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The Science Of Overeating

May 8, 2014
We all have hurdles that we need to overcome in order to achieve optimum health.   Salus receives a constant in-flow from our community asking for help with “over” doing something.  I’m going to touch on a subject that I have suffered through myself in the past. It’s also a challenge I know many people face on a daily basis- overeating.  

This is a perspective on overeating by previous FDA Commissioner David Kessler, MD (Harvard trained pediatrician and medical school professor).  Kessler decided to study why people overeat.  He studied research on taste preferences, eating habits, brain activity, and conducted his own research study.  His findings were the following:

Foods loaded with fat, sugar, and salt are known as “Hyperpalatable” foods.  They cause a physical response in the body that make people want MORE of whatever they are consuming.  Kessler calls this conditioned hypereating. 

This is how it works: “When we eat sugary, fatty foods that many of us enjoy, it stimulates endorphins, chemicals in the brain that stimulate a pleasurable experience. Those chemicals stimulate and condition us to eat more of that food.”   
Following endorphins, dopamine shows up.  Conditioning us to not only want the food later but also throws cues to steer us back.  For example a road filled with restaurants that are familiar to you, vending/soda machines, the best bakery with the best donut, etc.  

Here is the real kicker- Much like drugs, once the food become a habit it may not offer the same satisfaction.  What happens next?  We look for foods that are HIGHER in fat and sugar to get our fix.  HA!

This makes us sound like drug addicts with food right?!   

So now you have all of this information and are probably thinking, “Okay, now what?”  My hope is that knowing this information is enough for you to take a step back the next time you catch yourself in the middle of an overeating extravaganza.

If not that’s okay too.  Take baby steps.  Eat slowly, make the first bites count, choose satisfying foods.  Ask yourself what you can do today, not tomorrow, not next monday, TODAY. 

I hope this helps!

Coach Mikalyn

fyi: “YOLO” translates to: You Only Live Once!
*source: WebMD

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