17 Tips For Losing Weight: Follow These Rules And See Results!

Weight loss is hard but knowing some easy steps can make it easier for you to lose weight and keep it off!
Here are some tips:

1. Protein: We need protein for digestion and metabolism. There are a lot of nutrients in protein that your body needs and if the body is depleted of them it will start to store fat. Also, eating protein will make you feel satisfied and reduce your appetite. Eggs are great if you do not have an allergy to them.

2. Eat organic, real whole foods: Eating something that has been processed takes out the necessary nutrients from the food and of course this has an effect on the body being able to process the natural ingredients needed to run efficiently.

3. Avoid Process foods: Processed foods were mentioned above but should be mentioned again because it is so important. They are full of sugar, added fats and calories. Processed foods have been tested in labs and have additives to make you crave the food more and eat more of it.

4. Your body doesn’t know how to process most of the added preservatives and it is not satiated leading to cravings because the body is craving the nutrients it is deficient in. Keep healthy foods and snacks around the house. This makes it easy to grab something healthy and go instead of something processed and unhealthy.

5. Keep processed sugar out of the diet: Processed sugar has been shown to increase blood pressure, cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, digestive issues.

Studies have shown that an average U.S. person will ingest 15 teaspoons of added sugar a day. Sugar is added to foods you don’t even think about. When purchasing your food, look at the ingredients, sugar will probably be one of them.

According to SugarScience.com, sugar is added to 74% of all processed foods. There are 61 different names that are actually sugar that are used to trick us when we buy our food (I will send a separate blog on that later).

6. Drink lots of water: Drinking water before meals will lead to reduced calorie intake and drinking at least 17oz of water per day will burn 24% to 30% more calories per hour. Add a lemon and it will keep your PH levels more alkaline which is good for preventing disease.

7. Avoid drinking processed drinks: soda, fruit juices, chocolate milk and most energy drinks have a lot of sugar added. Obesity rates have risen based on people drinking these processed liquids. One study has shown a 60% increase in the risk of obesity with kids when they drink at least one serving of a processed beverage.

8. Decrease your “bad Carbs”: Carbs are basically anything that is not a protein. Good carbs are fruits and veggies while “bad carbs” are flour, rice, pastries, sweets, pasta, cereals or anything with added sugar.

9. Drink unsweetened decaffeinated green tea. Green tea helps burn fat and have been shown to have health benefits.

10. Keep a food diary: There are several food diaries online and there are paper diaries as well. Keeping track of what you eat really makes you aware of what you are putting in your mouth. It will motivate you to stay on track with eating properly as well as let you know what foods you may be eating frequently that you should cut back on.

11. Use smaller plates: Using a smaller plate will keep your portions down. People like to fill their plates. Using a smaller one will help keep your calories down.

12. Eat slowly: Eating fast prevents your body from realizing you are full as quickly as it should. Eating and chewing more slowly helps you intake less food and has been shown to increase the hormones that are responsible for losing weight. It allows you to realize that your body is full and gives you the signal to stop eating.

13.Use Coconut Oil: Cooking with coconut oil has been shown to boost your metabolism and can reduce belly fat.

14. Probiotics: These have bacteria that improve digestive health, help the heart and may even help with losing some extra pounds.

15.Get proper Sleep: You digest food and heal when you sleep. Studies have shown the people who do not get a proper nights sleep are up to 55% more likely to gain weight. Obesity rates are increased. This is hard to believe but kids have an even higher percentage than adults for obesity.

Not getting proper sleep can effect your hormones which leads to loss of appetite and slows down body metabolism.

16. Exercise:

A. Cardio is key for weight loss. Jogging, running, cycling, brisk walking or hiking all burn calories and improve mental and physical health.

B. Resistance training helps when muscle mass may be decreased while dieting. Weights will help gain more muscle mass.

17. Change your lifestyle don’t just diet: People who just “diet” don’t keep up healthy habits and go back to doing what made them gain weight in the first place. You made such progress, why throw it all away and have to go back to a strict diet again when all you have to do is maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eat foods because they make you feel better, exercise because that also makes you feel better!

Don’t just lose weight, change your lifestyle and gain a a happy, healthy life!

The Old Data is Wrong… Fat is Actually Good For You!

Most Americans worry about their fat intake.  When they see their MD and get blood tests they are given scores for their saturated fats and when high, they are afraid of having a heart attack.  When you look up articles online, their are constantly conflicting information and even deceptive information out there by corporations that have a vested interest in you purchasing pharmaceuticals.

