Do you know people that just cannot kick their habit for fatty foods, simple sugars, or junk food? Maybe they’re just overweight, or headed for obesity, even diabetes, but they just cannot stop killing their happiness with every bite they take.
Here was a man that was really funny, super successful in movies and television, a life many people would LOVE. But he died at an early 33 years old. He was seeking help with obesity and drug addiction. And it’s important to know that a key reason for drug addiction: low dopamine levels. In other words, the person is seeing pleasure, any kind of happiness, because they can’t feel it.
Again, science to the rescue for understanding why… the more we eat fatty foods the less happy people become… and the more they try to eat to regain some happiness. It’s a vicious cycle. TIME magazine has an article you can read to understand the research in Nature Neuroscience journal.
What researchers found is that when rats, whose brains & body are similar to tiny humans, ate high-fat foods, their dopamine receptors stopped working. That means, dopamine wasn’t working for them, they had trouble experience pleasure. The rats began to only get pleasure from the fatty foods and nothing else. They would continue to go for the fatty foods even if doing so would cause a small shock, rather than eat their regular healthy diet high in proteins.
Why is this important to you? Because you’re not a rat! You have a higher brain, the cortex, so you can make decisions and LEARN new behaviors that improve your survival. You can use pain to work for you, instead of continuing the shocks to your brain with each bite. First, by realizing that every time you or your friend eat high-fat foods, each bite is killing your ability to feel pleasure, to enjoy life at all. Yes, in the moment of that bite, the palate feels a little pleasure, but being able to LOOK FORWARD TO (dopamine) anything just got cut off.
It’s mostly about conditioning. After years of bites of fatty foods, high-glycemic foods, the receptors have been blocked. BUT, every time you eat a healthy food instead, you’re helping those little dopamine receptors in your brain and in your body. Yes, there are receptors throughout your body. It takes time, but so did eating those fats. Of course, one of the most powerful ways to be successful is by ASKING FOR HELP! Go to a nutritionist, ask your spouse to help you, ask your friends, get a coach, whatever it takes. You deserve to he happy and life is a team sport!