor milkshakes inside a brain scanner concluded that when the brain doesn't sense enough gratification from food, people may overeat to compensate.
Yep, that surely has to be the reason. Food doesn't taste as good to some people, so they have to be eating more in order to enjoy it and that makes them fat (but what about thin people who gorge themselves on food on a daily basis and never gain a pound? What's the excuse for them, I want to know, dammit).

A healthy diet and plenty of exercise are the main factors in whether someone is overweight.
Oh yeah, tell that to the fat people who eat a healthy diet and exercise on a daily basis and are still fat. Healthy diet and exercise don't do jack shit to keep you thin or make you thin if you're genetically predisposed to be fat.

But scientists have long known that genetics also play a major role in obesity — and one big culprit is thought to be dopamine, the brain chemical that's key to sensing pleasure.
FAIL again.
Gee, ya think? But that's not the only gene related to fat, so you can't blame it all on that one gene.

"This paper takes it one step farther," said Dr. Nora Volkow of the National Institutes of Health, a dopamine specialist who has long studied the obesity link. "It takes the gene associated with greater vulnerability for obesity and asks the question why. What is it doing to the way the brain is functioning that would make a person more vulnerable to compulsively eat food and become obese?"
This assumes that everyone who has this gene is a compulsive eater who automatically gets fat from eating too much food. This could be true of a very small number of fat people, but it certainly is not true of all fat people.
Still, it could have important implications. Volkow, who heads NIH's National Institute of Drug Abuse, notes that "dopamine is not just about pleasure." It also plays a role in conditioning — dopamine levels affect drug addiction — and the ability to control impulses.
So now you're saying that fat people have no ability to control impulses, otherwise they wouldn't over-eat and they therefore wouldn't be fat? Yeah, right. As Miss Conduct said "if you think fat people have no self-discipline, consider the fact that they haven’t killed you yet."

But if doctors could determine who carries the at-risk gene, children especially could be steered toward "recreational sports or other things that give them satisfaction and pleasure and dopamine that aren't food ... and not get their brains used to having crappy food," said Stice, a clinical psychologist who has long studied obesity.
"Don't get your brain used to it," he said of non-nutritious food. "I would not buy Ho Hos for lunch every day because the more you eat, the more you crave."
FAIL again
This is ONE gene related to being fat, what about all the other genes that are related to being fat? And I'm sorry, but forcing children to play recreational sports if they aren't interested in them is just going to make them hate the idea of any kind of exercise, which sorta kinda defeats the purpose, don't ya think? Not to mention that no amount of exercise is going to permanently make a naturally fat child thin, ain't happening, people.
And as for non-nutritious food, I don't think there is such a thing. Every food out there has some nutrition to it, even if it's minimal. I also don't know anyone who eats HoHo's for lunch every damned day (boring, if you ask me, to eat the same thing every day, day in and day out). How do you get used to eating crappy food? I don't care how often you eat crappy food (and by that, I mean food that doesn't taste very good, I don't know what Stice considers crappy food), just because you eat it all the time doesn't mean you ever get used to it, or come to like it or enjoy eating it (I know I NEVER EVER got used to eating my mom's breaded tomatoes, no matter how often she forced me to eat them, nasty slimy things they were, and to this day, I refuse to eat them).
So this is one fucking gene out of how many that are related to being fat? And fixing this one gene is going to end the "obesity epi-panic"? I don't think so. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Mother Nature made us a diverse species for a reason, and it's not nice to fuck with Mother Nature (she'll get you in the end if you do).


  1. but what about thin people who gorge themselves on food on a daily basis and never gain a pound? What's the excuse for them, I want to know, dammit

    Oh, but we (because I am one of these annoying souls) don't NEED an excuse! We're thin, so therefore we MUST be healthy! And virtuous!

    Gag me with my daily 3000 calories. (And top it off with prednisone - I have four separate chronic pain conditions. Healthy THIS....)

    This article is a lot of crap. Your deconstruction is delightful, though!

  2. dani alexis - yeah, I don't know what the hell the problem is with those idiots. I mean, really, I don't care if thin people eat a lot, or don't eat much, and I don't care if fat people eat a lot or don't eat much, what we eat and how much we eat is no one's business. But they can't sit there and tell me that eating tons of food is why people get fat when there are thin people who eat tons of food and don't gain weight even if they want to or need to (and I do know of people who have to eat a lot just to maintain their weight, if they eat the recommended amount, they lose weight).

