More to obesity than meets the eye

September 17th, 2012
More to obesity than meets the eye

People who don’t have a weight problem often perceive those who are fat or obese are that way simply because they eat too much.

In some cases, this maybe true, but according to one expert this is likely to be too simplistic. Dr. Hildegardes Dineros who is a specialist bariatric surgeon in the Philippines believes that in many obese people the cause of the problem isn’t eating too much but the type of food ingested.

The surgeon told reporters: “Foods full of fat, sugar and salt release ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain’s reward centre and over time we associate the change in mood with eating certain foods. In time, these foods then become addictive because we want to feel good.”

Consequently, like other addictions the more of these types of foods that are eaten, the more that is needed to maintain the same level of feeling good. This is the way drugs like nicotine (found in tobacco) and cocaine work.

Moreover, again like drug addictions, being able to stop taking these feel good’ chemicals found in certain foods is difficult. Therefore people are obese because they have an addiction to specific foods.

Moreover, the addiction occurs because the brain becomes re-wired to accept that obese people need their fix; thus setting up a vicious cycle which is difficult to break.

Dr. Dineros added: “[The rewiring] affects the primitive reward centres in such a way that the dopamine pathways light up even at the thought of eating these foods.”

However the surgeon also point out that the reasons for gaining massive amounts of weight are also individual in nature. He said: “The reasons for gaining excessive weight gain and inability to control its progression vary by individual.

“It’s not their fault because obesity could be caused by age, gender, genes, psychological makeup, environmental factors or combinations of a number of these factors. A group of experts should be able to finally formulate a more effective solution.”

So, what can obese people do?

According to Dr. Dineros they should be patient about losing weight. Like drug addicts there will be withdrawal symptoms which must be faced if they are to break the habit of over eating or eating the wrong foods.

 

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