WEIGHT LOSS: How a bad diet circumvents satiety mechanisms and undermines our efforts

Refined sugar, animal products, artificial
sweeteners, the microbiome, pollutants, protein, obese animals, addiction, infection, behaviour
modification and mind-alteration – our overweight and obesity epidemic is a lot more complex
than just calories in vs. calories out. Keep watching to find out how! It is obvious that our global overweight and
obesity epidemic has been brought about by problems with our diet. But besides the obvious issue of over-eating,
there have been multiple syngergistic mechanisms studied and described by which our diet causes
weight gain and prevents weight loss, such that if one contemplates them all together
it is little wonder why so few people successfuly lose weight and keep it off, and also allows
one to appreciate just how tough it is for people trying to lose weight by conventional
means of calorie-counting, If It Fits Your Macros, portion control and so on. This is independent of the complex psychology
of body image and weight loss, which I am not going to discuss in this video as I am
not a psychologist and would not feel qualified to comment on. One hugely detrimental component of the modern
diet is refined sugar. Consumption of refined sugar has skyrocketed
since the 19th century, and brings with it a myriad of diet-related pathology, not least
of which is weight gain and obesity. When we consume refined sugar it is absorbed
into the blood stream at an extremely rapid rate and a rate that our physiology did not
evolve to deal with. As a result, a massive release of insulin
occurs to try and get the situation under control and to get the blood sugar level back
down. Unfortunately, because the amount of insulin
released is disproportionate to the blood sugar level, a few hours after a meal our
blood sugar actually drops below where it started. And falling blood sugar is one of our primary
hunger stimuli – causing more eating and more weight gain. This is one of the mechanisms by which refined
sugar and its resultant supraphysiological rate of ingestion and absorption far above
anything that would be seen with a naturally-occuring food undermines the body’s ability to regulate
intake of free sugar, and how the brain appears to be unable to detect and compensate for
the extra calories it provides – especially it seems with sugar-sweetened beverages. So how do we combat this? Refined sugar is now well-characterised as
a problem in our diet, and this thankfully has disseminated enough to become common public
knowledge. As a result, there is a huge market force
for an alternative, one of the consequences of which is the advent of artificially-sweetened foods
and non-nutritive sweeteners. Unfortunately, various sweeteners have been
implicated in a diverse range of serious health consequences including cancer and depression,
but as it pertains to body weight they all share one common problem – the use of artificial
sweeteners has been consistently correlated with weight GAIN, instead of weight loss. While this paradoxical correlation might be
explained perhaps by people that are already overweight tending to favour artificial sweeteners
over sugar in an example of reverse causation, other hypotheses to explain this paradox have
been proposed. There is the obvious “now I can eat anything”
mentality that leads to overindulgence if for example a diet beverage is consumed with
a meal. Also, because non-nutritive sweeteners are
non-nutritive and hence provide no calories, despite the sweet taste perceived by the brain
the intestine does not provide the corresponding satiety signals or the expected rise in blood
glucose to tell the brain it’s time to stop eating. Additionally, unlike giving up sugar and sweeteners
altogether, using artificial sweeteners maintains the craving for sweet foods and we may still
choose sugar-sweetened foods over healthy alternatives due to these cravings, even if
some of the time we are faithfully using the artificial sweeteners. Additionally, some sweeteners work by being
unabsorbable. They do contain calories, but these calories
are not usable by the body because the sweetener is not absorbed through the intestinal wall,
and that is how they provide sweetness without the calories. However, the sweetener itself is still a usable
fuel source for metabolism, and because it is not absorbed, it accumulates to a
high concentration in our intestine where it can feed bacteria. These dysbiotic bacteria are implicated in
a range of adverse health consequences, including impaired blood sugar control and weight gain. A recently-discovered potential mechanism
by which these dysbiotic bacteria cause weight gain is by enhancing carbohydrate absorption
and availability in the intestine. In fact, the standard Western diet in general favours the growth of these dybiotic, obesity-causing bacteria. Meat-eaters have been shown to posess more
of these bacteria that can more easily extract calories from food and make them available
for absorption compared with vegetarians, adding to one’s daily caloric excess and hence
gain more weight without even eating a single extra bite. Additionally, these obesity-associated bacteria
can interfere with our endocrine system, predisposing towards weight gain by inhibiting the breakdown
of fat and through other mechanisms. They can even control our eating behaviour
