the binge-eating files » Metabolism/Digestion/The Gut

Metabolism, digestion,”gut” and microbiome factors and binge eating, obesity, diet, weight and stress

Stress and the gut, is there a connection? What you need to know! (July 28, 2023) by Gut News Wire — Stressed out? It could be one reason why your stomach hurts. Scientists at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have made an exciting breakthrough in understanding the connection between stress and inflammation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. By studying animals, they have identified cells responsible for communication between the brain’s stress responses and inflammation in the gut. … more

Cravings for fatty foods traced to gut-brain connection   ScienceDaily (Sept 7, 2022) — Mouse research reveals fat sensors in the intestines that stimulate the brain and drive food desires. A dieter wrestling with cravings for fatty foods might be tempted to blame their tongue: the delicious taste of butter or ice cream is hard to resist. But new research investigating the source of our appetites has uncovered an entirely new connection between the gut and the brain that drives our desire for fat. … more

Low-calorie sugar alternatives could negatively affect gut health, study finds   ABC News  (Aug 22, 2022) by Dr. Alexandria C. Wellman — Low-calorie sugar alternatives, which had previously been thought to be relatively harmless, may actually have a negative effect on human gut health, according to a new study.  All four substances tested in the study – saccharin, sucralose, aspartame and stevia – were found to change the gut microbiome, the collection of microbes in the gut that help protect humans against disease and enable us to digest food. … more

Non-nutritive sweeteners affect human microbiomes and can alter glycemic responses   ScienceDaily (Aug 19, 2022)  – Since the late 1800s non-nutritive sweeteners have promised to deliver all the sweetness of sugar with none of the calories. They have long been believed to have no effect on the human body, but researchers challenge this notion by finding that these sugar substitutes are not inert, and, in fact, some can alter human consumers’ microbiomes in a way that can change their blood sugar levels. … more

Got food cravings? What’s living in your gut may be responsible   ScienceDaily (April 20, 2022) – New research on mice shows for the first time that the microbes in animals’ guts influence what they choose to eat, making substances that prompt cravings for different kinds of foods. Eggs or yogurt, veggies or potato chips? We make decisions about what to eat every day, but those choices may not be fully our own. New University of Pittsburgh research on mice shows for the first time that the microbes in animals’ guts influence what they choose to eat, making substances that prompt cravings for different kinds of foods. … more

Healthy gut can help fight depression, protect emotional well being (Feb 7, 2022) by Amanda Christmas — A healthy microbiome could be key to warding off depression brought on from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent study. Researchers from several universities and health centers published a paper sharing the theory that emotional well being could be linked to the human gut. … more

Your gut senses the difference between real sugar and artificial sweetener   ScienceDaily (Jan 13, 2022) — Sugar preference isn’t just a matter of taste – it’s deeper than that. Why do mice without taste buds still prefer real sugar to the fake stuff? ‘We’ve identified the cells that make us eat sugar, and they are in the gut,’ said one of the researchers. Specialized cells in the upper gut send different signals to the brain for sugar and sugar substitute. … more

How Exercise Affects Metabolism and Weight Loss: A new analysis of data from “The Biggest Loser” highlights the complex ways the body compensates when we drop pounds.  New York Times (Dec 15, 2021) by Gretchen Reynolds — Many of us remember “The Biggest Loser,” the somewhat notorious reality television show that ran for more than a decade starting in 2004, in which contestants competed feverishly to drop massive amounts of weight over a short period of time … Media coverage of the contestants years later, though, seemed to tell a different story, of weight regain and slowed metabolisms … more

Burn, baby, burn: the new science of metabolism    The Guardian (Oct 30, 2021) by David Cox – Losing weight may be tough, but keeping it off, research tells us, is tougher – just not for the reasons you might think … According to the University of Michigan, about 90% of people who lose significant amounts of weight, whether through diets, structured programmes or even drastic steps such as gastric surgery, ultimately regain just about all of it. Why is this? Scientists believe that the answer lies in the workings of our metabolism … more

