Aussie University’s Not-So-Surprising Finding That Our Appetite-Control Cells Head South As We Age

“As a carbohydrate- and sugar-rich diet has become more pervasive in modern societies over the past 20 to 30 years, it has placed a strain on people’s bodies that is leading to premature cell deterioration.”

Aug 29, 2008

Time to tack on another strong argument against the consumption of carbohydrates: A scientist at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, says that appetite control cells in the brain degenerate as we age, leading to a sense of increased hunger and potential weight gain.

The culprits, says Dr. Zane Andrews, a neuroendocrinologist in the university's Department of Physiology, are free radicals that attack the brain's appetite-suppressing cells after we eat.

Even worse, he says, is that the degeneration is more significant following meals rich in carbohydrates and sugars. "The more carbs and sugars you eat, the more your appetite-control cells are damaged, and potentially you consume more."

The attack on appetite-suppressing cells, he says, creates a cellular imbalance between our need to eat and the message to the brain to stop eating. "When the stomach is empty, it triggers the ghrelin hormone that notifies the brain that we are hungry. When we are full, a set of neurons known as POMCs kick in."

However, he explains, free radicals created naturally in the body attack the POMC neurons. "This process causes the neurons to degenerate over time, affecting our judgment as to when our hunger is satisfied."

The free radicals also try to attack the hunger neurons, but they are protected by a protein called UCP2, which allows them to continue signaling hunger-even if we're not really in need of food.

A Culprit in Adult Obesity?

Dr. Andrews says that the reduction in appetite-suppressing cells could be one explanation for adult-onset obesity. "As a carbohydrate- and sugar-rich diet has become more pervasive in modern societies over the past 20 to 30 years, it has placed a strain on people's bodies that is leading to premature cell deterioration."

Dr. Andrews says that his next research project will focus on discovering whether a diet rich in carbohydrates and sugars has other impacts on the brain, such as increasing the incidence of such neurological conditions as Parkinson's disease.

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: Diets, Food, Glycemic Index & Carb Counting, Nutrition Research, Research

Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12th Annual Product Reference Guide
  • Insulin Syringe Chart
  • Insulin Pen Needles Chart
  • Fast-Acting Glucose
  • Sharps Disposal
  • Blood Glucose Meters Chart
  • Insulin Pumps Chart
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Top Rated
Print | Email | Share | Comments (1)

You May Also Be Interested In...

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Aug 29, 2008

©1991-2015 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.