by altering brain activity and preference or cravings for unhealthy foods! The obesity-causing effect of these dysbiotic
bacteria is so powerful that just having contact with an obese person can potentially result
in transfer of some of the bacteria and may predispose towards weight gain in another
person. And on top of all of this, certain pollutants
found in cigarette smoke, air pollution and meat have obesogenic properties that further
disrupt our endocrine system to favour fat accumulation, in addition to the weight-gaining
effects of hormones in meat and dairy products. The fattening effect of meat and these so-called
obesogenic chemicals is so powerful it even appears to predispose a mother’s children
to obesity before they are even born if her own diet was rich in animal protein, primarily
meat, an effect independent of how much they ate or exercised. This situation is then compounded by feeding
cow’s milk infant formula to babies and thence the consumption of dairy throughout life,
both of which are strong risk factors for obesity – a finding which is not surprising
given that cow’s milk is specifically crafted by nature to promote the growth of a calf
at an extremely rapid rate. Even the animals themselves have become obese
over time through selection, use of growth-promoting hormones and antibiotics and intensive farming. This has resulted in even the animal products
commonly thought of as being less-fattening playing a major role in our obesity epidemic,
especially chicken, which though traditionally seen as a low-fat food now provides 2-3 times
more calories from fat than from protein. And as if that weren’t enough, infection with
certain viruses that are thought to have mutated from chicken-borne viruses is associated with
increased BMI. These viruses have been so well-studied that
the mechanisms by which they cause weight gain have even been described in-vitro, and
like obesity-causing bacteria, are transmissible from person-to-person. An important final common pathway for the
fattening effect of the standard Western diet is the highly-addictive, hyperpalatible nature of processed foods and
animal products. Salty, fatty, energy-rich foods and especially
sugar are now known to produce neurobiological and behavioural responses analogous to addictive
drugs, overriding homeostasis mechanisms and leading to overeating and weight gain which
is very hard to control. And very simply, habitual consumption of these
intense flavours desensitises our palate, so we continuously require intensely sugary,
fatty foods to satisfy our taste buds. In summary, refined sugar, artificial sweeteners,
animal products and the obesity-permissive intestinal microbiome their consumption promotes,
in addition to obesity-causing pollutants, protein and hormones AND the condition of
the very animals themselves that we eat, promotes a vicious circle of addiction and obesity
that is actually infectious. When you put all of these things together,
it’s no wonder why so many people find it so hard to lose weight. And remember, just like any element of nutrition,
these factors all contribute a relative risk – each individual factor might only raise
the risk of weight gain slightly. But if all these factors combine, the risk
approaches 7 out of 10 – the current rate of overweight and obesity in the US. And the perfect way to combine all these factors
and maximise your chance of getting fat is to eat the standard Western diet. But this is good news! If all of these factors are combined in one
unhealthy eating pattern, we can eliminate them all in one fell swoop by changing our
diet! But it’s even better than that…stay tuned
for part 2 when I’ll be discussing how a whole foods, plant-based diet can actually ACTIVELY
help us lose weight AND keep it off, as well as just displacing all these unhealthy foods. Thanks for watching, if you have any questions
or comments leave them in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you. If you found this video informative give us
an old thumbs-up there and subscribe so you don’t miss the next one! Sláinte!

10 thoughts on “WEIGHT LOSS: How a bad diet circumvents satiety mechanisms and undermines our efforts


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  2. Thats very thoroughly researched information. Thanks for the video! Good stuff 🙂 watched until the end. What a world we live in.

  3. Whoa Des…a little slower on the clicker. A little too much coffee this morning? 😉 Yer makin Greger look like a slo-mo….

  4. A very succinct research-explanation of the different factors that intervene in the gaining of weight.
    Thank you very much. 🙏

  5. very interesting!!! Even if before chicken was considered as lean meat, now with all the hormone and stuff they add…
    For me the question is not whether is it good or bad to eat meat? but is it good to eat modern industrial farming meat ? the answer is easy : go vegan for health!

  6. That's it – watched all of your videos (so far)… Straight A Youtuber, Lifestyle medicine practitioner & straight-forward Scientist (not to mention your heart also being at the right place!). Looking forward to see you succeed, Dr. Des! 🙂

  7. Yet another outstanding Gregeresque video. Brilliant 8 minute summary of the reasons for the obesity epidemic. This material deserves much wider circulation.

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