I just watched another documentary on BBC iPlayer called ‘Truth about Fat’ on Horizon.
It’s interesting to know that so much work is being done in this field. Scientists have figured out that telling someone to do more exercise and eat less doesn’t help the individual and telling someone that it’s a question of will power certainly does not help. There is something powerful happening which was overlooked.
Scientists have found out that being obese is not down to character, it is down to hormones. There are two kinds of hormones that seem to control our hunger and our appetite. Ghrelin tells us about our hunger and Leptin tells us about our appetite and being full. This discovery is quite recent.
These hormones seem to control when we get hungry? How hungry we are? How much we should eat? When we eat? And what we eat? For obese people Ghrelin stays at a constant level, which explains why obese people feel hungry all the time. Leptin rises and drops back to a constant level after an obese person has had food. This explains why obese people never feel full. These two hormones were discovered less than 20 years ago. What’s interesting is that these hormones can be changed so that an obese person feels full and does not feel hungry all the time. There are operations in existence that do that. However those operations can only be performed on extreme cases.
Research is being done in this area so that a treatment that is accessible by everyone can be found.
What’s also fascinating is that scientists thought that all that we are i.e. how we live life and how we deal with problems, is totally the work of genes but now cases have shown that indicate that environment also plays a big part in shaping our lives. Experiments have been conducted on identical twins and fraternal twins. Since these twins are only separated by genes, it’s thought-provoking to understand what other difference can be between them. It turns out there are other differences that are caused by environment. It’s possible that a normal person is carrying a gene that could potentially make him/her fat however it depends whether that gene is turned on or not and this switch is controlled by the environment.
Another important discovery mentioned in the documentary was that it was down to the time a person spends in their mother’s womb that decides whether that person will be obese. It is 25% likely that you will be obese if your mother’s diet is un-balanced.
The documentary I watched: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01dzfgb/hd/Horizon_20112012_The_Truth_about_Fat/