So, lets talk about a lot of misconceptions about fat levels.

What are “smart” or good fats?

According to Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS who is best known for his book “The Nutrition Myth Buster,” over the years there have been changes in the mindset of how we think about fat in our diet.  It has now been shown that fat can be your best friend, not only when it comes to losing weight but also when it comes to brain health and heart health.”  We just have to eat the RIGHT fats.

In an article published in Psychology Today, A diet high in monounsaturated fats also lead to an increase in the production and release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.  Monounsaturated fats come from sources of red meat, nuts, olives, avocados, olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nuts, grape seed oil, popcorn, whole grain, oatmeal, safflower oil, almonds to name just a few foods.  The release of Acetylcholine with nerve function is critical for learning and memory.  Decreased levels lead to memory problems and can also lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

Jonny goes on to emphasize a crucial point: “we need fat in our diet and we need more fat in our diet than we thought we did and our old division of good and bad fat are obsolete!”

This goes against all of the older information out there.  In the past, people were told and taught that all fats would raise cholesterol and increase our risk of a heart attack. Now it has been shown in all medical fields that there are MANY different types of “good” (HDL) cholesterol and the same can be said about fat.

In other words, the notion that “all fats are bad” is outdated and misleading.  Fats are needed for the body, just not in the large amounts that people take in each day with fast food and the high amount of sugar digested by kids and adults.  Think of it this way, why would a anyone administering high cholesterol and heart medications want to find data to support the non-use of their product.


1. https://www.naturalnews.com/

2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-brain-food/201205/dietary-fats-improve-brain-function

How Healthy is Your Gut?

Scientists that were experimenting with fruit flies in order to try and understand how some people remain in good health well into old age are finding out that it might have something to do with the gut.

There have been other recent studies have also started linking diseases like diabetes and Parkinson’s to changes in a person’s gut bacteria. The cause of gut problems are vast and hard to find a cause to how this can happen. With age the number of bacterial cells increase and bacteria does change inside the gut.

Researchers used fruit flies because they have a very short life span. Normally they live for a period of about eight weeks and they are good to study because of the diverse ages at which they die.

“One of the big questions in the biology of aging relates to the large variation in how we age and how long we live,” Walker said.  In addition, scientists have managed to identify all of a fruit fly’s genes and are able to turn them on and off individually. That capability adds a number of variables to experiments and research.

According to Agence France-Presse:

“Springboarding off previous research in which they observed that the flies develop leaky guts within days before dying, they analyzed the gut bacteria  — collectively referred to as the microbiota — of more than 10,000 female flies.”

What they did was isolate distinct groups of flies.  Then they gave antibiotics to reduce the number of species found in the intestinal tract.  This resulted in improved digestive function as they aged.

“When we prevented the changes in the intestinal microbiota that were linked to the flies’ imminent death by feeding them antibiotics, we dramatically extended their lives and improved their health,” Walker told AFP.

Flies that were given antibiotics lived for an average of 20 days.  This is substantially longer than a normal flies lifespan.

Obviously Good Gut Health is important for a healthy body:

Working in conjunction with researchers from the Scripps Research Institute in Florida, a team took a large portion of flies that had no germs at all and whose guts were had no microbes. Those flies lived an average of 80 days or about 1.5 times longer than flies that had not been altered.

The study followed another in which researchers were able to map out how microbiota change over the course of a lifetime. The earlier study has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Cell Reports.

We all know that having a strong gut is the key for wellness.  In 2013, Natural News wrote an article which stated that researchers at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta were surprised to discover that healthy gut bacteria helped to regrow damaged intestinal tissues: Here is what they found:

Lactobacillus bacteria was observed to stimulate the production and cellular proliferation of NADPH oxidase 1 which serve as signaling messengers for the various systems of the body that regulate normal and healthy bodily physiology. Without these important messengers, the digestive system in particular will not work well and in a sense kind of go crazy.  This will result in metabolic and infectious disorders, allergies and gut conditions like inflammatory bowel disease.

Gut problems are increasing in our community because of unhealthy eating, pesticides in our food and processed or boxed foods.  Our guts try hard to stay healthy but long abuse of foods and internal toxins make their job difficult.  Please be good to your body and give it what it needs….fruits, vegetables and healthy fats.  It will fuel your body well!

