An Essay About Obesity
How Metabolic Rate Changes With Caloric Intake
The processing of food is a choreographed dance between the hormones and peptides of appetite and satiation; brain and digestive organs, and the neural communication pathways that conduct the messages between the two. Essentially, there are two phases of metabolic activity: Hunger (defined as “the internal impulse for food seeking”) and satiation (defined as “the feeling of fullness or satiation”) (Breedlove, Watson & Rosenzweig, 2010, p 400). These two phases are mediated by numerous factors. Particularly, as the hypothalamus detects the input of glucose after the ingestion of food, it begins to shut down the appetite via hormone activity in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), also known as the ‘satiety center’ of the brain. In the bigger picture, over the course of many hunger-satiation cycles the body gathers and stores calories as adipose (fat) unless they are used and converted to energy used in maintaining homeostasis, gathering, preparing and digesting food, muscular activity and neural activity, increasing the Body Mass Index (BMI) as adipose cells are created. Based on the evolutionary need to maintain enough energy stored in the cells when food was scarce, when calories (food) is not forthcoming, the body lowers metabolic activity to continue storing a reserve of energy. This has two indications for treating weight gain or loss. In the case of overweight/obesity the metabolism lowers as a result of dieting (reduction of calories) making weight loss more difficult as the dieter must adjust for lower metabolic rates. In the case of anorexia, the lowering of metabolism and even the shutting down of essential organ systems is the body’s last-ditch attempt at conserving energy until the ingestion of food (Breedlove, Watson & Rosenzweig, 2010). In essence the shutting down of vital organ activity is the body’s means of dialing ‘9-1-1’ for the input of more calories and nutrition....
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