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Archive for the ‘addiction’ Category

Horrifying Habit Heroes

Posted by Colin Rose on February 26, 2012

Has anyone ever objected to exposing kids to the evil doings of villains like The Joker, Lex LuthorCatwomen and Darth Vader who kill and maim thousands and demolish whole cities or planets? Very few. But just suggest that the lifestyle habits of kids could be improved by creating examples of a healthy lifestyle, like the Habit Heroes of Disney World, and their evil enemies, like Lead Bottom or The Glutton, and the self appointed protectors of the delicate juvenile mind, cultural relativists, and “experts” in obesity are scandalized. Were there any complaints from the children themselves or their parents?

Gazette-HabitHeroes-screen

“It’s so dumbfounding it’s unreal,” says Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa. “I just can’t believe somebody out there thought it was a good idea to pick up where the school bullies left off and shame kids on their vacation.” Freedhoff  thinks it’s terrible that “society does believe (weight control) is about willpower and calisthenics.” So what does he thinks causes obesity? Bad genes? Toxic chemicals? Lack of bariatric surgery? Sorry Yoni, it’s called the First Law of Thermodynamics. Energy can’t be destroyed. It has to go somewhere. Whatever calories one eats has to go into work or fat storage. As the creators of Habit Heroes and anyone else who knows a little science realizes, eating too many calories mostly due to junk food addiction is the cause of obesity. The sooner children learn this fundamental law of physics and its consequences, the better. If obese children and their obese parents are offended by a law of physics, we have no sympathy.

“Rebecca Scritchfield, an adjunct professor at George Washington University, said she was “disgusted” by the exhibit’s implication that weight is indicative of health, writing: “I would love to know what sickos thought this up.” It seems Dr Scritchfield hasn’t read the literature proving that obesity reduces life expectancy and contributes to a large number of chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and atherosclerosis.

Is educating children that a law of physics mandates that they shouldn’t be eating junk food and not moving more traumatic than them imagining Darth Vader destroying a planet? Are the many obese among them being “bullied” and “shamed?” Should they never be told that obesity will shorten their lives? Is it soul-destroying or empowering to suggest that people have to take some responsibility for their actions?

Not surprisingly the exhibit lasted only 3 weeks before it was shut down and the web site was “down for maintenance.”

We very much doubt that this exhibit will ever re-open. Anything that they say that even hints that obese children or adult have the freedom to make choices that affect their health can be interpreted as “shaming” or “bullying”. Cultural relativism denies the existence of free will in any domain and demands that all problems of identifiable groups be blamed on “social injustice” ; no one should ever be blamed for the consequences of their actions.

What really puzzles us is that the directors of Disney World should take this altruistic decision to promote healthy habits, knowing that some of their clients, parents and children, might be offended by the implication that their habits need changing and possibly cutting into the junk food sales in the park. Maybe they have seen some of our photos of the massive obesity of many visitors to Disney World and decided they had to do something to counteract this image. Of course, they should have included the parents in their message.

Disney World

 

Posted in addiction, ccsvi, multiple sclerosis | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Olivia Chow, Desperate Wife of NDP Leader, Promotes Junk Food Addiction

Posted by Colin Rose on April 16, 2011

Olivia Chow, wife of NDP leader, Jack Layton, has sunk to a new low her desperate attempt to be re-elected in the riding of Trinity-Spadina after winning by only 3500 votes in 2008. She is paying for the distribution of mini ice cream cones to attract and bribe voters. Ice cream is the quintessence of junk food, a concoction of sugar and fat that has been perfected over many years to appeal to those addictions. The money to pay for this promotion of addiction is coming from donations to the NDP. Obviously the NDP doesn’t care that the consequences of junk food addiction, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, knee osteoarthritis, high “cholesterol” and high blood pressure, account for the most of the exorbitant increases in spending on “health care.”

From MacLean’s

From the Star

Posted in addiction, Canada, diabetes, Type 2, health care, junk food, obesity | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Junk food addiction causes obesity

Posted by Colin Rose on March 28, 2010

http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=2737117.

BK Combo with Poutine

Bacon and cheesecake can alter the brain in ways similar to heroin and cocaine, according to scientists who say they have found the most compelling proof yet that high-fat foods rewire the brain and drive the development of compulsive eating.

When rats raised on regular chow were suddenly given unrestricted access to a high-fat diet, they lost complete control over their eating. Not even mild foot shocks kept them from compulsively feasting on chocolate bars, cream-stuffed cakes, sausage, frosting and other highly palatable human foods. Within 40 days, their body weight had increased 25%.