20 Herbs That Can Help With Cancer

As I am getting older, I am hearing about a lot of diseases that my friends and family have and cancer is mentioned a lot.  So, in doing some research I have found the following information that may help. Here are some herbs that can help boost immunity, help with chemotherapy and just make your treatment work that much better.

1. Astragalus (Huang Qi): This is an Eastern Medicine Herb that boosts the immune system.  It stimulates interferon that is produced in the body.  It also helps the immune system identify defective cells.  The Anderson Cancer Centre conducted a research study that showed taking Astragalus during Radiotherapy doubled survival times.

2. Berberis Family (Podophyllum peltanum): Research has shown that it can be strong against Ovarian Cancer.

3. Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis): This has been shown to be effective against tumors (shrinking them).  Shown to be very effective with Sarcomas

4. Butchers Broom (Ruscus Aculeatus):  Tumor shrinking abilities and anti-oestrogenic (female hormone) abilities.  This is used for the treatment of breast cancer.

5. Cat’s Claw (Uncaria Tormentosa): A powerful immuno-stimulant.  It enhances phagocytosis which is when the white cell try and get rid of infections in the body.  Great when used with Astragalus, cur cumin and echinacea.  Research has shown that it can decrease tumor size, especially skin cancers.  It can also be helpful with side effects of chemo and radiotherapy.

6. Chaparral (Larrea mexicans): Boosts the immune system and can stop metastasis and reduce tumor size especially with breast cancer.   It is also an anti-oxidant and anti-microbial.

7. Curcumin (Turmeric): Has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory effects. Polyps and colon cancer can be shrunk and the blood supply which helps tumors grow can be decreased greatly with this herb.

8. Dang Shen Root (Codonopsis pilosula): This herb increases both white blood cell and red blood cell levels so it can be helpful with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

9. Echinacea: Enhances the immune System and is great for fighting off colds.  It has also been shown to help with brain tumors.

10. Feverfew:  More effective than the drug cytarabine in killing leukaemia cells.

11. Goldenseal: One cause of stomach cancer can be the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. This burrows into the mucous lining of the stomach to hide from gastric acids, and then causes irritation, acid reflux, ulcers and even cancer. Goldenseal paired with the mineral Bismuth, will kill Helicobacter pylori.

12. Milk Thistle: Known to be helpful to cleanse the liver but it is also helpful for protecting the liver during chemotherapy.

13. Pau D’ Arco: This is tree bark and an anti-cancer herb.  Strong anti-bacterial, anti-yeast and anti-microbal.  Immune strengthening abilities and seem to help in cases of blood and lymph cancers.

14. Red Clover: Helpful during Breast and prostate cancer treatment.  Active ingredient is Genistein which was called “the anti-Oestrogen” herb by Professor Powles of the Royal Marsden.

15. Sheep’s Sorrell: Used in Essiac (tea and supplement available in Canada) and other herbal remedies.  It is a cleanser and helps with tissue regeneration.  Some research has showed that it may normalize damage cells and tissue.  It can also be used for intestinal worms since it has been shown that they have no resistance to this herb.

16. Skull Cap (Scutellaria Barbata): Acts against many cancer types and especially lung, stomach and intestine cancer.

17.  Sutherlandia (Cancer Bush): This herb is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-fungal.  It does give a boost to the immune system and helps prevent necrosis or wasting of patients with cancer.

18. Thorowax/hares ear (bulpleurum scorzoneaefolium): Acts as a natural interferon and has been shown very useful with bone cancer.

19. Wheatgrass: On shot of wheatgrass can give 12 or more broccoli kilograms of chlorophyll.  It is a blood purifier and a liver and kidney cleanse.  After 2 weeks of daily use, blood and tissue oxygen increases as well as circulation.

20. Wormwood: Anti-malaria and anti-microbial/anti-yeast and is great with an anti-candida diet. Note: These are herbs and do have side effects and do sometimes conflict with pharmaceuticals.  Even so, the use herbs as a part of your integrative cancer-fighting program can be extremely helpful. They just might make a serious difference to your health. But please make sure you go to an expert medical herbalist for clear and informed advice.

8 Ways You Can Slow Down the Aging Process; Can We Anti-Age?

We are animals and animals age.  It can not be avoided, however, we can remain healthy, look younger and have a high quality of life while we begin to get into our older years.

