More Somber News for Dieters: Neurons Make Us Have Even More Negative Feelings About It

As if we needed yet one more reason to hate diets.

A new study has found that "hunger neurons" promote negative feelings, according to newswise.com.  Great.  I feel negative enough about cutting out M&Ms, especially those new peanut butter ones.


Weight loss )supposedly) occurs when the amount of energy consumed in the form of food is less than the amount of energy burned. This can be accomplished by eating less or exercising more. Though don't kid yourself.  I'm a fanatic exerciser and I still have to watch every bite I put in my mouth.

With either approach, the goal is to create a caloric debt that will be resolved by burning stored carbohydrate, protein, or fat. But here's the deal: eating feels good and being hungry is uncomfortable.
Behaviors that evolved as survival mechanisms to ensure that an animal feeds itself become inconvenient and potentially detrimental side effects in industrialized human populations where cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity, rather than starvation, pose greater risks to long-term survival.

In other words, we don't need to eat to survive.  Actually, we just don't need to overeat.

In this country, where chips and cakes and ice cream's on every corner, we definitely overdo it.  I've turned to lowfat frozen yogurt.  But it's loaded with sugar.  And we've been hearing how sugar leads from everything to diabetes to cancer, these days.  In fact, Weight Watchers has changed its whole way of telling people how to eat (thanks, Oprah), focusing more on the sugar that's in food than the amount of food you eat.

But getting back to the neurons -- the scientists say "Hypothalamic AGRP neurons (agouti-related protein-expressing neurons) fire during energy deficit, such as food restriction, and quickly lead to food-seeking behavior and food-consumption."

I don't want to get too complicated (I barely understand it myself), but research indicates that the negative emotions people experience when dieting are, well, there, and I guess we shouldn't fight them.  Other neurons have been studied that  result in positive feelings when hunger is satisfied.   Maybe we should let the two fight it out.


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