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  • Telling people to eat less and exercise more does not work notes Robert Lustig, MD

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    Monday, June 11, 2012 2:50 pm Email this article
    “The one thing that we know, categorically, that can mitigate metabolic diseases is reduction in calories,“ notes Robert Lustig, MD, pediatric endocrinoligist from the University of California, San Francisco in the 7-part video series called “The Skinny on Obesity” (Episode 3).

    "That's why your doctor says, 'Eat less, exercise more,'... the problem is, it can't be done," says Lustig.

    "It's not doable. There are reasons, biochemical reasons, why it's not doable that have to do with new hormones that have just been discovered."


    Leptin is a hormone from fat cells to tell the brain you’ve had enough and can burn calories at a normal rate

    “Leptin is a hormone that goes from your fat cells to your brain, and tells your brain you’ve had enough, and that you can burn energy at a normal rate, and feel good about it.”

    Leptin Resistance

    People with obesity have leptin resistance

    “[With] obesity, you have high levels of leptin because you have lots of fat.”

    “It limits what you eat, and it lets you exercise, spontaneously, because you want to.”

    “But if leptin were doing it’s job, you wouldn’t be obese… Clearly the leptin is not doing its job.”

    “We call that leptin resistance.”

    “And discovering the cause of leptin resistance is the holy grail of obesity research.”

    “How come leptin used to work 30 years ago, but doesn’t work today?”

    Excess Insulin Causes Leptin Resistance

    Lustig’s research as found that elevated levels of insulin causes leptin resistance

    “Our research has found some very significant findings [as to the cause of leptin resistance]... insulin.”

    Lustig explains that high levels of insulin, caused by eating “the industrial, global diet” which includes too much sugar, causes the body to store more calories as body fat, which starves muscles cells, and makes you feel tired and hungry, and therefore you eat more to compensate for this, leading to weight gain.

    Insulin Blocks Leptin in the Brain

    Insulin blocks leptin in the brain causing leptin resistance

    He notes that they have found that insulin blocks leptin in the brain.

    The Vicious Cycle

    The Vicious Cycle of excess insulin leading to leptin resistance, leading to an increase in hunger and weight gain

    So, as Lustig explains, when we eat the modern American diet and consume lots of sugar-laden foods, the higher your insulin levels go which blocks leptin in the brain, the more food your store, the hungrier you get, and the fatter you become.


    Robert Lustig, MD. The The Skinny on Obesity, Episode 3.
    UCTV Prime: The Skinny on Obesity

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