You can slow down the aging process but you can’t stop aging.  There is no “Anti-Aging” remedy.

Here are some tips on how to keep your body as young as you can inside and out:

Drink a Lot of Water

The human body consists of 60% water and working out, stress, and daily routines use up our water in the body so we need to add more. Drink at least 8 glasses of water every day. You will go to the bathroom more each day but it is good for you.  Accurate amounts of water in your body keeps your internal organs hydrated and working properly.  Your digestive system and bowels need water to work adequately.  Your skin also needs water to stay smooth and flexible and look healthy.

Regular Exercise

Regular exercise is one of the best ways to stay young and feel great about yourself.   It helps your heart and gives you more energy.   Cardiovascular exercise at least three times a week is recommended. Experts say getting your heart pumping at about 90% of its maximum rate (220 minus your age) for 15 to 60 minutes is best but I found in my athletic career that going about 70% will keep you more injury free.  Also, for those of you who like to walk, 30 minutes a day can add years to your life.  Swimming is also great.  It is a great aerobic exercise, is easy on the joints and helps with flexibility and muscle strength.

Sleep Well

In today’s busy world, sometimes we forget to do one of the most important things in life that is sleep. Stress at the job or in your personal life keep you up, kids keep you up or you just can’t turn off.  Healing happens when you sleep.  Your body regulates and slows down promoting healing and allowing your muscles and whole body to heal while you are asleep.  Sleep at least 6 hours a day or even better 7 to 8 hours.  It makes a huge difference.


Eating real foods loaded with minerals and vitamins such as vitamin A (carrots, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, melons, peaches, apricots and spinach).  Vitamin C, (oranges, limes and other citrus fruits, green peppers, green leafy vegetables, strawberries and tomatoes, broccoli). Vitamin E (nuts and seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables and oil, liver and vegetables). Proteins like seafood, red meat, grains, eggs.  Proteins should be eaten with each meal but only in portions that are no bigger than the palm of your hand.  Food serves as fuel to your whole body and if you are nutritionally deficient, it will catch up to you.

Quit Smoking and Alcohol

Smoking reduces blood flow to the skin. It causes wrinkles (especially around the mouth and eyes) and your skin loses elasticity and tone which helps keep it looking young.  Alcohol makes your body dehydrated and decreases the amount of nutrients you absorb into your skin.  This leads to a dry and damaged looking face which obviously makes you look older.

Skin Care Products [Natural]

Too much sun or bad eating habits lead to rougher looking skin.   There are some natural skin care products that are made without pesticides or hormones and are full of antioxidants that help your body eliminate all impurities, so that your skin looks younger and healthier. Oil seed Granada: moisturizes the skin and also reduces inflammation of the same and the appearance of fine wrinkles.

Stress Reduction

Stress is one of the common problems in human life. If we try to manage our stress we might live a better life. Research has shown that mental stress that accelerates the aging process. This makes sense right? We all know when someone is stressed because they look worn down and tired.  Ways reduce mental stress are daily exercise, yoga, deep breathing and meditation.  All can reduce stress, increase oxygen, blood flow and increases our energy levels.

Avoid Excess Sugar

I do not think any of us would ever believe that even sweets can give wrinkles. But the truth is YES! Anything containing sugar definitely make us look ten years older. According to Dr.Brandt sugar accelerates the degeneration of collagen and elastin, the two key skin proteins. In other words, it actually ages. If you want to look younger then it is good that you should avoid taking sugar in your diet. I know most of you can not resist sugar completely, but you can avoid taking too much sugar.  Sugar also leads to diabetes, obesity, fatigue, digestive issues, inflammation in the body and so many other health issues.  The less sugar you eat, the better you will feel and you mood is even effected by sugar.

Like I said, anti aging is not possible, but slowing down the process of aging can happen if you work a little and take care of yourself.

At our Redwood City Chiropractic office we help guide you out of pain and into health.  Call us today!

References: https://www.healthnsleep.com/aging-process/#

Are American’s (United States) Healthy?

According to research, Americans Aren’t Making the Health Grade

The above headline comes from the June 30, 2003 ABC News online. The story is in reaction to a report commissioned by the American Academy of Family Physicians which finds that a full 98 percent of the 1,000 adults polled admit they have at least one of the unhealthy habits they were asked about, such as smoking, not exercising enough, handling stress poorly or eating a less-than-healthful diet.