Gut microbiota influences the ability to lose weight   ScienceDaily (Sept 14, 2021) — Gut microbiota influences the ability to lose weight in humans, according to new research. “Your gut microbiome can help or cause resistance to weight loss and this opens up the possibility to try to alter the gut microbiome to impact weight loss,” said lead study author Christian Diener, Ph.D., a research scientist at the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, Washington. … more

Dieting and its effect on the gut microbiome.  ScienceDaily (June 23, 2021) – Bacterium associated with antibiotic-induced colitis plays a role in weight control. Researchers were able to show for the first time that a very low calorie diet significantly alters the composition of the microbiota present in the human gut. The researchers report that dieting results in an increase of specific bacteria – notably Clostridioides difficile, which is associated with antibiotic-induced diarrhea and colitis. … more

Irregular sleep patterns linked to metabolic disorders: Obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol more prevalent among irregular sleepers   ScienceDaily (June 5, 2019) — A new study has found that not sticking to a regular bedtime and wake up schedule — and getting different amounts of sleep each night — can put a person at higher risk for obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension, high blood sugar and other metabolic disorders. In fact, for every hour of variability in time to bed and time asleep, a person may have up to a 27% greater chance of experiencing a metabolic abnormality. … more

Gut sense: Neural superhighway conveys messages from gut to brain in milliseconds   ScienceDaily (Sept 20, 2018) – If you’ve ever felt nauseous before an important presentation, or foggy after a big meal, then you know the power of the gut-brain connection.… more

Makeup of an individual’s gut bacteria may play role in weight loss  ScienceDaily (Aug 1, 2018) – A preliminary study suggests that, for some people, specific activities of gut bacteria may be responsible for their inability to lose weight, despite adherence to strict diet and exercise regimens … more

Fat Shaming Tied to Increased Risk of Metabolic Problems   Reuters (Feb 3, 2017) by Lisa Rapaport – Obese people who feel stigmatized about their size may be at increased risk for metabolic syndrome, a new study suggests. Weight stigma is a chronic stressor that may increase cardiometabolic risk. Some individuals with obesity self-stigmatize, but no study to date has examined whether this might be associated with metabolic syndrome, the authors note in their January 26 online paper in Obesity. … more

Weight loss yo-yo: How the gut reverses effects of dieting (Nov 25, 2016) – Dieting seems to change the microorganisms in the gut so that people gain back weight quickly. Scientists studying yo-yo dieting in mice say the tendency for people to regain excess weight rapidly after successfully slimming may well be due to their microbiome — the trillions of microorganisms in the gut. The researchers found that changes in the gut microbiome that occur when an obese mouse loses weight can persist for many months, and that this contributes to accelerated weight regain later if the diet lapses. … more

New theory on how insulin resistance, metabolic disease begin  ScienceDaily (Sept 26, 2016) – Does eating too much sugar cause type 2 diabetes? The answer may not be simple, but a study adds to growing research linking excessive sugar consumption — specifically the sugar fructose — to a rise in metabolic disease worldwide. The study, conducted in mice and corroborated in human liver samples, unveils a metabolic process that could upend previous ideas about how the body becomes resistant to insulin and eventually develops diabetes. … more

Is ‘when we eat’ as important as ‘what we eat’?  ScienceDaily  (June 22, 2016) – In a review of research on the effect of meal patterns on health, the few studies available suggest that eating irregularly is linked to a higher risk of metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and obesity). The limited evidence highlights the need for larger scale studies to better understand the impact of chrono-nutrition on public health, argue the authors of two new papers …. more

Eating healthily during the week but bingeing on weekends is not OK for your gut: no more cheat days. (Jan 25, 2016) by Margaret Morris – A relatively healthy but complex community is living together peacefully, until an unruly mob of hooligans begins unsettling the community’s residents and disturbing the peace every weekend. This scenario could be playing out in the human gut every time you go on a junk food binge. Yo-yoing between eating well during the week and bingeing on junk food over the weekend is likely to be just as bad for your gut health as a consistent diet of junk.Our study, recently published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, examined the impact of yo-yo dieting on the gut microbiota (the mix of organisms) of rats. This was the first study to compare how continuous or irregular exposure to an unhealthy diet can impact the composition of the gut microbiota. … more

