3

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Interesting Research Article on How Insulin Leads to Obesity - Any Useful Implications?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 20, 2011 at 5:55 PM

New info: The original article is here: http://www.mpg.de/4338096/insulin_eating_behaviour?filter_order=L

It discusses some findings in how the insulin impacts the dopamine system, and that that reward system may trigger the compulsion to eat.

I think this kind of stuff is interesting, and wonder if any science types can find any useful implications from it. The 'nut' of the intro is:

...insulin not only acts as a metabolic signal transmitter in the hypothalamus, a fact that is already known, but also in the dopamine-producing cells of the midbrain.

This original article does NOT suggest that a high-fat diet (or any kind of diet) causes anything. It's interesting that the site I first found it on got the summary completely wrong - which Jack Kronk correctly pointed out below. My error for not tracking down the original first! THAT sloppy article is here:

http://www.brainmysteries.com/research/Insulin_action_in_the_brain_can_lead_to_obesity.asp?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BrainMysteries+%28Brain+News+And+Research%29

The article identifies some specific pathways for how insulin drives obesity. Confirming what we already know, but any useful new implications for us?

The key conclusion:

Over the course of several intermediary steps, the insulin inhibits the transmission of nerve impulses in such a way that the feeling of satiety is suppressed and energy expenditure reduced.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 20, 2011
at 07:06 PM

Jack - here's why I don't dismiss these articles outright: the actual study (not the article ABOUT the study) doesn't mention eating fat at all. The only food mentioned is this: "In addition, under certain test conditions, the knockout mice reacted differently to a **sugar solution and cocaine**"

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 20, 2011
at 06:53 PM

I'm upvoting your criticism though - it's good stuff :-)

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 20, 2011
at 06:52 PM

Oh I eat tons of fat and it absolutely saved me from obesity (I wasn't yet obese but I could see it looming down the road). And until I hit my 40's I was skinny and you would not believe the sugary crap I ate. I don't think their actual researched was about fat or carbs at ALL. That was just some nice verbiage to sound accessible to the public (and possibly funders). My curiosity isn't about their (mistaken) beliefs about fat or sugar, but about insulin. They can be utterly wrong about the big picture but correct about the details they were looking at under a microscope - thus the Question.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on June 20, 2011
at 06:40 PM

yah i hear ya. but they still need to be careful about making false statements. it ruins their credibility for me. also, regardless of how high quality their research is or isn't, they need to come to a correct conclusion or stay away from a conclusion completely. i mean, the entire opening paragraph cannot be correct. they are saying that eating fat produces insulin spikes and leads to supressed satiety. this is just plain false. fact: you can eat a 10oz fatty steak and not get an insulin rush and be very satiated. so in one sentence and 5 seconds I've just destroyed their opening claims.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 20, 2011
at 06:20 PM

thats "they were NOT actually studying..." sheesh

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 20, 2011
at 06:18 PM

Its a good point, but I don't dismiss it for that reason. They were actually studying if fat or carbs make you fat, but how the brain works in certain conditions. They could have said "Everybody knows the earth is flat, but here's something we discovered about plate tectonics". Said another way, assuming the actual research isn't bogus, it adds to the tension between assumed truths and actual data. I don't need them to be convinced like me, just do good research.

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Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on June 20, 2011
at 06:12 PM

CaveRat - see the thing about articles like this is that they completely annihilate any credibility they may have otherwise been able to build when they make silly statements like that (as mentioned in your question).

"Fat-rich foods make you fat".

Bam. They lost me.

Also, regardless of that, I simply cannot possibly buy in to this idea anyway. I eat lots and lots of foods that cause a significant insulin surge. I eat lots of dairy, including whole milk, butter, and whey protein. I eat lots of sweet potatoes, and white rice, and white potatoes. I do this every single day, and have for many months now, and I must be at about 9% bodyfat by now. I have a flat stomach and basically no flab anywhere. Yes, this is totally N=1, but it's not advisable to make statements that many people can easily disprove with personal testimonies. To their credit, they do title this with the word "can" in it, but still I think this article is not worth much at all.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 20, 2011
at 07:06 PM

Jack - here's why I don't dismiss these articles outright: the actual study (not the article ABOUT the study) doesn't mention eating fat at all. The only food mentioned is this: "In addition, under certain test conditions, the knockout mice reacted differently to a **sugar solution and cocaine**"

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 20, 2011
at 06:18 PM

Its a good point, but I don't dismiss it for that reason. They were actually studying if fat or carbs make you fat, but how the brain works in certain conditions. They could have said "Everybody knows the earth is flat, but here's something we discovered about plate tectonics". Said another way, assuming the actual research isn't bogus, it adds to the tension between assumed truths and actual data. I don't need them to be convinced like me, just do good research.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 20, 2011
at 06:20 PM

thats "they were NOT actually studying..." sheesh

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on June 20, 2011
at 06:40 PM

yah i hear ya. but they still need to be careful about making false statements. it ruins their credibility for me. also, regardless of how high quality their research is or isn't, they need to come to a correct conclusion or stay away from a conclusion completely. i mean, the entire opening paragraph cannot be correct. they are saying that eating fat produces insulin spikes and leads to supressed satiety. this is just plain false. fact: you can eat a 10oz fatty steak and not get an insulin rush and be very satiated. so in one sentence and 5 seconds I've just destroyed their opening claims.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 20, 2011
at 06:52 PM

Oh I eat tons of fat and it absolutely saved me from obesity (I wasn't yet obese but I could see it looming down the road). And until I hit my 40's I was skinny and you would not believe the sugary crap I ate. I don't think their actual researched was about fat or carbs at ALL. That was just some nice verbiage to sound accessible to the public (and possibly funders). My curiosity isn't about their (mistaken) beliefs about fat or sugar, but about insulin. They can be utterly wrong about the big picture but correct about the details they were looking at under a microscope - thus the Question.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 20, 2011
at 06:53 PM

I'm upvoting your criticism though - it's good stuff :-)

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