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The latest research out of the US suggests that dieting cant work because of the hormone cortisol which is released in stressful situations and causes the body to max out on glucose conversion. This is really not that surprising as stress is linked to our fight / flight survival mode which means that when we are in a stressful situation our body is designed to either make a run for it or fight both of which require energy and both of which will stimulate other hormonal responses. The other hormonal responses are a release of adrenalin and insulin. So when you are stressed your body will turn as much food into glucose as quickly as possible so that it is ready for the fight or flight. If you then sit down as we do and tap away on a keyboard the excess glucose, created by the release of cortisol, will then stimulate a release of insulin which will in turn ensure that you create fat. And so it goes on.
Anyone that has read my blogs before will know that I am definitely in the camp that sees insulin as a critical stimulant of our obesity epidemic and that for many people in the UK eating less and doing more simply won’t work.
Accepting that cortisol has a role to play in weight management is a step in the right direction because it shows that the body is far more complex than the silly notion that a body responds simply to calorific intake. The human body has evolved over thousands of years into a very complex unique machine.
In reality cortisol doesn’t stop all diets working but it will stop low calorie diets working because they do not deal with hormonal response. A really smart researcher should have thought about that before they completed the research.

19 April 2010

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