It’s Not Just the Food, Stupid!

6 07 2010

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The issues between what we eat and what we are not quite as straightforward as Brillat-Savarin would have you believe (he of “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are” fame). We discussed at various times the many factors that interact and result in each of us in our individual body habitus and glory. The latest data I came upon was very revealing. It indicated that a lack of sleep, from whatever cause may contribute more to obesity than what and how much we eat. The hypothesis is that there are key hormones that are involved. I find this particularly fascinating from an anecdotal point of view. I see some very obese patients with a fat distribution one would expect from simple overconsumption; they are fat everywhere. Very often, they do not have significant cardiovascular problems. They often have joint problems, are short of breath with limited endurance but otherwise remarkably well except for the very extremes. Then there are patients that I see who are overweight or borderline obese (as is 67% of this country). Their fat distribution mimics what we see with steroid induced weight gain. That is they have central type obesity. The bellies are fat, but there is not an equal distribution of fat in the extremities for example. They often have diabetes and cardiovascular problems. So as a recap without delving too much into the individual data here’s my summary; what you eat matters but equally important is:

  • What is added, or not, to what you eat
  • How much you eat over how much time
  • How the food is prepared
  • How (over) processed the food is
  • Exercise-got any?
  • Sleep-got any?
  • Hormones (and I’m not referring to Lindsay Lohan complaining about no private jet availability to get her from Cannes to her LA court date)
  • Medications
  • Stress-got too much?

In conclusion, there is a lot more involved in our well being than just what we put down the pie holes. The good news is that gives us more control over some things, and more leeway to enjoy tasty bits.




11 responses

6 07 2010
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6 07 2010

You know even though I am trained in nutrition- I just did not get this until it happened to me, and the sleep part is true. Until I began working out hard, cut back on drinking during the week, and going to bed at the same time each night, my sleep improved, so I feel more like working out and eat better. Why? Because I do not feel like crap, I am still tired at times, but I have always been that way, and gave up caffeine years ago. Now I run on pure m’E

Thanks for this info Doc!

Chef E

6 07 2010

anecdotal “pint” of view – is that subliminal persuasion or what?

6 07 2010

its certainly a complicated and often emotional issue for folks

6 07 2010

@C&C: It is indeed!
@DB: Freudian slip-I’m the one that needs a pint
@PIW: We all have those little demons-Fleetwood Mac song I think?

7 07 2010

Ha! Laughed out loud at your Lindsay Lohan quip…

7 07 2010

@Koek: But your ravioli without knickers is the king of quips!
@Suse: It will keep seveveral weeks to a month or so. But once you start using it it won’t last that long!

10 07 2010
Cajun Chef Ryan

You know, I have had trouble sleeping most nights this week and I find that I am hungry and eating more, there really seems to be a correlation between a good night’s sleep and how we eat and digest our food!

And, Brillat-Savarin was way ahead of his time!

Bon appetit!

10 07 2010

@Chef Ryan: I would notice it after having been on call and up all night, especially craving fatty foods. It’s all a very complex equation.

19 07 2010

Maybe Brillat-Savarin was referring to the Briggs-Meyers personality analysis; I agree that lack of sleep brings in more stress, bad eating (more) to compensate and get more energy through food; nice that you have an ongoing supply of subjects to observe and draw preliminary conclusions from.

19 07 2010

@Joumana: Well said!!!
@PUW: Guess that’s why your hubby is your sweetie!

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