Toxic Food Environment Causes Obesity - Low Fiber High Sugar Foods More Common Today Makes You Gain Weight

Toxic Food Environment Causes Obesity - Low Fiber High Sugar Foods More Common Today Makes You Gain Weight

A scientist from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) says that kids are overweight because their diets consist of high-calorie and low fiber foods. This typical Western diet promotes a hormonal imbalance that encourages children to overeat.

Another recent study found that babies are heavier now than they were 20 years ago. The manufacturing changes may be the reason. Dr. Robert Lustig believes the way food is manufactured has created a “toxic environment” that dooms children to be overweight. Lustig is professor of clinical pediatrics at UCSF Children's Hospital.
According to Lustig, "It will take acknowledgement of the concepts of biological susceptibility and societal accountability and de-emphasis of the concept of personal responsibility to make a difference in the lives of children."

"Our current Western food environment has become highly 'insulinogenic,'" Lustig says, "as demonstrated by its increased energy density, high-fat content, high glycemic index, increased fructose composition, decreased fiber, and decreased dairy content. In particular, fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin."

Lustig says calorie intake and expenditure normally are regulated by leptin. He believes there is a condition called “leptin resistance” where leptin is suppressed, feelings of well-being and activity decrease and appetite increases. The leptin resistance was caused when food manufacturers started adding sugar to a wide variety of foods that once never included sugar and the removal of fiber. This promoted insulin production with less activity and an increased apatite.

Lustig says that it has long been known that the hormone insulin acts on the brain to encourage eating through two separate mechanisms. First, it blocks the signals that travel from the body's fat stores to the brain by suppressing the effectiveness of the hormone leptin, resulting in increased food intake and decreased activity. Second, insulin promotes the signal that seeks the reward of eating carried by the chemical dopamine, which makes a person want to eat to get the pleasurable dopamine "rush."

Lustig says we can’t blame the children. "The concept of personal responsibility is not tenable in children. No child chooses to be obese," he says. "Furthermore, young children are not responsible for food choices at home or at school, and it can hardly be said that preschool children, in whom obesity is rampant, are in a position to accept personal responsibility."

By Dan Wilson

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