The rats not only got fat, they also showed addiction-like changes in brain reward circuits — the same changes that have been reported in humans addicted to drugs.

Specifically, the obese rats showed lower levels of a receptor in the brain called the dopamine D2 receptor. The D2 receptor responds to dopamine, the chemical associated with feelings of reward. The brain releases bursts of dopamine when we eat food that tastes good.

The more junk food the rats ate, the more they overloaded the brain’s reward circuitries until they essentially crashed. As the pleasure centres in the brain became more and more blase, and less responsive, the rats quickly turned into compulsive overeaters. They were motivated to keep eating to get their fix.

“They’re in a state of reward deficit, so that they’re now even more motivated to obtain rewarding food, perpetuating this vicious cycle even further,” said study co-author Paul Kenny, an associate professor at Scripps Research Institute in Florida.

The lowered D2 receptor levels — a side effect of overeating high-fat food — also seemed to drive the animals to develop “habitual” feeding behaviours that made them “less able to shift their dietary preferences,” Dr. Kenny says.

When the researchers took the high-fat foods away, leaving only the healthy, but boring chow — what the scientists dubbed the “salad bar option” — the rodents essentially voluntarily starved themselves.

“They liked the junk food so much they would rather starve than shift onto the regular chow,” Dr. Kenny said. Even after two weeks of having no junk food, “they still hadn’t returned to the level of intake that you see in the control animals for the standard chow. That goes to show just how powerful this food was.”

When they artificially knocked down the dopamine receptor using a special virus, nothing happened when rats were given regular chow. They didn’t become compulsive in any way, Dr. Kenny said. “Their brain reward systems looked fine.

“But the second you gave it palatable food, it showed very rapidly these addiction-like changes.”

Some people may be born with a predisposition to have lower D2 levels.

“That may be why they’re more likely to gain weight. They’re already halfway down that road, if you will,” Dr. Kenny said.

The findings, published on Sunday in an advance online edition of the journal Nature Neuroscience, could have profound implications for the millions of Canadians struggling to control their eating.

“What this is telling you is that, if you persist in eating food that you know is bad for you, there is a chance that you will develop a habit, and you will keep on going back to that food unless you make a really strong, conscious effort to stop it,” Dr. Kenny said.

“It’s incumbent upon people to make sure that they’re more respectful and aware of what they’re eating. Just be aware that there are dangers and risks associated. Enjoy (high-fat) food but make sure it’s occasionally and very-well controlled. Don’t overindulge repeatedly, because there could be repercussions.”

Dr. Valerie Taylor, an assistant professor in psychiatry and behavioural neuroscience at McMaster University in Hamilton, said the study is a validation “that some people are simply more vulnerable to the whole concept of being addicted to food.”

“The fact that we’re now in this high-temptation environment further serves to exacerbate that.”

Dr. Taylor said the study provides “very strong evidence supporting what a lot of us who work in the field have seen clinically — that, for some people, it’s more than just simply willpower. There’s something else going on.”

According to the latest estimates from Statistics Canada, 37% of the adult population age 20 to 69 — 7.9 million people — are overweight. Another 24% — 5.3 million — are obese.

The new study is part of a growing body of research into the “hedonic mechanisms” contributing to obesity. The preliminary findings captured headlines in October when an abstract presented at a neuroscience meeting in Chicago reported that junk food binge eating is hard to stop.

The final report goes further, and explains just what’s happening in the brain.

Three groups of rats were studied. In addition to unlimited access to their regular chow, one group was given one hour of access a day to the junk food, while another group had 18 to 23 hours of access each day, for 40 consecutive days.

Rats that had one hour access to the junk food binge-ate, gorging on the food during those one-hour sessions, so much so that they consumed almost two-thirds of their daily calories in that one-hour session. “But they didn’t gain weight, and they didn’t show those addiction-like changes,” Dr. Kenny said.

Rats given unlimited access to the sausages, frostings and cakes didn’t binge or gorge, but they snacked all day. They kept eating, consuming twice as many calories as the “control” rats, even when the flashing cue light came on that was paired with a foot shock.

“Many drug addicts know that what they’re doing is bad — they’re damaging their health, their finances, their family. But they find it very difficult to stop — the behaviour is almost beyond their control,” Dr. Kenny said.

“The same thing happened here: The animals kept on eating, even when there was something in the environment that said something bad was going to happen. They simply ignored it, and they just kept on eating.”

