Sunday Smorgasbord

Despite the almost complete lack of new ED research published this week, I have assembled a few scrumptuous morsels for this week's Smorgasbord. It even includes video segments, so sit back, make sure your speakers are on, and enjoy.

Fake Sugar May Alter How the Body Handles Real Sugar

A new study in the journal Diabetes Care, titled "Ingestion of Diet Soda Before a Glucose Load Augments Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Secretion." Translated from medical-ese, Reuters summarized the findings as follows:

Combining artificial sweeteners with the real thing boosts the stomach's secretion of a hormone that makes people feel full and helps control blood sugar, new research shows.

It's unknown whether this means anything for people's health, but "in light of the large number of individuals using artificial sweeteners on a daily basis, it appears essential to carefully investigate the associated effects on metabolism and weight," conclude Dr. Rebecca J. Brown and colleagues from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Because artificial sweeteners are virtually carbohydrate-free, they have been thought not to have any effect on how the body handles glucose (sugar), the researchers explain.

But there's some evidence that artificial sweeteners may trigger secretion of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). GLP-1 is released from the digestive tract when a person eats as a "fullness" signal to the brain, curbing appetite and calorie intake.

Interesting, I think, as I sip my Diet Coke. What effect, if any, that artificial sweeteners have in promoting fullness with minimal calories in people with eating disorders, isn't known. I usually went after any calorie-free fluid that also had caffeine (for energy). This meant I drank a lot of diet soda and black coffee. I've cut way back on my diet soda intake (1-2 cans per day), and I now drink my coffee with milk and sugar. Still, I'd be curious to see if/how this translates to eating disorders.

Engineering Food with Aromas that Make Us Feel Full

From Popular Science:

Usually the enticing smell of food is associated with hunger pangs, but researchers in the Netherlands think that foods can be engineered to release satiating aromas during chewing. This would help combat obesity by stimulating areas of the brain that signal fullness. In a paper published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the researchers outline how food products could be tailored to release a higher quality -- or a higher quantity -- of aromatic food molecules, thus discouraging overeating.

...The science works like so: When you eat, certain molecules break free from the food as you chew, working their way up to your nasal cavity and to your olfactory sensors. From there, they've been shown to stimulate certain areas of the brain connected with satiety, or the feeling of fullness. The problem is, like many processes in the brain, the feeling is based on perception, and that varies from person to person.

**Full Disclosure: I used to work for the American Chemical Society, which publishes the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.**

Which is both bizarre and fascinating. I think it just goes to show how complex our senses of taste, hunger, and satiety really are.

Now for the entertainment section of the smorgasbord:

1960s British Educational Film on Childhood Obesity called "Cruel Kindness."

Aside from the accent and listening to the narrator pronounce "vitamins," British-style, what the films really captured was how little obesity propoganda has changed over the years. How all fat kids do is eat too many sweets, watch too much TV, and shame on the fat parents for producing fat children! The video is in three parts from the Wellcome Trust Film Archives:

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Disordered eating could be affecting ten to fifteen percent of women

Although this study, titled "Eating-disorder symptoms and syndromes in a sample of urban-dwelling Canadian women: Contributions toward a population health perspective," was initially published in 2008, it received some renewed coverage this week. A Canadian research group interviewed 1501 women by phone and asked them about binge eating, purging, and dieting behaviors. The results showed that:

Weighted frequency analysis showed the prevalence of frequent binge-eating to be 4.1%, that of regular purging to be 1.1%, and that of frequent compensation to be 8.7%. Although we found none of the women to meet full criteria for anorexia nervosa, 0.6% met criteria for bulimia nervosa, 3.8% provisional criteria for binge eating disorder, and 0.6% criteria for a newly proposed entity, purging disorder. As many as 14.9% fell into a residual category representing subthreshold, but potentially problematic variants of eating disturbances. Logistic regression analyses showed that clinical-level maladaptive eating attitudes and behaviors predicted self-rated physical- and mental-health problems after sociodemographic factors were controlled.

This population-based survey provides prevalence estimates of BN, BED, and purging disorder that are compatible with those of recent epidemiological studies and shows that maladaptive eating attitudes and behaviors represent a substantial population burden.

Thus concludes this week's smorgasbord. I hope you all enjoyed!

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I Hate to Weight said...

i've recently given up diet soda and caffeine. instead, i'm drinking water and herbal things and sometimes, decaf coffee. i do feel less full. i do miss real coffee.

what a video! yes, attitudes are still pretty much the same. and it's still, blame the mother.

Cathy (UK) said...

I just love those old, British, well-meaning Public Information films...

Being an 'old fart' (born latter end of 1965) I recall those films so well on TV. I think I asked my mother as a 3-year old "Why do those people speak so funny?" My mother's reply: "because they had elocution lessons dear". Few people in Britain (except for the Royal Family) speak like that nowadays in England. We have a variety of wonderful accents...

fighting_forever said...

At least in the video they measured the boy's body fat! These days, it's all BMI which is utterly useless as a measurement for individuals.

"To cure a fat child?" I wasn't sure whether to be amused or appalled by that phrase.

And as for the ascertion that it's simple - if it was that simple, no one would ever be overweight!

Carrie Arnold said...

I do love the range of British accents- I got called "love" by a charming young chap (grin) while waiting in line at the JFK airport in New York City, and I just about melted. :)

I remember the sex ed filmstrips from the late 80s/early 90s that were hilarious and outdated even then!

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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