The Truth About Overeating: Why Are We Struggling with This Problem?

Posted on June 15th, 2012 by Elaine Rosales  |  3 Comments »

Overeating is one of the most prevalent health issues that plague many people today. It’s very easy to overeat, especially when sumptuous and delicious meals are served at the dining table. But eating beyond what is required by your body can lead to dire health problems. So, why do people today eat more than they are supposed to?

Improper leptin signaling may be one of the primary reasons why overeating is a widespread dilemma. “The answer lies in understanding the biochemistry of the brain, where the [leptin] signals that tell your body you’re full are no longer working,” says Dr. Joseph Mercola.

Leptin: How Does This Hormone Affect Your Eating Habits?

The naturally-occurring hormone leptin plays a major role in your eating patterns. Produced by fat tissues, leptin regulates what you eat and signals your brain when you have consumed enough. Humans have been relying on leptin for thousands of years, but this useful regulator has become confused in recent years. This is why many people today don’t know how to stop eating.

According to many studies, leptin may influence parts of your brain that control the intensity of your desire to eat. Not only does this hormone change your brain chemistry, but it also rewires important parts of your brain, particularly those that control your metabolism and hunger.

“The way your body stores fat is a carefully regulated process that is controlled primarily by leptin. If you gain excess weight, the additional fat produces extra leptin that should alert your brain that your body should stop creating and storing more fat and start burning the accumulated excess,” Dr. Mercola explains.

Leptin sends signals to your brain to stop being hungry and stop eating. In turn, your brain must be able to “hear” and respond to the messages accurately. If this does not happen, you will continue to feel hungry and your brain will push you to eat more.

Unfortunately, many people are now leptin-resistant, meaning they cannot hear leptin signals properly. This is one of the reasons why many people cannot control their eating habits, leading to excessive weight gain and alarming obesity rates.

Sugar: The Culprit Behind Leptin Resistance

Eating too much sugar is the main reason why many people are now leptin-resistant. It’s similar to what happens when you become resistant to insulin. High blood sugar levels lead to repeated insulin surges, causing your cells to become insulin-resistant. This leads to higher insulin levels and, eventually, type 2 diabetes.

A similar process also happens with leptin. As sugar is metabolized and stored as triglycerides in fat cells, the fat cells release leptin surges that lead to leptin resistance.

“It is much the same as being in a room with a strong odor for a period of time. Eventually, you stop being able to smell it, because the signal no longer gets through,” explains Dr. Mercola.

Leptin resistance and insulin resistance are both dangerous to your health. Not only can they lead to weight gain and obesity, but they also increase your risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease, autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, and reproductive disorders. They may also contribute to early aging.

The Shocking Truth: An Average American Consumes 12 Teaspoons of Sugar Daily

This amount of sugar may not seem much, until you realize that it adds up to almost two tons during your entire lifetime. Sugar molecules are probably the most damaging and most capable of inflicting damage in your body.

Even though you get pleasure as you savor it, eating too much sugar can cause you to crave it and eventually become addicted to it. Dr. Mercola says that this sugar addiction can actually rewire your brain and make you very sick.

Fructose, particularly high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), is the most potent and dangerous type of sugar because it speeds up the aging process and creates harmful advance glycation end products (AGES). Fructose also leads to the formation of harmful fat cells or visceral fat around your vital organs – a primary risk factor for heart disease and diabetes.

Remember that even though it’s okay for your blood sugar levels to slightly increase after every meal, it is not normal and healthy for these levels to always be elevated. This is what happens when you consume the typical American diet.

“When you add in other low-quality carbohydrate-rich foods such as white bread, sugar, pasta, pastries, cookies, and candy, which also break down to sugar (starch is broken down into glucose) in your body and often contain added sugar as well, it’s not so difficult to see why so many Americans are in such poor health,” says Dr. Mercola.

It’s Time for You to Stop Consuming Too Much Sugar

Dr. Robert Lustig, professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, believes that overeating and sugar addiction are virtually unstoppable. However, Dr. Mercola says that there may be a way to break free from this damaging cycle, which is to limit or eliminate your sugar consumption. He recommends avoiding processed foods that contain excessive amounts of sugar, and to eat natural, whole foods instead. It is also advisable to limit your fructose intake to just less than 25 grams a day, including that from fresh fruit.

If you want to use a sweetener occasionally, opt for the natural herb stevia, a non-addictive substitute. Dr. Mercola warns against using artificial sweeteners like aspartame, as they can cause far more damage than sugar.

If you are having difficulty getting rid of your sugar addiction, Dr. Mercola recommends:

  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) – Many soda addicts found this acupuncture-like technique effective.
  • Exercise – This causes a dramatic reduction in insulin levels, which can help curb your appetite for sweets. Dr. Mercola recommends significant amounts of cardiovascular exercise to get rid of food cravings.
  • Organic black coffee – A potent opioid receptor antagonist, coffee contains cafestrol, which binds and occupies your opioid receptors, blocking your addiction to sugar and other opioid-releasing foods.

Read Dr. Mercola’s articles to learn more efficient ways to get rid of sugar addiction.

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