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Will Science Prevent The Obesity Crisis?

Posted in Personal Health 23 Jun, 2015

Some science has been undertaken that may halt the obesity crisis. This report may as well have been titled 'The human race is now completely unable to take care of itself.'

Have we become so lazy that we can't be bothered to diet, or exercise even if it means avoiding diabetes, heart disease and all the other obesity nasties? It certainly looks that way.

So What Is The Science?

Some Harvard Medical School and Edinburgh University scientists believe they've found the hunger switch, the part of the brain that influences hunger. At the moment there are no drugs that prevent hunger, and that's the reason most dieters fail to stick to their diet. Feeling hungry is not much fun - but then having diabetes and heart disease isn't much fun either. I know what I'd rather have.

How Would It Work?

Tests have only been carried out in mice, and there's no evidence yet that it would work in human subjects. The brain circuit in mice called melanoncortin 4 receptor (MCR4) was altered in the unfortunate lab animals, and that influenced the amount they wanted to eat.

The researchers believe that, by targeting MCR4, they will be able to reduce our hunger for food.

Why Is It Even Necessary?

I'm not sure it is necessary. Hunger isn't a pleasant sensation, but there must be other methods to manage it that don't involve interfering with our brain patterns:

  • If people were more aware of the effects of obesity-related illness they would lose their appetites anyway. Perhaps further education is required.
  • Hunger can be managed by eating high protein and high fibre foods. They fill you up for longer and prevent hunger creeping in. Regular meals of properly balanced foods and cutting back on alcohol will settle your blood sugar and calm down cravings.
  • Our eating habits have changed over the past 60 years. We need to address this rather than investing in science to stop us feeling hungry. Habits changed a great deal in the 1980s - the invention of the microwave and the ubiquitous ready meal must be partly to blame. Tax on microwaves?
  • An increasing reliance on cars and the internet has made us lazy. We barely have to use our bodies now, and we fill them up with rubbish, so it's hardly surprising that an obesity crisis is upon us. If cars were taken away and meat, cheese, sugar were rationed as they were during the war we would have to adapt and would be healthier for it.
  • It seems that what is missing is willpower and self-restraint. People are used to having everything they want straight away. Want a new TV? You don't have to save for it anymore - simply take out a loan and have it delivered tomorrow.

Really the adult human race is like a child. It will gorge itself on chocolate until sick, unless its mother steps in and forces carrots upon it. How shocking that we can't manage our own health without scientific interference. I thought we were grown-ups!

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