The human body is endlessly fascinating.
- Last year, it was reported that a Belgian man arrested for drunk driving brewed the alcohol in his own gut.
- The disorder, auto-brewery syndrome, occurred after he took a round of antibiotics.
- He was cured after a fecal donation from his daughter.
What is Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT)?<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="29f77231a58d168a5819bc02e41d66b9"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Awn3haOpfcI?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Fecal transplants, or bacteriotherapy, help replenish bacterial balance, especially when antibiotics kill too many "good" bacteria. The procedure is most often performed by colonoscopy, though sometimes a nasoduodenal tube is required. While there are a variety of tests needed before doctors will perform bacteriotherapy, fecal transplants actually <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4895930/" target="_blank">date back</a> at least 1,700 years to Traditional Chinese Medicine.</p><p>Fecal transplants are most commonly performed to treat diseases caused by the bacteria, <em>C. difficile</em>. Over 15,000 people <a href="https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/clinical-trial-testing-fecal-microbiota-transplant-recurrent-diarrheal-disease-begins" target="_blank">die every year</a> from such diseases. </p><p>Researchers are constantly learning more about the incredible complexity and importance of the microbiome. Besides gut-related disorders, bacteriotherapy <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4895930/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">may soon be used</a> to treat a variety of ailments, including obesity, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, hay fever, and eczema. </p><p>The doctors feel confident recommending this particular intervention. Treating ABS often involves changes in diet, probiotics, and drug therapy. Yet antibiotics have strange effects on the microbiome, and in this case, it was enough to make him resistant to the usual therapies. </p><p>The team in Belgium is hopeful they've found another avenue for treating ABS. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Moreover, we can imagine a future point - after additional research to evaluate the safety of faecal microbiota transplantation - at which this approach might become standard therapy for gut fermentation syndrome."</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Is focusing solely on body mass index the best way for doctor to frame obesity?
- New guidelines published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal argue that obesity should be defined as a condition that involves high body mass index along with a corresponding physical or mental health condition.
- The guidelines note that classifying obesity by body mass index alone may lead to fat shaming or non-optimal treatments.
- The guidelines offer five steps for reframing the way doctors treat obesity.
A new 5-step system for treating obesity<p>To help primary care practitioners better treat obesity, the doctors outlined five steps:</p><ol><li>Recognition of obesity as a chronic disease by health care providers, who should ask the patient permission to offer advice and help treat this disease in an unbiased manner.</li><li>Assessment of an individual living with obesity, using appropriate measurements, and identifying the root causes, complications and barriers to obesity treatment.</li><li>Discussion of the core treatment options (medical nutrition therapy and physical activity) and adjunctive therapies that may be required, including psychological, pharmacologic and surgical interventions.</li><li>Agreement with the person living with obesity regarding goals of therapy, focusing mainly on the value that the person derives from health-based interventions.</li><li>Engagement by health care providers with the person with obesity in continued follow-up and reassessments, and encouragement of advocacy to improve care for this chronic disease.</li></ol><p>Insider noted that some health professionals and body-positive advocates don't think the guidelines go far enough in reframing obesity treatment. The update still points "to individual bodies as the problem, not culture," registered dietitian <a href="https://www.bodykindnessbook.com/" target="_blank">Rebecca Scritchfield</a>, told <a href="https://www.insider.com/canada-doctors-obesity-should-be-defined-by-health-not-weight-2020-8" target="_blank">Insider</a>.</p><p>But it's also possible to see how some health professionals may worry this new model could discourage patients from taking the initiative to tackle weight-loss on their own, through exercise and dieting.</p><p>In a 2020 opinion piece published in <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2020.00002/full" target="_blank">Frontiers in Nutrition</a>, Dr. <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/people/u/69229" target="_blank">Elliot M. Berry</a> argued that misplaced "medical and political correctness" may lead to the abrogation of the physician's responsibility to properly care for patients.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"For example, some doctors are now even reluctant to raise the issue of obesity lest they be accused of fat shaming by not accepting their patients' proportions (despite the quote at the head of this opinion piece), and thereby receive poor approval ratings in an atmosphere where popularity is equated with good healthcare."</p><p>Berry offers a list of nine steps that he thinks could help the healthcare industry better treat obesity, without shaming patients or falling prey to political correctness.</p>
Nutrisystem is a smarter weight-loss program that users enjoy.
- The societal and economic consequences of obesity cannot be ignored.
- The economic impact is up to $190 billion every year in America.
- Americans spend up to $2.5 billion each year on popular weight-loss programs.
