This week’s article was about insulin and leptin signalling in the human body. Signals from our fat tissues, or adipose, release insulin which tells our bodies to decrease food intake. Therefore, if we have less fat tissue, we will have less insulin signalling and increased food intake, and if we have more fat tissue, insulin will be released and food intake will decrease. Leptin is a similar adiposity signal. Mutations in the expression of leptin have been linked to morbid obesity.
For me, this was one of the first times that I have taken an in-depth look at the mechanisms surrounding food intake and weight gain. I have previously learned that obesity can have strong genetic links, and often it isn’t a person’s conscious decision to become obese. But learning of these intricate systems and how one little alteration can lead to increased food intake and obesity, has given me a better understanding. There are opinions out there that obesity isn’t a disease, that it is solely a person’s choice to not take care of their body that leads them to becoming obese. There is also the opinion that obesity is a disease. I have come to agree with the later of these opinions. If there is something that changes inside a person chemically that causes a chain reaction of events to occur, that is through little fault of the individual. Many of the foods that are being made today contain ingredients that can throw these insulin and leptin signals off. It is kind of like the issue of alcoholism as a disease. Yes, the first initial few drinks are conscious choices of the individual. But after that, it has been shown that physiological and chemical changes in the brain occur, making the taking of a drink beyond simple choice. I think the issue of obesity in some cases can be similar to this if changes in the leptin and insulin signalling are changed by the diets of those who are obese.