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Sheryl Kraft

Sheryl Kraft, a freelance writer and breast cancer survivor, was born in Long Beach, New York. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband Alan and dog Chloe, where her nest is empty of her two sons Jonathan. Sheryl writes articles and essays on breast cancer and contributes to a variety of publications and websites where she writes on general health and wellness issues. She earned her MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.

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Midlife Minute: Fatty Foods and Marijuana

Midlife Minute: Fatty Foods and Marijuana

Nutrition & Movement

What's the connection? I'll tell you in a minute. It's not what you might be thinking (probably that smoking marijuana makes you hungrier, right?). No, it's a lot more interesting than that—at least I think it is. Kind of explains why it's hard to resist fatty foods.

Recently, a new study found that eating more potato chips and French fries leads to a bigger weight gain over the years than eating other foods. I didn't bother writing about it, because I thought it was rather obvious, no?

But what wasn't so obvious is why people can't stop at just one potato chip or French fry or other fatty food.

That's obvious too, you may be thinking. It's because they taste so good. That may be part of it, but I just read about an actual study to try to get to the bottom of it and see why we're oftentimes rendered defenseless and driven to gluttony.

Turns out that when rats in this study were given something fatty, cells in their upper gut started producing substances called endocannabinoids—which were not produced when they ate sugars and proteins. Endocannabinoids are natural marijuana-like chemicals in the body.

From EurekAlert: "The process starts on the tongue, where fats in food generate a signal that travels first to the brain and then through a nerve bundle called the vagus to the intestines. There, the signal stimulates the production of endocannabinoids, which initiates a surge in cell signaling that prompts the wanton intake of fatty foods … probably by initiating the release of digestive chemicals linked to hunger and satiety that compel us to eat more."

No wonder willpower is such a tough thing to garner when faced with certain foods. Do you feel taunted and helpless against certain "bad" foods?

It may start with just a bite, but deep inside your body wicked forces are at work.

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