Credit: Nutrisystem<h3>The economics of obesity</h3><p>The obesity crisis in America has profoundly changed the health of our nation. Two-thirds of American adults are now <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4770258/" target="_blank">overweight or obese</a>. Excess body weight creates numerous health problems, <a href="https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/health-risks-overweight" target="_blank">such as</a> increased risk for heart disease, hypertension, cancer, sleep apnea, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Tragically, the steep rise in obesity rates can, in large part, be traced back to the surge in processed foods made with filler ingredients, questionable preservatives, and excessive sugars. </p><p>That's part of what makes losing weight so difficult. Supermarket shelves are stocked with processed foods. A whopping 74 percent of packaged foods contain <a href="https://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/hidden-in-plain-sight/#.Xx3ly_hKhTY" target="_blank">added sugars</a>, which are conveniently disguised under 61 different names, including dextrose, maltose, and treacle. You shouldn't have to play detective every time you go to the grocery store. </p><p>Obesity has real-world consequences. Every year, up to <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/causes.html" target="_blank">$6.38 billion is lost</a> in productivity costs due to obesity-related absenteeism. That number only accounts for people taking off of work. Overall, obesity-related costs in America are estimated to be <a href="https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/91/5/1520S/4597467" target="_blank">$147 billion</a> every year. One <a href="https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-consequences/economic/" target="_blank">study</a> shows that cost was $190 billion in 2005. </p><p>Overweight citizens are also <a href="https://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/home/conference-highlights/aaic-2015-coverage/mental-illness-and-obesity/" target="_blank">more likely</a> to suffer from poor mental health. The combination of poor self-image, social stigma, lack of exercise, and biological issues due to obesity increase the likelihood that someone will be anxious or depressed. This creates a crippling feedback loop: diets high in sugars and carbohydrates, which are fueling the rise in obesity, are <a href="https://bigthink.com/21st-century-spirituality/your-diet-might-be-causing-anxiety-and-depression" target="_self">also linked</a> to poor mental health. </p><p>Many people want a solution that works. In 2014, Americans spent <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4446719/" target="_blank">roughly $2.5 billion</a> on commercial or proprietary weight loss programs. As a society, we pay the price of obesity in the form of work absenteeism, inflated health care costs, and mental health issues, and we pay trying to solve it. Finding a solution to this problem is of utmost importance. </p>
The study was only conducted with already healthy men, however.
- A new study at the University of Bath found that binge eating on occasion doesn't have major metabolic consequences.
- 14 healthy young men were instructed to eat pizza until full or to keep going until they couldn't eat another bite.
- Their blood sugar levels were similar to having eaten normally and blood lipids levels were only slightly higher than normal.
Marion Nestle: Why Do We Overeat?<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8a4fbcf29b074691a19c6b391813e48f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Qn8XjZQa5-0?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Lead researcher Aaron Hengist <a href="https://www.bath.ac.uk/announcements/all-you-can-eat-pizza-study-shows-body-copes-surprisingly-well-with-one-off-calorie-indulgence/" target="_blank">says</a> the results showed the resilience of our body during times of excess.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Our findings show that the body actually copes remarkably well when faced with a massive and sudden calorie excess. Healthy humans can eat twice as much as 'full' and deal effectively with this huge initial energy surplus."</p><p>Of course, these were all young, healthy men, which will skew the outcome. Still, they expected more of a metabolic impact. </p><p>The researchers also focused on mood. Four hours after eating maximally, overeaters had no desire to eat sweet foods. This contradicts previous research that shows the brain's reward centers are food-specific—pizza shouldn't change cravings for sweets. The overeating groups also felt lethargic after their binge, which is to be expected. </p><p>The researchers are not giving a pass for overeating. Caloric intake remains the main driver of obesity. Signaling hormones are altered with continued overeating, making it difficult for the obese to know when to stop. Regular overeating changes body composition, metabolic rates, and mood. </p><p>In the past, humans had to stock up on food when they found it while hunting and foraging. We are equipped to handle the occasional caloric overload. James Betts, who was also involved in the study, says that an occasional binge for healthy people is not necessarily a bad thing. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"This study shows that if an otherwise healthy person overindulges occasionally, for example eating a large buffet meal or Christmas lunch, then there are no immediate negative consequences in terms of losing metabolic control."</p><p>Acknowledging the study's limitations of age, health, and gender of participants, the researchers are planning on investigating the metabolic and mood effects of operating on women, obese volunteers, and the elderly. </p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Johns Hopkins University professor Susan Carnell explains the neuroscience behind eating out of boredom (and how to stop).
- True hunger builds gradually and can be satisfied by any source of food, while emotional eating (which includes eating out of boredom) is insatiable and generally leads to feelings of guilt or shame.
- One 2015 study suggests we eat to escape the self-awareness that comes in moments of boredom or inactivity, while Johns Hopkins University professor Susan Carnell explains there may be a neuroscientific reason we eat to escape boredom.
- Drinking water, occupying your brain with a hobby or craft, exercising or striking up a fun conversation with someone are all ways you can beat the boredom-hunger paradigm.
