Food - Complications Arise -Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. ––Hippocrates
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Complications Arise

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”



Food, and our relationship to it, has become a complex subject. A growing body of medical literature seeks to understand the science of nutrition, including eating disorders. Conventional wisdom has at times been shown to be incomplete and, quite often, simply incorrect.

One would think that diet alone could not work to change the physiological pathways of the human body, but it appears that food can actually bring about such changes. There’s medical literature, for instance, which describes how a high-fat diet can trigger changes in gut microbiota which in turn can cause reorganization of vagal afferents, disrupting gut-brain vagal communication. Once these pathways are disrupted, the body’s ability to signal fullness and satiety are compromised. “We found that a HFD [high-fat diet] triggered reorganization of vagal afferents…Therefore, HFD driven vagal remodeling may lead to alteration in satiety signaling and overeating.” “Taken together, these results suggest that a HFD weakens neuroprotective signaling and promotes inflammation in the brain feeding centers, which may lead to increased food intake and obesity.”[1]food

Overeating can itself be the result of diet-induced changes to the brain: “For instance, it is well-established that excessive consumption of addictive substances (including hyper-palatable foods) fosters brain alterations that increase the very symptoms which define the disorder, such as compulsive use, strong cravings, and depressive mood during abstinence (Wilhelm et al., 2014Volkow et al., 2016).”[2]

Nor is it necessarily true that overeating invariably occurs in response to a negative emotional state: “Experimental studies do not unequivocally support the assumption that high scores on self-reported emotional eating are predictive of actual increased food intake when feeling negative. Although some studies provide evidence in favor of this view, most research is either in contrast or shows ambiguous results. There is no consistent evidence for increased food intake under emotional circumstances in individuals scoring high on self-reported emotional eating.”[3]

A serious injury involves more than just the part of the body injured. Often complications arise, sometimes years later, that were not known at the time of the initial incident. These future losses can be subtle, often missed. If the medical literature shows how diet alone can alter neuronal pathways and cause alterations of the brain, it’s probably true as well that many aspects of a serious injury, and its long-term effects on the body, remain unknown to this day. Thus, the two questions always to be asked: What has been injured? What will be injured?

[1] Alexandra C. VaughnErin M. CooperPatricia M. DiLorenzoLevi J. O’LoughlinMichael E. Konkel, James H. PetersAndras HajnalTanusree SenSun Hye LeeClaire B. de La SerreKrzysztof Czaja, Energy-dense diet triggers changes in gut microbiota, reorganization of gut-brain vagal communication and increases body fat accumulation, Acta Neurobiol Exp (Wars). 2017; 77(1): 18–30. 

[2] Caroline DavisLaura MackewRobert D. LevitanAllan S. KaplanJacqueline C. Carter, and  James L. Kennedy, Binge Eating Disorder (BED) in Relation to Addictive Behaviors and Personality Risk Factors, Front Psychol. 2017; 8: 579.

[3] Peggy Bongers, Anita Jansen, Emotional Eating Is Not What You Think It Is and Emotional Eating Scales Do Not Measure What You Think They Measure, Front Psychol. 2016; 7: 193

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