It’s About The Brain

The stomach is not the determinant of hunger. Thousands of years ago, people heard hearts beating fast and felt stomachs growling and believed these organs caused emotion and hunger. We still talk of listening to our heart and eating till our stomach is full, but we no longer follow our heart, and we should no longer serve our stomach. Love, hunger, and satisfaction come from the brain. (Hard to believe, but true.)

Hunger dissipates only slowly after a meal--it takes about a half hour. Like most medicines, there is at least a half hour delay between swallowing and any response, which must wait for food and tablets to dissolve, to be absorbed, and to reach the target organ. Since food is the remedy for the brain's hunger, failure to acknowledge a half hour delay can explain why we are all overdosing on calories. We don't expect medicine to work immediately. Let's apply that wisdom to food.

We should lose weight not for aesthetics but to protect the brain. The brain has an absolute sleep requirement, and obesity contributes to obstructive sleep apnea, which causes daytime drowsiness, crankiness, and increased risk of stroke. Diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and sedentary lifestyle are all associated with obesity, and all raise the risk of stroke. Obesity can raise pressure in the brain and cause blindness.

The brain and a behavioral approach offer great promise. Despite routine recommendations for weight reduction and a general yearning to trim down, average weight continues to climb. With three out of four Americans now overweight, the problem is not a failure of individuals. The answer must be something fundamentally different from the popular dieting methods that have failed so many. It's the brain that matters, and a small delay after a small meal may be all we need.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.