Dr. Kenny said treatments known to work for drug addictions may be effective for people who overeat junk food.

skirkey@canwest.com

Posted in addiction, diet, food, junk food, obesity | 3 Comments »

JUNK FOOD TURNS RATS INTO ADDICTS

Posted by Colin Rose on November 18, 2009

More proof, if  more is needed, that junk food has been carefully formulated to appeal to innate attraction to the taste of sugar and salt and the mouth feel of fat. So, just don’t buy the junk and you don’t have to worry about getting addicted to it and suffer all the miserable consequences.

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Bacon, cheesecake and Ho Hos alter pleasure centers in rats’ brains

CHICAGO — Junk food elicits addictive behavior in rats similar to the behaviors of rats addicted to heroin, a new study finds. Pleasure centers in the brains of rats addicted to high-fat, high-calorie diets became less responsive as the binging wore on, making the rats consume more and more food. The results, presented October 20 at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting, may help explain the changes in the brain that lead people to overeat.

“This is the most complete evidence to date that suggests obesity and drug addiction have common neurobiological underpinnings,” says study coauthor Paul Johnson of the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Fla.

To see how junk food affects the brain’s natural reward system — the network of nerve cells that release feel-good chemicals — Johnson started at the grocery store. He loaded up on typical Western fare, including Ho Hos, sausage, pound cake, bacon and cheesecake. Johnson fed rats either a standard diet of high-nutrient, low-calorie chow, or unlimited amounts of the palatable junk food. Rats that ate the junk food soon developed compulsive eating habits and became obese. “They’re taking in twice the amount of calories as the control rats,” says Johnson’s coauthor Paul Kenny, also of Scripps.

Johnson and Kenny wanted to know if this overeating affected the pleasure centers of the rats’ brains, the regions responsible for drug addiction. The researchers used electrical stimulations to activate these reward centers and induce pleasure. Rats could control the amount of feel-good stimulation by running on a wheel — the more they ran, the more stimulation they got. The rats fed junk food ran more, indicating that they needed more brain stimulation to feel good.

After just five days on the junk food diet, rats showed “profound reductions” in the sensitivity of their brains’ pleasure centers, suggesting that the animals quickly became habituated to the food. As a result, the rats ate more food to get the same amount of pleasure. Just as heroin addicts require more and more of the drug to feel good, rats needed more and more of the junk food. “They lose control,” Kenny says. “This is the hallmark of addiction.”

To see how strong the drive to eat junk food was, the researchers exposed the rats to a foot shock when they ate the high-fat food. Rats that had not been constantly exposed to the junk food quickly stopped eating. But the foot shock didn’t faze rats accustomed to the junk food — they continued to eat, even though they knew the shock was coming.

“What we have are these core features of addiction, and these animals are hitting each one of these features,” Kenny says.

These reward pathway deficits persisted for weeks after the rats stopped eating the junk food, the researchers found. “It’s almost as if you break these things, it’s very, very hard to go back to the way things were before,” Kenny says. When the junk food was taken away and the rats had access only to nutritious chow (what Kenny calls the “salad option”), the obese rats refused to eat. “They starve themselves for two weeks afterward,” Kenny says. “Their dietary preferences are dramatically shifted.”

Scientists are interested in determining the long-term effect of altering the reward system. “We might not see it when we look at the animal,” says obesity expert Ralph DiLeone of Yale University School of Medicine. “They might be a normal weight, but how they respond to food in the future may be permanently altered.”

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Junk food addiction

Posted by Colin Rose on October 28, 2009

The type of reactions Kessler describes when some people are presented with junk food is classical addictive behaviour. Why doesn’t Kessler like to call junk food obsession an addiction? My guess is that as a former FDA Commissioner he would like to think that the problem can be solved just by banning junk food. If he admits the existence of  junk food addiction he has to face the reality that all attempts to ban addictive substances of any sort have been disastrous; people will satisfy their addictions at any cost to themselves and their society. Whether we like it or not, we are all affected by the consequences of addiction; if you have any kind of disease insurance, public or private, you are paying much more than you would if there were no alcohol, tobacco or junk food addictions, all legal. Illegal cocaine and heroin addictions only increase your share of police and military costs. So, collectively, we have to put a  major effort into preventing and treating addiction, a medical problem so intractable that we pay police rather than doctors to deal with it.


