From The Blog

By Jan Wellman • Originally published on Honey Colony

According to a new study from the School of Medical Sciences at Australia’s University of New South Wales, junk food can alter behavior by causing lasting changes in the brain’s reward circuiting, an alteration that triggers obesity.

Although the UNSW study was conducted on rats, the conclusions are likely applicable to humans because all mammals share similarities in the orbitofrontal cortex, which is involved in sensing and evaluating the pleasurable aspects of food. (Notice that we also see more overweight pets these days, too.)

Over time, animals (including humans) have evolved a simple mechanism that protects us from overeating: As we eat a particular food, the pleasure we get from eating it and the desire to eat more diminishes relative to other, uneaten foods. This phenomenon, called “sensory-specific satiety” reinforces the natural inclination to seek out a variety of foods, which promotes a healthy, balanced diet.

With junk food, this “shut-off valve” doesn’t work.

Nutrient-poor junk food, termed the “Cafeteria Diet” in this study, contains fatty acids that are not only associated with mitochondrial dysfunction, weight gain, and tissue inflammation, but also increased activity in the areas of the brain that process motivational control and reward behavior.

In the study, one group of rats were fed standard chow; the other, a diet of cookies, cakes, biscuits, and other junk food, for two weeks. They were then subjected to “Pavlovian conditioning tests” — in this case, a sound cue that informed the rats of the next serving.

Rats on a healthy diet that had already eaten ignored the sound cue, while the rats on junk food continued to the next serving even after being satiated. The junk-food rats lost the natural preference for novelty, an effect that lasted even after the rats returned to a normal diet.

In other words, eating junk food programs your brain to eat more junk.

“As the global obesity epidemic intensifies, advertisements may have a greater effect on people who are overweight and make snacks like chocolate bars harder to resist,” said Dr. Amy Reichelt, lead author of the UNSW study.

“It’s like you’ve just had ice cream for lunch, yet you still go and eat more when you hear the ice cream van come by,” said professor Margaret Morris, another UNSW team member.

The rats on a junk food diet had lost their natural preference for healthy foods, the team added.

Junk Food Mortality by the Numbers

The problem with junk food isn’t just that consuming it begets unnatural overeating; it’s also packed with unhealthful fats, toxic chemicals, hormones, mystery pharmaceuticals, fillers, and gross “natural flavors” like beaver-butt juice. Considering that eating all this garbage is practically like swilling Drano, junk food might be the most efficient depopulation strategy ever devised.

Obesity rates have doubled since 1980. In 2008, 500 million people were clinically obese, with body-mass indices greater than 30, while 1.4 billion were clinically overweight, with BMIs greater than 25. The United States is the epicenter of this crisis, as currently, two out of every three Americans are clinically overweight or obese.

According to the Historical Atlas of the 20th Century, 203 million people died last century from war and oppression; this figure includes everyone who died as both military and collateral civilian casualties from conflicts, genocide, politicide (i.e., the extermination of people who share a political belief), mass murders, and famines. That’s an average of 2 million deaths per annum.

Now consider that the World Health Organization estimates that at least 2.8 million people currently die annually from conditions strongly linked to overweight and obesity, such as coronary heart disease, ischemia (brain stroke), and diabetes.

In other words, fat kills 40 percent more people than wars, famine, dictators, murderers, and politicians put together. So, in effect, even Hitler wasn’t as efficient at committing crimes against humanity as the ole Colonel of KFC fame. The difference is, that jovial southerner in the Kentucky bow tie and his engineered-to-please chicken trick you into asking – and paying – for your own demise.

By Dr. Christopher Connolly, Buzzworthy Blogs

Why do we need to kill insects with pesticide cocktails?

Insecticide. In-secti-cide. Pronounciation: /ɪnˈsektɪsīd/

“A substance used to kill insects”

Well, the human population on Earth has grown in recent times. About 10,000 years ago (Stone Age) there were roughly five to 50 million humans. By AD 1, there were about 200 million, and this doubled to 400 million over the next 500 years. What an alarming growth rate!

But wait. Over the last 500 years, the world population has doubled every 125 years. Today the population is 7.2 billion and growing by 77 million every year.

At the precise time that I write this, there have been 281,150 births and only 116,006 deaths. Which means, another 165,144 mouths to feed, and it’s only 5:44 p.m.! Go and have a look for yourself and watch the population grow before your eyes.

It’s not just the size of the population, but also the size of the individual. Humans are much taller (and wider!) than they used to be. Such a huge appetite requires matching food reserves. With increasing demand comes the need to use more and more of the planet for food production, and this need also competes with our need to grow biofuels that move us – and food – around the planet.

Craig Watts runs a Perdue chicken farm in North Carolina. He raises about 720,000 chickens each year for Perdue.

The company’s chairman, Jim Perdue, says that: “Doing the right thing is things like treating your chickens humanely… and raising them cage free.” The company’s chicken packages even carry a seal from the US Department of Agriculture with verification that the birds were raised “cage free”.

With ever more consumers of animal products wanting to be assured that the animals live decent lives, Perdue wants to be perceived as being on the side of the animals.

But after 22 years of raising chickens for Perdue, Craig Watts grew increasingly uncomfortable with what goes on behind closed doors, and he decided to show the world what was really going on.