Despite the almost complete lack of new ED research published this week, I have assembled a few scrumptuous morsels for this week's Smorgasbord. It even includes video segments, so sit back, make sure your speakers are on, and enjoy. Fake Sugar May Alter How the Body Handles Real Sugar
Combining artificial sweeteners with the real thing boosts the stomach's secretion of a hormone that makes people feel full and helps control blood sugar, new research shows.
It's unknown whether this means anything for people's health, but "in light of the large number of individuals using artificial sweeteners on a daily basis, it appears essential to carefully investigate the associated effects on metabolism and weight," conclude Dr. Rebecca J. Brown and colleagues from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Because artificial sweeteners are virtually carbohydrate-free, they have been thought not to have any effect on how the body handles glucose (sugar), the researchers explain.
But there's some evidence that artificial sweeteners may trigger secretion of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). GLP-1 is released from the digestive tract when a person eats as a "fullness" signal to the brain, curbing appetite and calorie intake.
Interesting, I think, as I sip my Diet Coke. What effect, if any, that artificial sweeteners have in promoting fullness with minimal calories in people with eating disorders, isn't known. I usually went after any calorie-free fluid that also had caffeine (for energy). This meant I drank a lot of diet soda and black coffee. I've cut way back on my diet soda intake (1-2 cans per day), and I now drink my coffee with milk and sugar. Still, I'd be curious to see if/how this translates to eating disorders.
Engineering Food with Aromas that Make Us Feel Full
Usually the enticing smell of food is associated with hunger pangs, but researchers in the Netherlands think that foods can be engineered to release satiating aromas during chewing. This would help combat obesity by stimulating areas of the brain that signal fullness. In a paper published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the researchers outline how food products could be tailored to release a higher quality -- or a higher quantity -- of aromatic food molecules, thus discouraging overeating.
...The science works like so: When you eat, certain molecules break free from the food as you chew, working their way up to your nasal cavity and to your olfactory sensors. From there, they've been shown to stimulate certain areas of the brain connected with satiety, or the feeling of fullness. The problem is, like many processes in the brain, the feeling is based on perception, and that varies from person to person.
**Full Disclosure: I used to work for the American Chemical Society, which publishes the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.**
Which is both bizarre and fascinating. I think it just goes to show how complex our senses of taste, hunger, and satiety really are.
Now for the entertainment section of the smorgasbord:
1960s British Educational Film on Childhood Obesity called "Cruel Kindness."
Aside from the accent and listening to the narrator pronounce "vitamins," British-style, what the films really captured was how little obesity propoganda has changed over the years. How all fat kids do is eat too many sweets, watch too much TV, and shame on the fat parents for producing fat children! The video is in three parts from the Wellcome Trust Film Archives:
Disordered eating could be affecting ten to fifteen percent of women
Weighted frequency analysis showed the prevalence of frequent binge-eating to be 4.1%, that of regular purging to be 1.1%, and that of frequent compensation to be 8.7%. Although we found none of the women to meet full criteria for anorexia nervosa, 0.6% met criteria for bulimia nervosa, 3.8% provisional criteria for binge eating disorder, and 0.6% criteria for a newly proposed entity, purging disorder. As many as 14.9% fell into a residual category representing subthreshold, but potentially problematic variants of eating disturbances. Logistic regression analyses showed that clinical-level maladaptive eating attitudes and behaviors predicted self-rated physical- and mental-health problems after sociodemographic factors were controlled.
This population-based survey provides prevalence estimates of BN, BED, and purging disorder that are compatible with those of recent epidemiological studies and shows that maladaptive eating attitudes and behaviors represent a substantial population burden.
Thus concludes this week's smorgasbord. I hope you all enjoyed!