‘Healthy’ foods differ by individual   ScienceDaily (Nov 19, 2015) – Ever wonder why that diet didn’t work? A new study tracking the blood sugar levels of 800 people over a week suggests that even if we all ate the same meal, how it’s metabolized would differ from one person to another. The findings demonstrate the power of personalized nutrition in helping people identify which foods can help or hinder their health goals. … more

High fat diet changes gut microbe populations and brain’s ability to recognize fullness  ScienceDaily (July 7, 2015) – Have you ever wondered why eating one good-tasting French fry may lead you to eat the whole batch and leave you wanting more? According to a new study with rats, that high-fat indulgence literally changes the populations of bacteria residing inside the gut and also alters the signaling to the brain. The result? The brain no longer senses signals for fullness, which can cause overeating–a leading cause of obesity.  more …

High-Sugar Diet Can Impair Learning And Memory By Altering Gut Bacteria  Huffington Post (June 24, 2015) by Carolyn Gregoire – The typical American diet is loaded with fat and sugar, and it may be hurting not only our physical health, but also our ability to think clearly. New research from Oregon State University finds a high-sugar, high-fat diet causes changes in gut bacteria that seem to lead to significant losses in cognitive flexibility, a measurement of the brain’s ability to switch between thinking about one concept to another, and to adapt to changes in the environment. more…

Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Explain Your Mood?  NYT New York Times Magazine (June 23, 2015) by Peter A. Smith – The rich array of microbiota in our intestines can tell us more than you might think.  … Since 2007, when scientists announced plans for a Human Microbiome Project to catalog the micro-organisms living in our body, the profound appreciation for the influence of such organisms has grown rapidly with each passing year. Bacteria in the gut produce vitamins and break down our food; their presence or absence has been linked to obesity, inflammatory bowel disease and the toxic side effects of prescription drugs. Biologists now believe that much of what makes us human depends on microbial activity. … more

Obesity breakthrough: Metabolic master switch prompts fat cells to store or burn fat  ScienceDaily (Aug 19, 2015) – Obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges of the 21st century. Affecting more than 500 million people worldwide, obesity costs at least $200 billion each year in the United States alone, and contributes to potentially fatal disorders such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Scientists have now revealed the mechanism underlying the genomic region most strongly associated with obesity. The findings uncover a genetic circuit that controls whether our bodies burn or store fat. Manipulating that genetic circuit may offer a new approach for obesity treatments. …more

Certain gut bacteria may induce metabolic changes following exposure to artificial sweeteners   ScienceDaily (Sept 17 , 2014) — Artificial sweeteners have long been promoted as diet and health aids. But breaking research shows that these products may be leading to the very diseases they were said to help prevent: scientists have discovered that, after exposure to artificial sweeteners, our gut bacteria may be triggering harmful metabolic changes. more …

Carbohydrate digestion and obesity strongly  linked   ScienceDaily (Mar 30, 2014) – New  research indicates that obesity in the general population may be genetically linked to how our bodies digest carbohydrates. People usually have two copies of the gene AMY1, but in some regions of our DNA there can be variability in the number of copies a person carries, which is known as copy number variation. The number of copies of AMY1 can be highly variable between people, and it is believed that higher numbers of copies of the salivary amylase gene have evolved in response to a shift towards diets containing more starch since prehistoric times.   more …

Certain bacteria may help ward off obesity  (Sept 5, 2013) by Melissa Healy – Bacteria in the human gut may play a key role in who is obese or lean and could lead to treatments for obesity, a study finds.  The microorganisms in the human gut appear to play a pivotal role in determining whether a person is lean or obese, new research shows. The study, published online Thursday by the journal Science, is the strongest evidence yet that what’s inside an individual’s digestive tract influences the risk of obesity and its related health problems, such as Type 2 diabetes. The work helps explain the nation’s 30-year run-up in excess weight — and it may supply a potential solution to the resulting epidemic, experts said.   more

Targeting taste receptors in the gut may help fight obesity    ScienceDaily (Dec. 21, 2012) — Despite more than 25 years of research on antiobesity drugs, few medications have shown long-term success. Now researchers reporting online on December 21 in the Cell Press journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism say that targeting taste sensors in the gut may be a promising new strategy.   more

