Friday, September 30, 2016

Cars as a metaphor for understanding obesity

If we want to understand the accumulation of excess body fat, it's tempting to focus our attention on the location that defines the condition: adipose tissue.  Ultimately, the key question we want to answer is the following: why does fat enter adipose tissue faster than it exits?

It follows that if we want to understand why obesity occurs, we should seek to understand the dynamics of fat trafficking in adipose tissue, and the factors that influence it.  Right?

I don't think this is right, and here's a metaphor that explains why.

The speed of a car depends primarily on the force that its wheels exert on the asphalt below them.  If we want to understand why cars move quickly sometimes, and slowly at other times, we should seek to understand the dynamics of how force is transferred from the wheels to the asphalt, and the factors that influence it, right?

As you may have already surmised, that wouldn't be a very effective way of understanding car speed. To understand car speed, we have to move up the causal chain until we get to the system that actually regulates speed-- the person in the driver's seat.  Looking at the problem from the perspective of the wheels is not an effective way of understanding the person in the driver's seat.  Once we understand the driver, then we also understand why the wheels move how they do.

Similarly, in obesity, we have to move up the causal chain until we find the system that actually regulates body fatness.  The only known system in the human body that regulates body fatness is the brain.  Once we understand how the brain regulates body fatness, we'll understand why fat enters adipose tissue faster than it exits sometimes, eventually leading to obesity.

We already know a lot about how this process works, and that's why I focus my attention on the brain and behavior rather than the biochemical mechanics of adipose tissue.
This post was written by Stephan Guyenet for Whole Health Source.


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Seven Years Primal: Healthier, Stronger, and Wiser Than Ever

Nutrition News: Best Metabolism Booster; Sleep, Stress and Belly Fat; and Gardening and Kids’ Health

Reaping What We Sow

Want to raise kids who are lifelong healthy eaters? Hand them a trowel, some seeds and a watering can, and point them to the garden. A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Florida suggests that college kids who either gardened when they were kids or currently garden consumed more fruits and vegetables — 2.9 cups daily, on average, about a half-cup more — than those who did not. “We found that if your parents gardened but you did not, just watching them did not make a difference in how much fruits and vegetables you eat in college,” lead author Anne Mathews told HealthDay News. “Hands-on experience seems to matter.”

Why Your Metabolism Is So Slow

If you have a sinking feeling that your metabolism is slowing, you’re probably right. In a U.S. News article, health and wellness writer K. Aleisha Fetters notes that our metabolism — the base number of calories our bodies burn each day — decreases gradually beginning at age 20. (Yes, that young.) So by the time we are 30, we should take in 150 fewer daily calories than we did at age 20 to maintain the same weight. After age 40 in men and 50 in women, that metabolic decrease accelerates. Fetters says this decline has to do with a loss of muscle mass as we age, as muscle burns calories at a higher rate than fat. The antidote, she argues, is to work toward building muscle mass through strength training and support it with concerted protein consumption.

Sleep, Stress and Belly Fat

Another thing we can do to help keep our bodies in shape as we age? Get enough sleep. Eating right and exercise are key tools in our battle against the bulge. But fitness trainer Gabriella Boston suggests, in The Washington Post, that boosting sleep and reducing stress may be more important still in our efforts to attain a flatter belly (and who doesn’t want that?) as we age. “I would say Number 1 is sleep, Number 2 is stress, followed by nutrition and then exercise,” registered dietitian Rebecca Mohning tells Boston. “If you’re exhausted, it’s better to sleep the extra 30 to 40 minutes than to exercise.” That’s because cortisol, the stress hormone has been found to boost belly fat, sugar consumption and our propensity to make unhealthy food choices. “Stress management is part of weight management,” Mohning maintains.



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Perfectly Crisp Breakfast Potatoes

Hey, hey! Happy Friday! Just popping in real quick to share with you an awesome recipe to add to your meal plan for next week! 🙂

As you know, we love Breakfast Potatoes in our house and make a big ol’ batch just about every week. But, over the years, the recipe has changed and become better and better and better. Our current version is actually made with unflavored coconut cooking oil, which is the best thing ever because 1) it’s already liquid (no melting required) and 2) it makes the potatoes, ooooh, so crispy. They’re really the best potatoes (even not for breakfast), so I just had to share the recipe. I hope you love them as much as we do!

perfectly-crisp-breakfast-potatoes

Ingredients:

favorite breakfast potatoes

Directions:

  1. Cut potatoes into 1-inch-ish chunks. Toss oil and salt.
  2. Bake potatoes for 20-25 minutes, tossing after 10 minutes or so.
  3. After 20-25 minutes, turn the oven up to broil and then cook for another 5-7 minutes or until potatoes are crispy on the edges.
  4. Remove potatoes from the oven, allow them to cool slightly, and enjoy! Potatoes can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for about 5 days or so. Just reheat in the microwave or toaster oven!

light and crispy breakfast potatoes (1280x853)

Makes 8 servings (1/2 cup each)



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September: What’s New?