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Profe Claudio Nieto: The Hypothalamus and Junk Food

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  • Profe Claudio Nieto tells you about the mischief your hypothalamus does with your diet and junk food.
  • Sometimes, sticking to a diet isn’t so straightforward… and the hypothalamus plays a role.
  • Junk food (ultra-processed, fast food) impacts this brain region in certain ways.

Not everyone can adhere to a diet or healthy guidelines based on real food. In many cases, it’s not just a simple whim, but due to the influence of a significant internal factor: the hypothalamus.

This small organ in our brain plays a crucial role in our food choices, and in this article, we’ll explore why.

Our hypothalamus is the result of many years of evolution.

For a lot of the old days, there wasn’t always enough food, and our hypothalamus helped us stay alive.

The Function of the Hypothalamus

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Its main job is to keep us from getting too hungry, and it has ways to know what our body needs.

Before now, we didn’t have phone apps to know food energy, or food experts telling us what to eat, or food stickers saying what’s inside.

People long ago just ate when they felt hungry or full. Groups that eat this way now don’t have problems like being too heavy or heart issues.

The hypothalamus always wanted foods with lots of energy because that helped us stay alive.

Junk Food and the Hypothalamus

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Eating high-calories foods meant more power for daily life.

This mechanism would also explain why foods that taste better often have a higher calorie content.

However, in the modern era, the food industry has used this reward system of the hypothalamus to boost sales.

Ultra-processed foods are designed to stimulate our hypothalamus and produce a strong reward effect.

Food Preferences

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Ingredients such as sugars, sweeteners, salt, refined oils, and preservatives are used to achieve this effect.

A significant issue is that if someone is accustomed to consuming ultra-processed foods from an early age, their hypothalamus gets used to these tastes.

When given real foods like fruits or veggies, their hypothalamus might not want these foods without trying them.

Ultra-processed food, with its mix of ingredients, outdoes real food in terms of brain response.

Healthy Foods

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The answer to this dilemma is simple but effective: prioritize real food. Consume fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, legumes, and eggs instead of ultra-processed foods.

When you eat real food more, your hypothalamus likes these tastes, and you feel good easier. This helps in eating the right way.

The role of the hypothalamus in what we eat is big. Knowing how it works and how food makers use it can help us eat better.

Prioritizing real food and limiting ultra-processed foods is an effective strategy for preventing health issues in the future.

A Balance

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Remember, it’s not about perfection but progress.

You can occasionally indulge in ultra-processed foods, but ensure they make up only a small part of your weekly intake. Your long-term health will thank you.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it with friends and family to spread the message about the importance of healthy eating.

Profe Claudio Nieto wishes you a great day and hopes you enjoy this piece. Until next time!

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