Gut microbes help the body extract more calories from food     ScienceDaily (Sep. 12, 2012) — You may think you have your food all to yourself, but you’re actually sharing it with a vast community of microbes waiting within your digestive tract. A new study from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine reveals some gut microbes increase the absorption of dietary fats, allowing the host organism to extract more calories from the same amount of food.   more

A carefully scheduled high-fat diet resets metabolism and prevents obesity, researchers find   ScienceDaily (Sep. 12, 2012) — New research from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem shows that a carefully scheduled high-fat diet can lead to a reduction in body weight and a unique metabolism in which ingested fats are not stored, but rather used for energy at times when no food is available.   Link

Obesity and metabolic syndrome associated with impaired brain function in adolescents   ScienceDaily (Sep. 3, 2012) — A new study by researchers at NYU School of Medicine reveals for the first time that metabolic syndrome (MetS) is associated with cognitive and brain impairments in adolescents and calls for pediatricians to take this into account when considering the early treatment of childhood obesity.   Link

What babies eat after birth likely determines lifetime risk of metabolic mischief and obesity, rat studies suggest    ScienceDaily (Aug. 30, 2012) — Rats born to mothers fed high-fat diets but who get normal levels of fat in their diets right after birth avoid obesity and its related disorders as adults, according to new Johns Hopkins research. Meanwhile, rat babies exposed to a normal-fat diet in the womb but nursed by rat mothers on high-fat diets become obese by the time they are weaned.   Link

Obesity, metabolic factors linked to faster cognitive decline    ScienceDaily (Aug. 20, 2012) — People who are obese and also have high blood pressure and other risk factors called metabolic abnormalities may experience a faster decline in their cognitive skills over time than others, according to a study published in the August 21, 2012, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.   Link

The gut-wrenching dangers of the Western diet    The Globe and Mail (Jun. 14  2012) by Paul Taylor – The human gut is literally teeming with billions of “friendly” bacteria that aid digestion and help ward off dangerous pathogens.  But a new study suggests the modern Western diet, which is high in saturated fats, could disrupt this delicately balanced microbial community and set the stage for certain diseases.   more

Complex world of gut microbes fine-tune body weight   ScienceDaily (June 6, 2012) — Microorganisms in the human gastrointestinal tract form an intricate, living fabric made up of some 500 to 1000 distinct bacterial species, (in addition to other microbes). Recently, researchers have begun to untangle the subtle role these diverse life forms play in maintaining health and regulating weight.  In a new study appearing in the journal Nutrition in Clinical Practice, researcher[s]… review the role of gut microbes in nutrient absorption and energy regulation…”Malnutrition may manifest as either obesity or undernutrition, problems of epidemic proportion worldwide. Microorganisms have been shown to play an important role in nutrient and energy extraction and energy regulation although the specific roles that individual and groups/teams of gut microbes play remain uncertain.” more

Obesity not always tied to higher heart risk    Reuters Health (May 24, 2012)  by Aparna Narayanan – An obese person isn’t inevitably at increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death, a new U.K. study finds. “The people really at risk are the ones who have obesity in combination with other metabolic health risk factors” … The results are in line with most previous research that defined metabolic health as having normal levels of markers like blood pressure, blood sugar, HDL, or “good” cholesterol, and C-reactive protein, which is a measure of inflammation in the body.  “People with good metabolic health are not at risk of future heart disease — even if they are obese” …  Link

Extended daily fasting overrides harmful effects of a high-fat diet: Study may offer drug-free intervention to prevent obesity and diabetes  ScienceDaily (May 17, 2012) — It turns out that when we eat may be as important as what we eat …regular eating times and extending the daily fasting period may override the adverse health effects of a high-fat diet and prevent obesity, diabetes and liver disease in mice. In a paper … in Cell Metabolism, scientists from Salk’s Regulatory Biology Laboratory reported that mice limited to eating during an 8-hour period are healthier than mice that eat freely throughout the day, regardless of the quality and content of their diet …The study sought to determine whether obesity and metabolic diseases result from a high-fat diet or from disruption of metabolic cycles.   Link