Eating due to boredom explained by science<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzE3MDUwOC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzODI3MjA5Nn0._tSlh1W4KySS4z8gi4yGgL_yYFjw6wS0mF02sw4bibw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C52%2C0%2C52&height=700" id="da46e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5462e0940d43082d8064b993d6129986" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="bored woman looking in fridge at night concept of hunger boredom" />
Escaping self-awareness and a surge of dopamine are two main reasons people eat when they are bored.
Photo by Andrey_Popov on Shutterstock<p>There are many reasons why you may find yourself illuminated by the refrigerator light every time you're feeling a bit restless.</p><p><strong>A 2015 study suggests that we eat to escape our self-awareness. </strong></p><p>"Being bored affectively marks an appraised lack of meaning in the present situation and in life," according to the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4381486/" target="_blank">researchers of this study.</a> "Boredom increases eating in an attempt to distract from this experience, especially among people high in self-awareness." </p><p>Three studies were conducted to see how eating habits were affected by boredom. In the first study, boredom positively predicted calorie, fat, carb, and protein intake for the participants. In the second, a high (compared to low) boredom task increased the desire to snack compared to eating something healthy. In the third study, people who had high (compared to low) self-awareness consumed the most food during their peak times of boredom. Something important to note about the final study is that the subjects with increased self-awareness liked to eat exciting healthy food as well as exciting unhealthy food.</p><p>This suggests the act of selecting or cooking healthy recipes may play a factor in decreasing boredom.<br></p><p><strong>The neuroscience of eating and boredom...is dopamine to blame?</strong></p><p>Susan Carnell, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, believes there is another reason we may be searching out food to satisfy our bored minds. </p><p><a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/bad-appetite/201112/do-you-eat-out-boredom" target="_blank">According to Carnell</a>, dopamine likely plays a role in the boredom-hunger paradigm. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is crucial to our motivation levels. Dopamine is present during sex, when we fall in love, and when we're satisfying an addiction — it's a pleasure-reward reaction that drives our motivations to do things that give us even more dopamine. </p><p>"The release of dopamine in the brain can be so stimulating and motivating that rats will lever-press for it to the exclusion of other crucially important activities like sleeping and eating," Carnell explained. </p><p>People who have naturally lower levels of dopamine are more likely to seek out and become addicted to dopamine-producing substances or activities like alcohol, drugs, and gambling.</p><p>Tracing this back to eating out of boredom, Carnell added that it's very likely that when we are bored or unhappy, our dopamine neurons are inactive. When we eat due to boredom, this can be a way of "waking up" our dopamine neurons so we can feel excited again. </p>
5 easy ways to beat the boredom-hunger paradigm<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzE3MDUwNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwODA5NjAxN30.S62I39w33vlEcqOmBjhN54wsf5qsAIx3idxCGw9v_1o/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C64%2C0%2C65&height=700" id="aae8a" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9cf422dc41ecd65de3878cc89392fa15" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="man holding burnt toast with sad face concept of emotional eating" />
How can I stop eating when I'm bored?
Photo by Brian A Jackson on Shutterstock<p><strong>Occupy yourself by doing something fun.</strong></p><p>Whether it's checking something off your to-do list, starting a craft like scrap-booking, or going for a nice walk, one of the best things you can do when you're feeling hungry due to boredom is to cure the boredom. </p><p>Doing something to occupy your time, even just temporarily, will likely get your mind out of the fridge and focused on something else until the hunger passes. </p><p><strong>Drink water. </strong></p><p>Dehydration and thirst are very commonly mistaken for hunger. Instead of reaching for a bag of chips next time you're feeling hungry, have a large glass of water first. You can even add a splash of lemon or lime to the water to trick your mind into thinking this is a little treat.</p><p><strong>Keep your mouth busy.</strong></p><p>Sometimes pretending as though you're eating is enough to fill the need to eat, especially when you're not hungry. Chewing gum is a great replacement for eating food you don't need to be eating. </p><p>Another idea to keep your mouth occupied is to call a friend you haven't heard from in a while or start a fun conversation with your spouse or kids. Conversations are a great way to distract your mind from eating when you're not really hungry. </p><p><strong>Do something physical. </strong></p><p>If Dr. Carnell is right, what you need is a big surge of dopamine, so why not get physical? Exercise sends a rush of dopamine throughout your system (the same as snacking on some popcorn might), and it's way more healthy. </p><p>You can slide on your running shoes and go for a jog or you can lay on the carpet and do some ab exercises while you watch Netflix. Either one will accomplish the same goal. </p><p><strong>Wait out the boredom to see if you're really hungry. </strong></p><p>Give yourself 30-60 minutes to determine whether what you're feeling is hunger due to boredom, or hunger due to really being hungry. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. True hunger will build and remain consistent, but emotional hunger (or boredom hunger) will fade as your mind becomes occupied with other things. </p>