100 lb. Club - Food Addiction study, SO INTERESTING!




lottie63
12-23-2010, 08:58 PM
this is from the article:


Question 4: Do these fat rats continue to overeat even in the presence of punishment?

This is an important question to ask to make this work really relevant to the way that humans binge eat. To do this, you give a rat access to the high fat food, but you add in a painful foot shock (not one that causes damage, just short and painful). You pair the foot shock with a light. The rat will learn that the light means shock and will (presumably) stop eating. Sure enough, when the light came on, the chow rats and snack rats stopped eating. The fat rats, however, DIDN'T. Their food intake wasn't sensitive to punishment anymore, something which may indicate that they will continue to overeat even though it's bad for them. This ALSO worked when they tried it with the rats that had artificially knocked down D2 receptors, they also just kept on eating, showing that the decreased D2 receptors may have something to do with the way the rats were responding for food.

Here's a link to whole article: http://scienceblogs.com/neurotopia/2010/03/dopamine_and_obesity_the_food.php


Trazey34
12-23-2010, 11:43 PM
hmmmm interesting! I like to think, however, that as a sentient being I have more control over my life than a lab rat. I can choose to undergo behaviour changing therapy, take medication, etc., there's a reason we have thumbs ;) I'd just hate for someone to throw their hands up in the air and say "see, I'm addicted to food, I have to stay fat forever" because that simply isn't true!

Nola Celeste
12-23-2010, 11:44 PM
Thank you for that link; that was fascinating! So were the comments. Who knew that the fat rats' food of choice was Crisco? :D

It's interesting that punishment was ineffective on the fat rats, but I'm surprised that the "binge" rats--the ones who had limited access to calorie-dense treat foods--responded to the shocks like the "chow" rats instead of continuing to eat regardless of punishment.

As for the comparisons to drug addictions in both article and comments--well, all I can say is that I only had to quit smoking once, but have to quit eating five or six times a day, every day. Smoking is nicely binary--you either smoke or don't smoke, either do an unhealthy thing or don't do it. Eating isn't like that at all.

In a way, then, it's kind of depressing to think that dopamine receptors in overeaters' brains may be thinned out as in the brains of people addicted to drugs. It's easier to cage the tiger and let him rage than it is to train him to walk nicely on his leash multiple times daily.


lottie63
12-24-2010, 12:35 AM
hmmmm interesting! I like to think, however, that as a sentient being I have more control over my life than a lab rat. I can choose to undergo behaviour changing therapy, take medication, etc., there's a reason we have thumbs ;) I'd just hate for someone to throw their hands up in the air and say "see, I'm addicted to food, I have to stay fat forever" because that simply isn't true!

I must say I disagree with this.

The study wasn't studying whether we have the option to change, it was studying a chemical reaction that is born of indulgence in addictive behavior.

Also, the comparison you are making also makes it sound as if all drug addicts must think "See, I"m addicted to drugs, I have to stay on them forever!" and I don't think any of us assume that ACKNOWLEDGING that drug addiction exists, makes anyone think it isn't a behavior that can be changed.

Also, we do have the ability to seek help, etc. But the fact remains that 5% of alcoholics (either in AA or not) get and stay clean, and 5% of people lose weight and keep it off for 5+ years. I think that regardless of our thumbs, there is a biological imperative at work here. I do not think that means don't try, I just think that not acknowledging that there are other things going on creates an atmosphere that is not conducive to improving your self worth when you think WHY HAVE I DONE THIS SO MANY TIMES AND KEEP ENDING UP AT SQUARE ONE!? When you are obese, chances are good that it's something other than the fact that donuts are tasty. Most people think they are tasty, most people do not get to be 100+ lbs overweight.

I also think that if a person approaches weight loss from the perspective of addiction (if that truly is your problem, and I think it can be pretty clear if it is or not) it may help. I know I've been helped. It adds another dimension of understanding and it's easier to fix something if you know what the problem is.

katkitten
12-24-2010, 12:39 AM
I would be curious to know whether the quantity of D2 receptors can increase over a period of abstinence from binge eating. ie: are the fat rats doomed to never be satisfied by a normal amount of food?

lottie63
12-24-2010, 12:47 AM
Thank you for that link; that was fascinating! So were the comments. Who knew that the fat rats' food of choice was Crisco? :D

It's interesting that punishment was ineffective on the fat rats, but I'm surprised that the "binge" rats--the ones who had limited access to calorie-dense treat foods--responded to the shocks like the "chow" rats instead of continuing to eat regardless of punishment.