Among the findings from the study that were listed in the article are:

  • Twenty-six percent said they smoke at least sometimes, and half of these people acknowledged it’s a harmful habit.
  • Only 48 percent said they maintain a healthy weight.
  • About 42 percent of women and 31 percent of men said they aren’t doing well at stress management.
  • Thirty-two percent said they don’t limit dietary fat.
  • Only 25 percent said they work out vigorously five or more hours a week.
  • Thirteen percent said they don’t have time to watch their fat intake, and 47 percent gave no reason for not watching it.

When asked why they continue a habit that’s unhealthy, 24 percent said they lack willpower or self-control, and another 14 percent said stress was to blame. Dr. Michael O. Fleming, a family physician in Shreveport, La., and president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians, which commissioned the health behavior poll made this suggestion, “The main thing is to begin to take things seriously,” Fleming says. People must realize the importance of managing risk factors for disease, he says, or they’ll pay the price, probably sooner than they think.

If you are not feeling like you are as healthy as you could be and want your body to function at its highest level, give us a call.  We cover the full spectrum of wellness care at our Redwood City Chiropractic office.

References: https://www.chiropracticresearch.org/

Causes of Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)

Low blood pressure is also called hypotension.  We talk about high blood pressure a lot and want to keep our readings low but sometimes too low can cause serious problems.  Low blood pressure can cause symptoms of dizziness and fainting. In severe cases, low blood pressure can be life-threatening.

Although blood pressure varies from person to person, a blood pressure reading of 90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or less systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) or 60 mm Hg or less diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) is generally considered low blood pressure.

What are the causes of Hypotension?

1. Pregnancy. Because a woman’s circulatory system expands rapidly during pregnancy, blood pressure is likely to drop. During the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, systolic pressure commonly drops by five to 10 mm Hg and diastolic pressure by as much as 10 to 15 mm Hg. This is normal, and blood pressure usually returns to your pre-pregnancy level after you’ve given birth.

2. Heart problems. Some heart conditions that can lead to low blood pressure include extremely low heart rate (bradycardia), heart valve problems, heart attack and heart failure. These conditions may cause low blood pressure because they prevent your body from being able to circulate enough blood.

3. Endocrine problems. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) or overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can cause low blood pressure. In addition, other conditions, such as adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s disease), low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and, in some cases, diabetes, can trigger low blood pressure.

4. Dehydration. When you become dehydrated, your body loses more water than it takes in. Even mild dehydration can cause weakness, dizziness and fatigue. Fever, vomiting, severe diarrhea, overuse of diuretics and strenuous exercise can all lead to dehydration.

Far more serious is hypovolemic shock, a life-threatening complication of dehydration. It occurs when low blood volume causes a sudden drop in blood pressure and a reduction in the amount of oxygen reaching your tissues. If untreated, severe hypovolemic shock can cause death within a few minutes or hours.

5. Blood loss. Losing a lot of blood from a major injury or internal bleeding reduces the amount of blood in your body, leading to a severe drop in blood pressure.

6. Severe infection (septicemia). Septicemia can happen when an infection in the body enters the bloodstream. These conditions can lead to a life-threatening drop in blood pressure called septic shock.

7. Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. Common triggers of anaphylaxis include foods, certain medications, insect venoms and latex. Anaphylaxis can cause breathing problems, hives, itching, a swollen throat and a drop in blood pressure.

8. Lack of nutrients in your diet. A lack of the vitamins B-12 and folate can cause anemia, a condition in which your body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells, causing low blood pressure.

Depending on the reason for your low blood pressure, you may be able to take certain steps to help reduce or even prevent symptoms.

Here are Some suggestions to help manage this problem:

Drink more water, less alcohol. Alcohol is dehydrating and can lower blood pressure, even if you drink in moderation. Water, on the other hand, combats dehydration and increases blood volume.

 Follow a healthy diet. Get all the nutrients you need for good health by focusing on a variety of foods, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean chicken and fish. If your doctor suggests using more salt but you don’t like a lot of salt on your food, try using natural soy sauce or adding dry soup mixes to dips and dressings.

 Move slowly when changing body positions. You may be able to reduce the dizziness and lightheadedness that occur with low blood pressure on standing by taking it easy when you move from a prone to a standing position. Before getting out of bed in the morning, breathe deeply for a few minutes and then slowly sit up before standing. Sleeping with the head of your bed slightly elevated also can help fight the effects of gravity. If you begin to get symptoms while standing, cross your thighs in a scissors fashion and squeeze, or put one foot on a ledge or chair and lean as far forward as possible. These maneuvers encourage blood to flow from your legs to your heart.