  3. Oh, absolutely. My crap-science-o-meter went off right away - the three thinnest people in my family also happen to be the three whose bodies produce drastically reduced amounts of the hormone that tells your brain it's full. If we just listend to our brains, we'd eat till we threw up (I did a few times as a kid). Yet our bodies adapt to the times we "over"eat - I've stayed in the same 15-pound range ever since I hit adulthood.

    It is SO OBVIOUSLY not one gene, or one behavior, that controls why we eat, how much we eat, or how fat or thin we are as a result. I might as well say I'm female because I don't eat enough jalapenos.

    (I'm in a ranty mood today....)

  4. The press release on this study from the University of Texas at Austin is telling:

    ""Understanding the abnormalities in activation of reward circuitry in response to eating is critical to helping people regulate their weight because dopamine serves as the primary neurotransmitter in the reward pathways of the brain," Stice said. "Although people with decreased sensitivity of reward circuitry are at increased risk for unhealthy weight gain, identifying changes in behavior or pharmacological options could correct this reward deficit to prevent and treat obesity."

    In other words, this researcher in PSYCHOLOGY (not physiology or medicine), in essence is saying:

    "We must come up with ways for fatties to like their food even less than they already do..."

    The study link:

    Point #1 from my research on the study so far:

    Neither fat nor thin people consciously recognized any difference in how much pleasure they got from eating food.

    The only way they found any difference? They put them through a very artificial situation which may well have skewed the results:

    The study method in a nutshell:

    The researchers had the subjects wait 4-6 hours from the last meal to simulate time between meals. They then put them through an fMRI scan while "feeding" them either a chocolate milkshake OR artificial saliva through a syringe (to minimize the effect on the feeding motion on the scan result)!

    To try to "blind' the participants, they used slides telling about a chocolate milkshake, the "neutral" solution (artificial saliva)or slides with a geometric pattern. These were then shown randomly before the solution was administered; 20 trials for each subject were conducted.

    Point #2: The study population were whom?

    They were GIRLS and VERY YOUNG WOMEN who were enrolled in other research programs, likely at the University.

    How young? The first group were individual women enrolled in a DIET study and just over 20 years old on average. The ones in the second group were enrolled in a treatment program for eating disorders, averaging just over 15 years of age.

    Excluded were anyone who: Were bulimic/binge and purgers who had done so within the three months prior to selection; any use of psychotropic medications or illicit drugs; head injury with a loss of consciousness;current Axis I psychiatric disorder were excluded.

    In other words, they excluded anyone who might already be "piggish" or on drugs, legal or not...or brain damaged.

    Point #3: The aim of the research:

    Try to find new ways to control behavior of fat people to make them eat less. Note that the implication is that these treatments would be aimed at women since there were no men in this VERY PRELIMINARY and flawed study.

    Point #4: What is the aim? To come up with ways to make people lose weight by "convincing" them to be "satisfied" with small amounts of food. The way to do that according to researchers?

    One way would be by putting them under "watch" in order to "enforce" the 'diet and exercise' crap that never works for long.

    The other? Dope them! In other words, coming up with new ways of drugging the fat in order to counter the "food addiction" fat people are presumed to have. In other words, devise a "methadone" for the allegedly "food addicted".

    In short, this "research" is more proof that "concern" about fat peoples' "health" is really nothing of the sort. Certainly these jerks are trying to "reinforce" the urban legend that people "overeat" because...they are "junkies".

    Conclusion: Puritanism and "self-denial"--especially if it may lead to restrictions being forced on others-- is alive and well.

    Science? It's not doing so hot, is it?

  5. observer - I caught that part about being "addicted" to food. I've always said that food is nothing like alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes. You can live without ever having another drink of alcohol, you can live without ever smoking another cigarette, and you can live without getting high off your drug of choice, but I can guarantee you that you will not live if you never take another bite of any kind of food. I don't think food itself is "addictive", it's the behaviors that go along with moralizing about food that can become ingrained in our psyches and be so difficult to eradicate. So treating fat people as food addicts does nothing but further marginalize and demonize them. It does absolutely nothing to help them accept themselves and live their lives to the fullest.

  6. The whole premise seems fishy to me. I mean, we're all addicted to food. If we don't eat it, we go through some pretty terrible withdrawal symptoms and can even die.

  7. And yet, last year a study showed that anorexics and former anorexics have less activity in brain centers associated with pleasure and rewards. So, shouldn't they be eating more, too? The theory that came from that was that eating did not produce the "reward" that it did for others. And isn't this saying the same thing about overweight people?


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