Faulty fat sensor implicated in obesity and liver disease  ScienceDaily (Feb. 19, 2012) — Defects in a protein that functions as a dietary fat sensor may be a cause of obesity and liver disease, according to a study published in the journal Nature, led by researchers at Imperial College London. The findings highlight a promising target for new drugs to treat obesity and metabolic disorders.  Link

Health benefits of exercise my depend on cellular degradation  ScienceDaily (Jan. 20, 2012) – The health benefits of exercise on blood sugar metabolism may come from the body’s ability to devour itself, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers report in the journal Nature.  Link

Intestinal bacteria drive obesity and metabolic disease in immune-altered mice    ScienceDaily (Mar. 8, 2010) — Increased appetite and insulin resistance can be transferred from one mouse to another via intestinal bacteria, according to research being published online by Science magazine.  The finding strengthens the case that intestinal bacteria can contribute to human obesity and metabolic disease, since previous research has shown that intestinal bacterial populations differ between obese and lean humans.  Link

When you eat may be just as vital to your health as what you eat  ScienceDaily (Nov. 26, 2009) — When you eat may be just as vital to your health as what you eat, found researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Their experiments in mice revealed that the daily waxing and waning of thousands of genes in the liver — the body’s metabolic clearinghouse — is mostly controlled by food intake and not by the body’s circadian clock as conventional wisdom had it.  Link

‘Spoonful of sugar’ makes the worms’ life span go down   ScienceDaily (Nov. 5, 2009) — If worms are any indication, all the sugar in your diet could spell much more than obesity and type 2 Diabetes. Researchers reporting in the November issue of Cell Metabolism… say it might also be taking years off your life.  Link

Eating quickly is associated with overeating, study indicates   ScienceDaily (Nov. 4, 2009) — According to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), eating a meal quickly, as compared to slowly, curtails the release of hormones in the gut that induce feelings of being full. The decreased release of these hormones, can often lead to overeating.  Link

Fatty foods – not empty stomach – fire up hunger hormone   ScienceDaily (June 8, 2009) — New research led by the University of Cincinnati (UC) suggests that the hunger hormone ghrelin is activated by fats from the foods we eat—not those made in the body—in order to optimize nutrient metabolism and promote the storage of body fat.  The findings, the study’s author says, turn the current model about ghrelin on its head and point to a novel stomach enzyme (GOAT) responsible for the ghrelin activation process that could be targeted in future treatments for metabolic diseases.  Link

Avoiding the midlife diet crisis: Beat a slowing metabolism with some easy nutrition fixes (May 29, 2009) by Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D. — While time may adorn you with new lines on your face, a new color hair (gray) and a new waistline, the passing decades are not to blame for all of the changes in your body. Your eating habits, your attitude and your approach to everyday experiences also play key roles.  Link

Exercise not likely to rev up your metabolism:  Studies bust myth that working out gives you a fat-burning boost (May 26, 2009) by Jacqueline Stenson  — Start exercising and you’ll become a round-the-clock, fat-burning machine, right? That’s long been a commonly held belief among exercisers and fitness experts alike. But a new report finds that, sadly, it’s not very likely.  The notion that exercise somehow boosts the body’s ability to burn fat for as long as 24 hours after a workout has led to a misperception among the general public that diet doesn’t matter so much as long as one exercises…   Link

Vitamins found to curb exercise benefits  New York Times (May 11, 2009) by Nicholas Wade — If you exercise to improve your metabolism and prevent diabetes, you may want to avoid antioxidants like vitamins C and E.  That is the message of a surprising new look at the body’s reaction to exercise, reported on Monday by researchers in Germany and Boston.  Link

Brain enzyme may play key role in controlling appetite and weight gain  ScienceDaily (Dec. 16, 2008) — Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found that overactivity of a brain enzyme may play a role in preventing weight gain and obesity. The findings were reported in Cell Metabolism.  Link

Study: Six new gene mutations linked to obesity (Dec. 14, 2008) — Researchers have identified six new gene mutations linked to obesity and said on Sunday they point to ways the brain and nervous system control eating and metabolism.  Link