Slaves to sugar
BY DAV ID KE SSLER
National Post
28 Oct 2009

For years, I wondered why I was fat. Science seemed to suggest it was my destiny. “Set-point theory” says that adult weight is destined to remain at a predetermined level and that we will adjust our energy intake and output to keep it there. According…read more…

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You can say no

Posted by Colin Rose on October 27, 2009

A great book, but Kessler calls everything that can be digested “food”. Artificial concoctions formulated to appeal to addictions to sugar, fat and salt are junk food and have no more reason for existence than cocaine or tobacco. It is impossible to eat too much of unrefined cereals, vegetables, fruit, legumes, low-fat dairy products or lean meat with no added butter, margarine or oil.

WE CAN’T SAY NO
DAVID KESSLER
National Post
27 Oct 2009

To understand how eating promotes more eating, we must first understand the concept of “palatability” as the term is used scientifically. In everyday language, we call food palatable if it has an agreeable taste. But when scientists say a food is…read more…

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National Pet Obesity Awareness Day

Posted by Colin Rose on October 14, 2009

What does the pandemic of cat and dog obesity tell us about the pandemic of human obesity? Animals don`t get fat in the wild, only when they live with obese humans and are fed the same junk food. No junk food, no obesity. No survey has looked at the association between pet obesity and obesity in their owners but we would predict that there would be a very good correlation.

obesepets

Junk Food Addicts

We are surprised that no mention is made of  Pfizer`s Slentrol, “the first prescription weight loss medication for dogs”. Feed your dog expensive junk and then spend more money on an expensive pill.

Obese Pets: How to Help Your Furry Friend Stay Slim

Given that today is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day, I thought I would touch on the topic and provide some handy references and tips for those pet owners concerned about the size of their furry companions.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 33 million (44%) of US Dogs and 51 million (57%) US Cats are Overweight or Obese.

“Pudgy pooches and fat cats are now the norm.” states Dr. Ernie Ward, founder and President of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) in a recent press release. He goes on to suggest that “the majority of today’s overweight pets will endure painful and expensive medical conditions – all of which can be avoided.”

But how can you tell if your pet is overweight or obese?

Here are a few simple guidelines provided by APOP:

Your Pet is Overweight if…
– Difficult to feel ribs under fat
– Sagging stomach – you can grab a handful of fat!
– Broad, flat back
– No waist is apparent

More specifically, you can refer to the Body Conditioning Scoring System for Dogs and Cats which has an easy to follow grading system (with pictures) : 1 (very thin), 2 (underweight), 3 (ideal), 4 (overweight), 5 (obese).

The APOP website also offers a helpful Pet Obesity Info Sheet which lists the proper weights of various breeds of dogs and cats, their regular dietary needs (calories), as well as nutritional information for various pet treats and foods.

For example, did you know that your Golden Retriever should not be exceeding 75 lbs while your regular domestic cat should stay under 10 lbs?

Much as in humans, excess weight among pets is associated with increased risk of numerous diseases including: osteoarthritis , diabetes, hypertension , cardiovascular disease , and cancer.

And what are the factors predisposing your pet to gaining excess weight?

A 2003 study conducted by Robertson in Murdoch University, Australia used a random telephone survey of 2326 households in the Perth metropolitan region to interview the 657 owners of a total of 860 dogs. In this study, most dogs (69.7%) were considered by their owners to be the correct-weight or body-condition, while 25.2% were considered overweight or obese – numbers that are lower than those documented in the US.

The study found that dogs that were overweight or obese were more likely to be neutered, fed snacks, be of older age, and ate only one meal a day. Additionally, for every hour of exercise performed by the dog each week their risk of obesity fell by 10%.

As your pet’s owner, you are responsible for ensuring little Mr. Bojangles lives a long and healthy life. To do so, you have to keep your cat or dog at a normal weight.

Once again, the APOP provides very helpful advice for managing your pet’s excess weight (Read: weight management for dogs and weight management for cats).

In the end, the strategies are quite similar to that for obese humans.

First, the pet should be checked by a vet for any possible disease states predisposing to obesity, and making weight loss potentially difficult.

Second is calorie balance – increasing the amount of daily exercise your pet gets (easier with dog than cat), while limiting the number of calories they ingest – being particularly careful to not exceed their nutritional requirements with snacks and scraps of “people food” or by using a self-feeder.

Keeping a daily log of activity, caloric intake, and regular weigh-ins is a good way to track progress. For a sample food and activity log for your pet click here.

And finally, if you would like your pet to participate in today’s national effort to raise awareness of pet obesity, and help establish reliable data on the severity of the issue, please fill out the online Pet Obesity Data Form.