As for the comparisons to drug addictions in both article and comments--well, all I can say is that I only had to quit smoking once, but have to quit eating five or six times a day, every day. Smoking is nicely binary--you either smoke or don't smoke, either do an unhealthy thing or don't do it. Eating isn't like that at all.

In a way, then, it's kind of depressing to think that dopamine receptors in overeaters' brains may be thinned out as in the brains of people addicted to drugs. It's easier to cage the tiger and let him rage than it is to train him to walk nicely on his leash multiple times daily.


It's not surprising to me that the snacker rats responded that way at all. For example, my sister is thin (125 lbs), she has never been overweight. Actually, this is her high weight and she's trying to get back to 115. Anyhow, the point being, she eats junk food pretty often, but she never feels the need to overindulge the way say...I do. even though she is also somewhat of an emotional eater. She doesn't binge, and I think it's the binging that alters the chemicals, the overexposure, that the snacker rats didn't have.

as far as smoking goes, I think you're in the minority with the quitting once thing. It certainly doesn't seem to be true for most. Also, someone on here pointed out to me that we do need to eat but we don't need to eat unhealthy triggery foods. The point they were making was, "no one binges on lettuce". Which is pretty spot on. I think we can entirely avoid foods that are a problem for us. But people feel entitled and deprived I guess.

lottie63
12-24-2010, 12:48 AM
I would be curious to know whether the quantity of D2 receptors can increase over a period of abstinence from binge eating. ie: are the fat rats doomed to never be satisfied by a normal amount of food?

I would like to know this as well seeing as how drug addiction is regarded as if you're an addict you're an addict and 'just a taste' is never enough.

but that isn't true of all addicts, but probably enough of them that the medical community regards it that way.

Trazey34
12-24-2010, 01:54 AM
I must say I disagree with this.

The study wasn't studying whether we have the option to change, it was studying a chemical reaction that is born of indulgence in addictive behavior.

Also, the comparison you are making also makes it sound as if all drug addicts must think "See, I"m addicted to drugs, I have to stay on them forever!" and I don't think any of us assume that ACKNOWLEDGING that drug addiction exists, makes anyone think it isn't a behavior that can be changed.

.

actually, I said that I'd "hate" to see someone throw up their hands and say "i'm addicted, i'm fat, that's the reason" as in, i have no responsibilities for any of it because I'm wired that way - when i was over 300 pounds believe me I was looking for ANY excuse for it to NOT be my fault, all I was referring to is that I would hate for anyone to give up so easily just because a study says it's our fat gene

Eliana
12-24-2010, 08:43 AM
hmmmm interesting! I like to think, however, that as a sentient being I have more control over my life than a lab rat. I can choose to undergo behaviour changing therapy, take medication, etc., there's a reason we have thumbs ;) I'd just hate for someone to throw their hands up in the air and say "see, I'm addicted to food, I have to stay fat forever" because that simply isn't true!

Personally, I think this was very well stated. I can "acknowledge" the interesting fact about the lab rats while still hating to see a person throw up their hands and give up. That's all this is saying.

I think it's important to go into weight loss fully armed with knowledge, knowing exactly which streams we are going to have to swim against. But not all people are wired that way. All over 3FC you will see people latch onto this or that theory whether it fits their situation or not! A perfect, and frequent, example is that of increasing calories for weight loss. Is it right for some people? Absolutely. Is right everyone? Definitely not. Some people need to decrease their calories. But as soon as a thread goes up about increasing their calories, you have so many people jumping board saying "I need to do that." Or taking an exercise break?

Basically when it comes to weight loss, what is true for one is rarely true for all.

For instance, I was morbidly obese at my start. (Ignore my height...I started this journey a full inch shorter!) And yet, I do not consider myself addicted to food. I'd have failed that rat study. If I suffer an ill effect from food, I develop an aversion to that food pretty readily, actually. I struggle with sugar cravings like most people do but not to the point I would an addiction. I got fat because I didn't know what a portion was, period.

katkitten
12-24-2010, 02:51 PM
Pathetically enough, I do see an equivalent to the fat rats continuing to eat in spite of punishment in my own eating patterns. When I am in the midst of a binge, I will ignore nausea and stomach pain just to try to cram more food in. Gross I know but true. tmi?

kaplods
12-25-2010, 04:29 AM
I think cognition gives us an advantage, but biology is difficult to fight. For me, understanding the biology actually gives me more ammunition TO fight, and I think that's true for most peo0le "Knowledge is power."

I don't say "oh it's hopeless, because it's physiological," and I don't think most people do. Instead, understanding the physiology puts the problem in perspective. Knowing that it's going to be difficult, actually makes the fight easier.