Eat small, low-carb meals. To help prevent blood pressure from dropping sharply after meals, eat small portions several times a day and limit high-carbohydrate foods such as potatoes, rice, pasta and bread. Your doctor also may recommend drinking caffeinated coffee or tea with meals to temporarily raise blood pressure. But because caffeine can cause other problems, check with your doctor before drinking more caffeinated beverages.

Hope this helps clear things up!

Food Nutrients Lost When Microwaving!

Have you read about microwaves?  These machines help cook food fast but with a side effect.

In an article from the Oct. 16, 2003 issue of the “HealthDayNews” reports on new research that shows different ways of preparing, storing and processing vegetables can affect how good they are for you. The data for this article came from two studies that appeared in the November issue of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. The studies report that several different processing procedures and cooking can reduce antioxidants, which are cancer-fighting compounds, normally found in vegetables.

Antioxidants are plentiful in vegetables and work to eliminate free radicals, which can damage cell DNA and contribute to various diseases. That’s why eating fiber, fruits, and vegetables, all of which contain antioxidants, can help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease.

One of the studies showed that broccoli, for instance, lost 97 percent of flavonoids, 74 percent of sinapics and 87 percent of caffeoyl-quinic derivatives (three different types of antioxidants) when it is zapped in the microwave. When boiled the conventional way (i.e., not in a pressure-cooker), broccoli lost 66 percent of its flavonoids; when tossed in a pressure cooker, it lost 47 percent of its caffeoyl-quinic acid derivatives. Steamed broccoli, on the other hand, lost only 11 percent, 0 percent and 8 percent, respectively, of flavonoids, sinapics, and caffeoyl-quinic derivatives.

Cristina Garcia-Viguera, lead author of the research paper noted that the advantage of steaming vs. conventional boiling is that you’re “Not using water directly in contact with the vegetable. The nutritional compounds don’t go into the water. Once the compounds are in the water, the temperature destroys them much easier.” The damage from a microwave occurs because it heats the inside of the vegetable. That, combined with the fact that you normally use water when microwaving, can cause the destruction of the valuable nutrients.

Vegetables that are blanched before freezing (a common processing technique) can lose up to one third of their antioxidants. Frozen storage can also cause losses, though these losses are much smaller.

Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at New York University Medical Center in New York City states that not all of the healthy properties of vegetables are being eliminated. “You’re still getting plenty of healthy compounds as well as fiber, so there’s absolutely no reason not to eat vegetables — although, of course, the fresher the better.” She goes on to say, “If people are willing to have vegetables anyway, shape or form, even if they are going to nuke then, I’d rather have them do that.”


How Does Your Brain Respond To Food? Some Overweight People May Be Hardwired To Overeat.

Willpower alone usually is not enough for lasting weight loss; instead, some experts now recommend focusing on the ways in which the brain responds to food rather than solely on personal choice.

In a paper published in the August issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, dietitians at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago conclude that “practitioners should more heavily focus on helping patients overcome the brain-based processes” that make dieting so difficult.This, the researchers say, is especially important because the brains of at least some obese and overweight people may be hardwired to overeat.

Such an approach to weight loss may be more successful over the long term, and it may also help counter the stigma that overweight people often feel when unable to control their urge to eat.

“Even highly motivated and nutritionally informed patients struggle to refrain from highly palatable foods that are high in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats,” study researcher Brad Appelhans, PhD, a clinical psychologist and obesity researcher at Rush University Medical Center, says in a news release.

Brain’s response to food:
In the paper, the researchers present three brain processes that are associated with both overeating and obesity: food reward, inhibitory control, and time discounting.

Food reward, which includes both the pleasure of eating and the motivation to eat, has been linked to the same brain processes that control our urges for sex, gambling, and substance use. People with a greater reward sensitivity will likely have stronger food cravings, particularly for fatty and sweet foods, the researchers write.

Inhibitory control, or the ability to eat in moderation, is influenced by the part of the brain strongly associated with self-control and planning, the researchers write.

Time discounting is the tendency to prefer short-term rewards over long-term rewards. In the case of obesity, it amounts to choosing the immediate pleasure of eating tasty foods as opposed to the health benefits of abstaining.