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WHAT YOU EAT MAKES YOU FAT

Posted by Colin Rose on September 13, 2009

Great article, Joe. We appreciate there are those that are confused. But there are also large numbers who know what is healthy to eat, but easily blind themselves to reality; they are junk food addicts. That “food”  that the cruise passengers are piling on their plates is specifically formulated to appeal to addictions to sugar, salt and the mouth feel of fat. Unfortunately, treating junk food addiction is just as hard as treating addictions to tobacco, cocaine or heroin. Doctors are not trained to and not paid to treat addictions. They are paid to “treat” the symptoms of junk food addiction, like hypertension, Type 2 diabetes and “cholesterol” and do futile gastric bypasses. “Treatment” of these symptoms deceives the addict into believing that s/he can avoid the consequences of the addiction and makes the addiction worse. Americans are inundated with direct-to-consumer (DTC) drug advertising, claimed to be a First Amendment right by corporations with $billion ad budgets, promoting this deception and doctors are paid to prescribe those drugs.  Canada is catching up fast. Obesity rates are rising and there is pressure from the media to allow DTC in Canada, presumably guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

The solution? Each individual has to balance the transient pleasure of addiction against the long term disastrous consequences of the addiction. In our society this is the hardest thing most people have to do 24/7/52 for a lifetime and doctors must avoid aggravating addictive behaviour.


WHAT YOU EAT MAKES YOU FAT
JOE SCHWARCZ
The Gazette
13 Sep 2009

Occasionally, I like to spy on people. Only for the sake of science, of course. And what better opportunity to do that than on a cruise ship? I like cruising. Besides outstanding entertainment, impeccable service, interesting ports, activities galore…read more…

 

Posted in addiction, diet, drugs, ethics, food, junk food, lifestyle, moral hazard, obesity, professionalism, statins | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Sly children fool exercise study

Posted by Colin Rose on July 13, 2009

Like alcoholics, junk food addicts will lie to conceal their addiction. All studies of obesity that rely on self-reporting of calorie intake or expenditure are useless.

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From the BBC

Children taking part in a study to measure how much exercise they do fooled researchers by attaching their pedometers to their pet dogs.
About 200 children in east London were given pedometers to automatically count how many steps they walked and ran.


Mile End Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine was surprised by the activity levels recorded in some obese children.
Professor Nicola Maffulli said: “Then we realised they were attaching the pedometers to their dogs’ collars.”
‘Extremely active’
The pilot study in Whitechapel required 11 and 12-year-olds to clip a pedometer to their waists, with researchers at the centre collecting the readings by satellite.
“But after a week we found there were some kids who were extremely active but still obese,” said Professor Maffulli.
It was “not unheard of” for participants in previous studies to manipulate the readings of pedometers, he added.
Once adjusted to take into account the help from pets, the study indicated that boys in the borough walk or run 12,620 steps a day, below the recommended level of 15,000 steps.
It also found that girls take 10,150 steps, falling short of the recommended 12,000 steps.
It indicated that more than a third of 11 and 12-year-olds in the borough of Tower Hamlets are overweight or obese – 11% higher than the national average.
Researchers plan to extend the study to include more children in the borough.

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Obese dying awaiting operations

Posted by Colin Rose on June 3, 2009

Dr Nicholas Christou, a bariatric surgeon, claims that obese people are dying for lack of bariatric surgery. Do you ask a barber if you need a haircut? There is not a single randomized, sham-operated, controlled trial proving that gastric bypass or banding has saved even one life. Morbidly obese people are not dying from lack of bariatric surgery but from junk food addiction . Before the discovery of drugs for reducing stomach acid, many thousands of gastric bypasses were done to treat peptic ulcer disease but they were never associated with major weight loss. But now stomach surgery is touted to be the cure for obesity. If “diet and exercise” don’t work then why do patients after bariatric surgery still have to “stay on their diets”? Quite likely, bariatric surgery “works” only because patients are convinced that they must control their addiction or suffer abdominal pain. Eventually they discover they can eat as before and, if they haven’t mastered their addiction, regain the weight. Before we spend many billions of dollars on this unproven “treatment” a controlled trial is essential.


Obese dying awaiting operations
SHARON KIRKEY CANWEST NEWS SERVICE
The Gazette
03 Jun 2009

Patients in Canada are dying while waiting their turn for obesity surgery, according to new research that says wait times for bariatric surgery are the longest of any surgically treated condition in the country. In 2007, 6,783 patients were waiting…read more…

Posted in addiction, bariatric surgery, diabetes, Type 2, diet, obesity | Leave a Comment »