The Hungry Brain with Stephan Guyenet, PhD

June 1, 2017

No one wants to overeat. And certainly no one wants to overeat for years, become overweight, and end up with a high risk of diabetes or heart disease– yet two-thirds of Americans do precisely that. In his book The Hungry Brain, Stephan J. Guyenet, PhD argues that the problem is not necessarily a lack of willpower or an incorrect understanding of what to eat. Rather, our appetites and food choices are led astray by ancient, instinctive brain circuits that play by the rules of a survival game that no longer exists. And these circuits don’t care about how you look in a bathing suit next summer.

After earning a BS in biochemistry at the University of Virginia, Stephan pursued a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Washington, then continued doing research as a postdoctoral fellow. He spent a total of 12 years in the neuroscience research world studying neurodegenerative disease and the neuroscience of eating behaviour and obesity. His publications in scientific journals have been cited over 1,400 times by his peers.

Here’s the outline of this interview with Stephan Guyenet:

[00:01:01] Bland Food Cookbook.

[00:01:57] Book: Wired to Eat, Book: The Case Against Sugar.

[00:03:30] Neuroregulation of appetite.

[00:05:04] How the brain makes decisions.

[00:07:30] The Hungry Brain is for everyone.

[00:09:51] How complete is the book?

[00:11:31] Is it compatible with Taubes’s work?

[00:14:38] Book: The Potato Hack.

[00:15:40] Washington Potato Commission Leader Goes On All-Potato Diet.

[00:15:56] Spud Fit guy.

[00:16:40] Podcast with Ellen Langer: How to Think Yourself Younger, Healthier, and Faster.

[00:17:06] Crum, Alia J., and Ellen J. Langer. "Mind-set matters exercise and the placebo effect." Psychological Science 18.2 (2007): 165-171.

[00:19:24] Leptin, CCK, GLP-1.

[00:20:08] Bariatric surgery,

[00:22:36] Food preferences originate in the brain.

[00:24:47] Glucose homoeostasis.

[00:26:22] Steven, Sarah, et al. "Very low-calorie diet and 6 months of weight stability in type 2 diabetes: pathophysiological changes in responders and nonresponders." Diabetes Care 39.5 (2016): 808-815.

[00:27:30] Dopamine: the learning chemical.

[00:27:45] David Silver's Reinforcement Learning course.

[00:33:20] Robert Sapolsky Dopamine Jackpot video.

[00:34:07] Nose poking (optogenetics) experiment.

[00:34:48] Light-activated ion channels.

[00:38:08] Drug addiction

[00:39:18] Book: The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World.

[00:41:50] Prescription for athletes looking to improve their body composition.

[00:42:37] Effort barriers.

[00:44:08] Satiety is generated by the brain based on what's going on in the GI tract.

[00:45:51] Water, fibre, and protein create satiety.

[00:46:13] Palatability.

[00:48:28] First interview: Leptin and Hyperpalatable Foods with Stephan Guyenet.

[00:49:09] Theobromine.

[00:51:22] Book: The Hungry Brain.

[00:51:27] and

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