These three brain processes, when coupled with an environment in which highly tempting high-calorie, low-nutrition foods are readily available, contribute to overweight and obesity. Understanding those processes and controlling such environments, the researchers conclude, may contribute more to successful and sustained weight loss than focusing solely on personal choice.

They recommend the following strategies:
•    Eliminate high fat-foods from your home and your workplace.
•    Stick to a shopping list of healthy foods when at the supermarket, or shop online so you don’t have to confront tempting foods.
•    Reduce stress, a frequent trigger of overeating.
•    Stay away from all-you-can-eat buffets and restaurants that promote overindulgence.
•    Focus on short-term goals, especially at the beginning of a weight loss program

By Matt McMillen
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Why Do We Choose Comfort Food During Stress?

We are one step closer to deciphering why some stressed people indulge in chocolate, mashed potatoes, ice cream and other high-calorie, high-fat comfort foods. UT Southwestern Medical Center-led findings, in a mouse study, suggest that

Ghrelin….this is also called the “hunger hormone” and is involved in triggering hunger reactions to high stress situations.

“This helps explain certain complex eating behaviors and may be one of the mechanisms by which obesity develops in people exposed to psychosocial stress,” said Dr. Jeffrey Zigman, assistant professor of internal medicine and psychiatry and senior author of a study appearing online June 23 and in a future print edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. “We think these findings are not just abstract and relevant only to mice, but likely are also relevant to humans.”

Scientists know that fasting causes ghrelin to be released from the gastrointestinal tract, and that the hormone then plays a role in sending hunger signals to the brain. Dr. Zigman’s laboratory has previously shown that chronic stress also causes elevated ghrelin levels, and that behaviors generally associated with depression and anxiety are minimized when ghrelin levels rise. In mice, these stress-induced rises in ghrelin lead to overeating and increased body weight, suggesting a mechanism for the increased prevalence of weight-related issues observed in humans with chronic stress and depression.

For this investigation, the researchers developed a mouse model to determine which hormones and what parts of the brain may play a role in controlling more complex eating behaviors that occur upon stress, particularly those that lead to the indulgence of comfort foods.

They subjected mice to a standard laboratory technique that induces social stress by exposure to more dominant “bully” mice. Such animals have been shown to be good models for studying depression and the effects of chronic stress and depression in humans.

Wild-type mice subjected to the stress gravitated toward a chamber where they had been trained to find pleasurable, fatty food — the mouse equivalent of “comfort food.” However, genetically-engineered mice, which were not able to respond to stress-induced increases in ghrelin, showed no preference toward the fatty food-paired chamber, and when exposed to the fatty food, did not eat as much as the wild-type animals.

“Our findings show that Ghrelin signaling is crucial to this particular behavior and that the increase in Ghrelin which occurs as a result of chronic stress is probably behind these food-reward behaviors,” Dr. Zigman said.

The study also showed that these effects of Ghrelin are due to direct interaction with a subset of neurons that use catecholamines as a neurotransmitter. These include dopaminergic neurons in the brain’s ventral tegmental area, which is known to be associated with pleasure and reward behaviors.

The findings, he said, may make sense when considered from an evolutionary standpoint.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors needed to be as calm as possible when it was time to venture out in search of food, or risk becoming dinner themselves, said Dr. Zigman, who pointed out that Ghrelin’s anti-depressant effects and its actions to help efficiently secure calorically-dense, tasty foods may have provided a survival advantage.

“Though it might have been beneficial to have these actions of Ghrelin linked, now it seems to be a cause of a lot of morbidity in our modern society,” Dr. Zigman said. “Ultimately, these linkages also may present a large challenge to the development of therapeutics to treat and/or prevent obesity.”  The researchers next plan to investigate the molecular mechanisms by which ghrelin acts to cause these stress-associated food-reward behaviors.

The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research, the Klarman Family Foundation, the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, and the Disease-Oriented Clinical Scholars Program at UT Southwestern.

Journal Reference:

  1. Jen-Chieh Chuang, Mario Perello, Ichiro Sakata, Sherri Osborne-Lawrence, Joseph M. Savitt, Michael Lutter, Jeffrey M. Zigman. Ghrelin mediates stress-induced food-reward behavior in miceJournal of Clinical Investigation, 2011; DOI: 10.1172/JCI57660
  2. Article from the ScienceDaily (June 29, 2011)