Tanycytes – The Real Reason Why You’re Still Starving After Eating 2,147 Empty Calories
An average fast-food meal of a cheeseburger, some fries, and a large soda packs a whopping 2,147 calories into your body. The average caloric need of an adult man or woman is 2,500 calories. Of course, there are exceptions to these numbers, such as nursing women, or men who are doing heavy lifting at the gym, but one would think it impossible to still feel like they’re starving after eating almost all the calories they need in one meal.
This is especially ironic considering that along with the growing problem of obesity, there are still millions of people throughout the world who are starving or underfed. Is it possible there is an odd link between these two seemingly polar opposites?
It also stands to note the Americans are leading the world in obesity. IN states like Tennessee and Utah, even children are obese at rates of 30-35% percent.
The US Department of Agriculture blames this issue on larger portions, and confusing “diet” food for “nutrition,” but that’s a simplistic answer for a government organization with a revolving door between the food industry’s corporations and high-ranking positions within the USDA, itself.
A research team led by Professor Nicholas Dale of the University’s School of Life Sciences, has discovered exactly why Americans are fat but still hungry all the time. Dale’s study will be published in the journal Molecular Metabolism, and in it they explain exactly what’s gone wrong with the Western diet.
Cells called tanycytes, found in the brain, detect specific nutrients in our food, almost from the moment we put it into our mouths. Tanycytes detect nutrients (or the lack thereof) within seconds of us consuming a cheeseburger – or conversely – a piece of broccoli, and tell us whether to continue eating.
Tanycytes respond to the amino acids found in foods using the same receptors on the tongue that detect flavor.
When these special cells react with two amino acids – arginine and lysine – they send messages of fullness and satiety to the brain. These amino acids show up in healthy food, that are chalk-full of nutrients our bodies need, like lentils, figs, dates, nuts, fruit, and whole foods that are high in clean protein.
If the tanycytes don’t detect arginine and lysine, then they basically tell you to go get another pizza out of the freezer, or eat a whole gallon of ice-cream right before bed.
The intelligence of the body is never over-ridden, so in order to get the nutrients we need to survive, our bodies tell us to keep eating. Though we become obese, eventually, the body is hoping all along, that we’ll give it some of the nutrients it desperately needs – and that is why the hormones which control satiety are not released when we eat junk food, and highly processed foods.
It also explains why people who eat massive portions of lettuce, fruits and vegetables, rarely are obese. So, portion size, as the USDA suggests, has nothing to do with this growing epidemic.
And so, the vicious cycle continues. We eat nutritionless food – because we feel like we’re starving – and the body never feels full because what it is really starving for is vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that help it to function – including to feel full and energetic so that we want to get off the sofa and go for a run, or put down that bag of chips and reach for an apple.
This also explains why people who eat clean, healthy food can seemingly subsist on so few calories, and still have abundant energy to tackle life.
This study proves once and for all that isn’t just how many calories you eat, but the kind of calories that matter.