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We all know someone who just seems perpetually thin.
That’s the person who can go out to dinner and order a salad without the dressing and actually enjoy it…
The one who eats just one bite of cake at a birthday party…
Or can open a bag of potato chips and really eat just one — while the rest of us struggle to put down the bag.
Does this person have exceptional willpower — or is something more driving most of us to overeat?
A study from a team of researchers at Osaka Metropolitan University has finally given us the answer, finding that the problem lies not in our jeans — but in our genes.
What stimulates the brain to overeat?
Recent research has linked a gene known as CREB-Regulated Transcription Coactivator 1 (CRTC1) to obesity. And that association is exactly what got researchers thinking that overeating isn’t just about not having the willpower.
The team already knew that when CRTC1 is deleted in mice, they become obese, a fact that indicates that a functioning CRTC1 gene actually has the power to prevent weight gain.
However, because the CRTC1 gene is found in all neurons in the brain and therefore, should help keep us all thin, they knew that something more had to be going on behind the scenes.
That’s when they turned their focus to another gene target – the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) – since mutations in the gene have been shown to cause obesity.
If brain neurons experience problems with the MC4R gene, CRTC1 function could be inhibited.
And sure enough, their theory paid off big dividends…
The scientists created a strain of mice that expresses CRTC1 normally other than having MC4R blocked, which resulted in a deficiency of that anti-obesity CRTC1 gene.
And the second those mice were fed a high-fat diet, they just couldn’t stop eating.
Yup, it was the old you can’t eat just one potato chip phenomenon all over again and the mice became more and more obese and even developed diabetes.
“This study has revealed the role that the CRTC1 gene plays in the brain, and part of the mechanism that stops us from overeating high-calorie, fatty, and sugary foods,” said Professor Shigenobu Matsumura. “We hope this will lead to a better understanding of what causes people to overeat.”
Curbing overeating habits
This means those of us who have issues pushing away from the table, or putting down that bag of chips, aren’t simply lacking willpower — we’re likely lacking properly functioning genes. So stop beating yourself up.
And while it’s nice to think that with this new information, a magic anti-overeating drug could be developed, be careful what you wish for…
While the active ingredient semaglutide decreases appetite by causing food to move slower through the body, Wegovy and Ozempic are proving to be problematic — causing fast weight gain when users stop taking the high-priced drug, not to mention the miserable side effects.
A close friend gave it a try but waking up in the middle of the night with extreme acid reflux and feeling like she was going to throw up, followed by fatigue so bad she could barely function, were deal breakers.
Soluble fiber is a natural way to slow the transit of food through the digestive system to feel fuller longer — and it supports healthy blood sugar levels.
There are plenty of other natural and safe ways to curb your appetite if you need some extra support, including:
- Adding more berries to your diet helps increase feelings of fullness and tastes good too.
- Being aware of the most common triggers that can trick you into consuming too much food in one sitting.
- Choosing a healthy eating plan that has been proven to deter overeating, like the Mediterranean diet. It’s full of healthy and tasty foods that won’t make your feel deprived while promoting healthy weight.
- These top tips from 6,000 people who lost the weight they wanted to and kept it off.
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