Research has clearly established a relationship between neurotoxins such as MSG, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and sweeteners Splenda and NutraSweet and the current epidemic of obesity. I believe that there is also a relationship between these neurotoxins and the proliferation of eating disorders in the US. For example, research has shown that patients suffering from Anorexia as well as those who are obese, suffer from a condition called leptin resistance.1 ,2 Further, this condition appears to be a function of the type and amount of neurotoxin ingested. In my practice, when I have helped those suffering from Anorexia, Bulimia, and Bulimarexia and obesity eliminate such neurotoxins from their re-feeding regimens, recovery time has shortened and the likelihood of relapse has decreased significantly. (I am in the process of publishing these anecdotal results and have also applied for several grants to research this relationship experimentally in greater depth.)
Treatment of obesity and eating disorders is negatively impacted for the uninformed treating professional i.e. re-feeding is a nightmare for those suffering from Anorexia, Bulimia, Bulimarexia, Binge Eating Disorder and Obesity when the role of these neurotoxins is not taken into consideration. Thus, to the degree that their impact on the eating habits of individuals suffering from ED’s and obesity is not understood, or worse, ignored, treatment is less likely to succeed, and in many cases, more likely to make the problem worse. For help on refeeding contact me directly. Also check out all of the blog articles on this site. 3
For the past 40 years food additives, known to have neurotoxic effects, especially in children, have been added to the American food supply because they were profitable. These additives include MSG, sweeteners Aspartame and Aceulfame, (Splenda and NutraSweet) growth-enhancing hormones, and pesticides that are incorporated into the DNA of crops like soybeans. The amount of these neurotoxins added to our food has increased enormously since their introduction. For example, since 1948 the amount of MSG doubled every decade. By 1972 over 262,000 metric tons were being added. (Whetsell, 1993) Today it is impossible to determine the actual amounts of the various neurotoxins that are added to the U.S. food supply, as the additives are effectively unregulated by the FDA or any other regulatory agency. As a result, they can be added in ways which make them difficult, if not impossible, to quantify.
Besides being difficult to quantify, the additives are very difficult for the average consumer to identify, as they can be called such innocuous names as “citric acid” “malted barley” and “natural flavoring”! Even for individuals who are well-informed, and therefore know what to look for, it is still a daunting task to try and avoid them. Presently, they are in 90 to 95% of all packaged, bottled, and/or processed foods, including organic and/or foods that are marketed as “healthier” choices.
Perhaps the most alarming issue is that food manufacturers target children’s foods for inclusion of these additives. In the U.S. to day, 1 in 3 children are obese. Many will remain that way for life. We are one of the only countries in the world to have children who suffer from Type II Diabetes, which heretofore has been a disorder of middle adulthood. The connection between childhood obesity and an eating disorder such as Anorexia, for example, is that a history of premorbid obesity increases the risk of the development and decreases the likelihood of recovery from the disorder.
1 J Lab Clin Med. 2002 Feb;139(2):72-9.Leptin in anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa: importance of assay technique and method of interpretation.
2 Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental [1997, 46(12):1384-9]Neuropeptide Y, galanin, and leptin release in obese women and in women with anorexia nervosa.
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