For too many people, snacking is compulsive. You may have tried every diet available and been on every course imaginable. You are probably aware that you should stop eating when you are full and that you should never eat when stood in front of the fridge. You are almost certainly aware that weight loss is only really achievable if you cut out sugary and fatty foods. Yet, you still find yourself snacking!
The Reason Why
The latest research suggests that snacking is a result of brain activity. Studies have shown that there are neurons in the brain which provide this compulsion to eat. Initial research has been completed using mice as test subjects and the findings have been astonishing. It is almost certain to be true that humans have developed a better and more complex system to control their eating and appetite but that the result is the same. In fact, two separate research studies have come to this conclusion.
- Team One
Researchers at Howard Hughes Medical Institute have located a group of brain cells which send a constant signal until they are told to stop. These cells have been named AGRP neurons. The research has shown that mice are able to tell these cells to stop by eating or by visiting a place where they have eaten before. Some mice have even managed to stop these neurons sending their signal just by seeing food.
It is believed that these neurons are part of the natural self preservation reflex built into most animals. Another group of cells, known as the SFO neurons appear to control the drinking behavior of the test subjects.
- Team Two
The second group of researchers is based at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Their research came to similar conclusions. In their tests they noted that the AGRP neurons became active when the body was fasting or via an artificial means.
The cells work by monitoring the energy levels and reacting when they sense that energy is low. They then send signals to the part of the brain which controls feeling full and tell it to stop sending the full signal. This results in hunger and cravings and controls the need to snack.
How to Turn Off The AGRP Neurons
Alongside this new research there is a theory that states you eat to replace energy and refuel but that you also eat to stop the unpleasant feeling of hunger. In fact the research has shown that artificially activating the stop circuit can feel pleasurable and will actually reduce the amount of food consumed.
In order to confirm this hypothesis the second team used mice which were genetically engineered to have the system. They also had their brains altered to see a blue light as a signal that they were full; effectively telling the mice they were full. Studying the mice it quickly became apparent that the mice which had been genetically modified were actively seeking the blue light to turn off their hunger. It is hoped that this will provide a new way of treating those who are struggling to lose weight and stop compulsive eating habits.
The findings so far suggest that if these cells were therapeutically targeted it would be possible to stop the feelings of hunger and effectively reduce the food consumption of any individual. This would be a completely natural process in mice but it is not actually desirable to genetically modify people. Instead, this new research will be utilized to attempt to locate a drug which can turn the switch off in humans. When this is found it could be the miracle cure to obesity.
All in all, we can say that it’s your brain that’s making you snack, and not necessarily your body. And when bad foods are included into your system, the negative effects are visible on the outside. Your skin starts to sag, your hair begins to fall off, and your fine lines may turn into wrinkles. There are viable solutions to reverse this unpleasant aging process. First, begin a marine collagen treatment, and second, do whatever’s necessary to eat healthier and regularly, but not after 7 pm.