Is a little hard labour the key to silencing the appetite neurons ?

an exercise session suppresses appetite

Eating more than you should is not always a willpower problem – for many obese individuals, the neurons charged with regulating appetite are a little wonkie.

The tendency to eat beyond the point of fullness, begins with an unresponsive neuronal circuit.

Turning on the full signal

The news that your appetite suppression circuit is oblivious to the piece of cheesecake you just ate, explains the problem, but fails to provide a solution.

One way to get this circuit to toe the line is to count calories. When the calories reach a threshold – you utilize your higher order thinking skills (the bits that make you “human”) and announce – YOU ARE FULL. This strategy requires a lot of effort and can leave bits of you sulking, since no one likes to be told what to do.

Another strategy is to chew your food for longer – this allows more time for the message to make it’s way up from the gut to the brain. The strategy is effective but can be a little tedious, particularly if you’re in the habit of eating on the go.

Or you can bore yourself into submission or try an appetite suppressing diet pill.

So what else can you do to get the full message through ?

“Exhaust” the neuronal circuit

Researchers from the University of Campinas in Brazil, suggest that a workout in the gym, is enough to tire out the appetite neurons, leaving them too drained to worry about eating more.

It almost sounds counterintuitive because if you use more energy, you expect to need more energy.

But an exercise session has profound effects on body chemistry.

Rats on the treadmill

The Brazilian team found that obese rats forced to take a spin on the exercise wheel in their cage, released a whole bunch of cytokines. The team recorded rises in IL-6 and IL-10 protein levels inside the brain (hypothalamus) – these chemicals change the sensitivity to the appetite hormones, insulin and leptin.

Sensitivity to insulin and leptin is severely impaired in the majority of people struggling with weight problems. Insulin resistance and leptin resistance drive the continuous storage of more and more fat, especially belly fat.

An exercise session is able to improve sensitivity to insulin and leptin, this improved sensitivity means that the body is more in tune with the current energy supply. A plateful of something is more likely to be registered and then translated to “I am full”.

The add on benefit

If you feel full, you eat less. Eating less shifts the energy equation towards weight loss.

Energy in < Energy out.

Of course, exercise also ups the energy out part of the equation, so it is a win-win situation.

Moving more

Most people already know that moving more is a good idea. But the idea of moving more sometimes is just too overwhelming.

If you’re struggling to keep a muzzle on your appetite – maybe it’s time to stop trying to reason with the appetite control centre neurons and “punish” them with a little hard labour.

IL-6 and IL-10 Anti-Inflammatory Activity Links Exercise to Hypothalamic Insulin and Leptin Sensitivity through IKKb and ER Stress Inhibition. PLoS Biol, 8(8): e1000465 Ropelle ER, Flores MB, Cintra DE, Rocha GZ, Pauli JR, et al.

Interested in learning more about the chemistry behind appetite  ?

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Further reading

hungry for nice things neurons feeding in the sun brain counting the calories
Why stress makes you feel hungry for nice things You need to get radical to get satisfaction Sucralose may taste good on the tongue but it doesn’t quite cut it in the brain

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

balance eicosanoids rein in insulin dial down stress sleep vitamin D microflora think
Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below

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  1. rosa says:

    I just found your site, very interesting, I agree with some, and others I learned stuff I didnt know. by they way I dont agree that we have to use willpower to stop overeating, you seem to contradict yourself saying the brain is not getting the message due to this or that, and then saying we have to use willpower.
    no one has to use willpower to breath or to sleep (you cant force it) or the drink water (most do have intact thrist drives) so eating is a body controlled activity. anyway I speak from experience.

    I have been following as closly as I can stephanie seneffs suggestions based on her aritcles. but I add one more thing, I believe carbs are not the problem. it is malnutrition that is the problem. people diet for weight loss or just plain eating to much junk makes you malnorished which inturn creates vita min deficiencies that are needed to handle glucose, read her articles and you will know why I say this.

    I do like your site however as you make it easy to understand. I am so tired of doctors parroting the same old school stuff on stuff esp weight issues when they know full well they don’t work the evidence is overwhelming that the info is wrong. yet they keep pushing it.

    too bad, so much is achieved if we adjust things/thinking when new evidence is presented that shows what we thought was right was in fact not. progress is never possible when one is unwilling to adjust as new things are learned. what if they decided the railroad was enough progress? where would we be?


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  1. By » Blog Archive » Round up 16 Jan – 20 Jan on January 20, 2012 at 2:42 pm

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