Excess sugar, both fructose and glucose, activate high glucose sensing neurons in brain hypothalamus that cause you to activate hunger (orexigenic) pathways. This causes you to eat more! And if what you eat is sugar, then you have again activated those neurons! In science and medicine this is called a positive feedback mechanism almost always associated with pathophysiology and disease!

AND if the taste of starches (sugar polymers) and sugars causes dopamine to increase in rewards pathways then you can also add sugar addiction to the mix. This makes it difficult to maintain a low carbohydrate diet in the same manner as alcohol and drug addictions make it difficult to stay alcohol and drug free.

AND that visual, auditory and olfactory (sight, sound, and smell, respectively) cues can override satiety to cause you to eat more explains why advertisement of sugary foods adds a third component to obesity.

All three separate neuronal pathways result in overeating of sugars. The excess sugars cause the phenomen of glycation of proteins. That is, the sugars are chemically bound to the proteins. This changes the shape of the proteins. This changes the function of the proteins. So if that protein was a transporter that was supposed to help nutrients get into a cell, and glycation causes that protein to stop functioning properly, then you just stopped a nutrient from getting to a cell!

That would indeed be an example of toxicicity!

Have you ever wondered why your mood might affect your eating? Let’s explore one reason why this might be as we evaluate the role of one of the mood regulators, serotonin, to a peptide called enterostatin. Enterostatin is supposed to tell you stop eating (that means it’s anorectic!). But serotonin seems to stop enterostatin. And that means more overeating I’m sorry to say.

Of course serotonin is a fickle friend. It can go up or down. The receptors get changed that mediate serotonin’s effects. So mood can also cause you to stop eating as well!

I’ll bet that you already knew that as you probably ate too much or stopped eating after a painful breakup!

Drugs that affect serotonin levels, such as the class of drugs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) often increase eating due to this as well. People who live with depression are most likely to take this drug. So it’s very stressful for someone who is taking these drugs for their depression to then often overeat! This “side effect” of overeating is one of the reasons why the individual might stop taking their medications!

Neuroregulation of Appetite & Paleo Nutrition 08.06.2011Dear Friends,

I’m fresh from the very first Ancestral Health Symposium at the University of California Los Angeles. Needless to say, an interesting event! Not only did I get psyched on meeting so many interesting people talking about Ancestral Health, I got to make lots of new friends! And finally getting to meet “phone” friends, like Robb Wolf, Mat LaLonde, Elke Nelson, Ben Balzer and of course, the host Aaron Blaisdell was a real treat. For the record, Aaron, pretty terrific job for a first event! I’m only sorry we weren’t able to join our families for Sunday. Next time! Robb, I’ll see you in Lenexa soon.

I gave a poster at the conference about appetite regulation. It’s just the tip of the iceberg for appetite regulation yet pretty darn complicated. Many people stopped by to view it, though, and I am most appreciative of that. Even if it was a bit over their heads, they let me explain it. Some people were amazed at how complicated the whole thing is. Imagine when I said it was just a blip on the screen in terms of the actual communication between the brain and the body!

In the next month I’ll begin the process of explaining each part of the slide!

Neuroregulation of Appetite & Paleo Nutrition 08.06.2011

Insulin resistance is the bane of the excess carbohydrate diet!

When excess carbohydrates are chronically ingested, the insulin receptors in the brain lose their ability to mediate the anorexigenic signal properly! this is the essence of insulin resistance. Thus, your brain does not get a good signal to stop eating!

The result is catastrophic! Because the anorexigenic signal is not encoded properly, you eat more. And if you eat more carbohydrates, well, then you make more insulin which causes a further increase in insulin resistance! Thus the signal to stop eating is lost! Thus you eat more. This cycle is only going to stop when carbohydrate intake is reduced.



Ghrelin is released by cells in the stomach to get you to eat more.

Perhaps you were once a fine citizen of the US and discovered that tetrahydrocannabinoid, the active ingredient in marijuana, was a great way to make yourself eat! Via the CB1 receptor mediated mechanism, THC caused you to get the munchies.

It turns out that our favorite fruit sugar and 1/2 of table sugar (sucrose), in the form of fructose, can cause you to do the same as well by activating the same CB1/endocannabinoid pathway.

This suggests that fructose consumers will overeat! The ingestion of fructose and the subsequent cascade in the brain to release endocannabinoids would cause the fructose consumer to overeat!

Indeed, I will be commenting on several positive feedback cycles that can result in overeating! All of these pathways center around excess carbohydrate consumption in one form or another.

Dr D

Erlanson-Albertsson, C. and A. Lindqvist (2010). “Fructose affects enzymes involved in the synthesis and degradation of hypothalamic endocannabinoids.” Regul Pept 161(1-3): 87-91.