It's as if someone gave you a musical instrument. If after three months of practicing, you suck are you going to give up? Doesn't your answer depend at least a little on your expectations. If you were told that most people learn to play beautifully in a week, and you still such after three months, you're likely to decide the instrument just isn't for you. But if you were told that it takes years of practice to be good, wouldn't you stick with it longer?


For me, my ignorance of weight loss's difficulty made me give up easier. I thought that mastering weight loss was easy, so I thought I was particularly lazy, crazy, or stupid for finding it so difficult.

The more I learned about the physiology and psychology of weight loss, the more difficult I realized weight loss is. That didn't inspire me to throw my hands in the air and give up. Quite the reverse. By understanding and appreciating the difficulty, the more effort I was able and willing to put in.

Tell me something is hard, and I don't decide not to do it, I put in the work. The problem with weight loss was that everyone was always telling me how easy it was if I "jut put my mind to it." So I felt like a complete idiot and failure when I worked so hard and got so little result.

I never quit because I was failing, I quit because I felt like I was failing (when I was actually succeeding, just not at the rate I thought I should be).

Understanding that it's going to be hard, I think gives people an advantage. When you know it's hard from the start, you don't get as frustrated as you would if you assumed it would, should, or could be easy.

Also, while people can think and self-control behavior to a greater degree than a rat - if we allow autopilot to take over, we're not going to act much differently. The rat studies don't tell me that I'm no different than a rat, but they do suggest to me what my default/autopilot reactions might be. If I don't pay attention to what I'm doing or what I'm eating, I'm going to act just like the rat. Biology is going to trump behavior every time IF (and it's a very big if) I don't pay very close attention to the behavior.

How many people here have said "why do I keep making the same mistakes over and over and over again - am I an idiot?"

And the answer isn't usually "yes." Rather, more often in my experience, these are situations in which autopilot was engaged. And while we have a more complex brain and higher-level mental abilities than a rat - we have to use them for it to be an advantage.



If you're not consciously attending to your food choices, the advantage you have over the rat is gone.

lottie63
12-25-2010, 03:17 PM
I think cognition gives us an advantage, but biology is difficult to fight. For me, understanding the biology actually gives me more ammunition TO fight, and I think that's true for most peo0le "Knowledge is power."

I don't say "oh it's hopeless, because it's physiological," and I don't think most people do. Instead, understanding the physiology puts the problem in perspective. Knowing that it's going to be difficult, actually makes the fight easier.

It's as if someone gave you a musical instrument. If after three months of practicing, you suck are you going to give up? Doesn't your answer depend at least a little on your expectations. If you were told that most people learn to play beautifully in a week, and you still such after three months, you're likely to decide the instrument just isn't for you. But if you were told that it takes years of practice to be good, wouldn't you stick with it longer?


For me, my ignorance of weight loss's difficulty made me give up easier. I thought that mastering weight loss was easy, so I thought I was particularly lazy, crazy, or stupid for finding it so difficult.

The more I learned about the physiology and psychology of weight loss, the more difficult I realized weight loss is. That didn't inspire me to throw my hands in the air and give up. Quite the reverse. By understanding and appreciating the difficulty, the more effort I was able and willing to put in.

Tell me something is hard, and I don't decide not to do it, I put in the work. The problem with weight loss was that everyone was always telling me how easy it was if I "jut put my mind to it." So I felt like a complete idiot and failure when I worked so hard and got so little result.

I never quit because I was failing, I quit because I felt like I was failing (when I was actually succeeding, just not at the rate I thought I should be).

Understanding that it's going to be hard, I think gives people an advantage. When you know it's hard from the start, you don't get as frustrated as you would if you assumed it would, should, or could be easy.

Also, while people can think and self-control behavior to a greater degree than a rat - if we allow autopilot to take over, we're not going to act much differently. The rat studies don't tell me that I'm no different than a rat, but they do suggest to me what my default/autopilot reactions might be. If I don't pay attention to what I'm doing or what I'm eating, I'm going to act just like the rat. Biology is going to trump behavior every time IF (and it's a very big if) I don't pay very close attention to the behavior.

How many people here have said "why do I keep making the same mistakes over and over and over again - am I an idiot?"

And the answer isn't usually "yes." Rather, more often in my experience, these are situations in which autopilot was engaged. And while we have a more complex brain and higher-level mental abilities than a rat - we have to use them for it to be an advantage.



If you're not consciously attending to your food choices, the advantage you have over the rat is gone.

I totally agree with this.

susiemartin
12-25-2010, 09:42 PM
After what I've been doing to myself this Christmas season the rats got nothing on me :D
I've been going at it non stop. I've literally made myself sick from too much food.