Hungry Neurons Make You Hungry

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You’re not reading a circular definition – cannibalistic cells might be thwarting your diet.
It’s called autophagy (literally “self-eating.”)  By dismantling the precious biochemical building blocks that make up neurons, the body snags a short-term boost of energy, and keeps starvation at bay.  Neuronal autophagy also blasts out a warning to the rest of the brain that glucose is in short supply, and tells it that we’re hungry:

The self-cannibalizing action of the neurons was triggered when the mice were hungry. Immediately following that action, lipids within the so-called agouti-related peptide (AgRP) neurons got moving, which triggered the production of fatty acids. In turn, those fatty acids boosted levels of AgRP, aka the body’s hunger signal.

Unfortunately for dieters, the brain can’t distingush whether this starvation is self-imposed or not.  A research group at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine is digging deeper into how this mechanism works, hoping to determine new ways to treat obesity and diabetes.

Want to keep those hunger pangs at bay until lunchtime? Eggs are not only full of protein; they also lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates that “I’m hungry” feeling.


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