As Murphy (the narc) says in “Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke” (1978): “Ingestion of marijuana from smoking invariably produces not only severe hunger pains, but ... [a] portentous appetite ... manifesting itself in a total uncontrollable frenzy of eating quite a lot.”
Well, research now shows that the typical high-fat, sugar-packed American diet creates similar impulses by overstimulating your body’s endocannabinoid system. This system is needed for appetite regulation (and other stuff), and it’s made up of lipid-signaling molecules called endocannabinoids that essentially are the body’s natural cannabis. In fact, these molecules activate the same receptors in your brain and body that THC, the active component of marijuana, does.
According to the study in Physiology & Behavior, mice fed a typical American diet, loaded with fat and sugar, ate larger meals, took in more calories and did so more rapidly than mice fed a low-fat, low-sugar diet. But don’t take the mice’s word for it.
One medication that blocked the brain’s endocannabinoid receptors effectively prevented the munchies that high-fat, high-sugar foods trigger. It was approved for use as a weight-control drug in Europe but had to be pulled off shelves because it caused severe psychiatric side effects. The Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. never did approve it.
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However, the researchers who did the recent mice experiments say they can prevent those side effects, so one day you might be able to turn off your endocannabinoid-triggered munchies and watch your compulsion to overeat go up in smoke.
Remember when Jon Lovitz married Morgan Fairchild on “Saturday Night Live”? “Yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket!”
Problem is, it never happened. (Lovitz’s “Pathological Liar” character, Tommy Flanagan, told as many lies as he could, as often as he could.) But if just for a second there, you thought you did remember Jon and Morgan getting hitched, you’ve witnessed first-hand how false memories start.
In fact, a new study done by researchers in the U.K. and Canada indicates that around 50 percent of folks are susceptible to believing they’ve experienced fictitious events. And that can have real-life consequences for your health, relationships and society at large. As the researchers said: “[A] large portion of people are prone to developing false beliefs ... [And] distorted beliefs can influence people’s behaviors, intentions and attitudes.”
So how does a person protect him- or herself from falling prey to false information and believing what one hears is true when it’s not?
Stay curious. That’s according to a symposium called “Rejection of Science: Fresh Perspectives on the Anti-Enlightenment Movement,” held at the recent Society for Personality and Social Psychology meeting. Curiosity will keep you open to new info – even if it contradicts your assumptions.
And we say: Stay healthy. Sound body, sound mind. Keep your body and brain in top shape by dodging inflammation-promoting, artery-clogging added sugars and syrups, all trans and most sat fats and any grain that isn’t 100 percent whole and by getting 10,000 steps a day or the equivalent.
How bad are tanning beds?
In the “Friends” episode “The One with Ross’s Tan,” Ross goes into a spray-on tanning booth, is befuddled by the instructions and gets sprayed twice in front, missing his back. After trying and failing twice more to balance out the coverage, he ends up with a level 16 spray-on tan (2 is optimal) on the front half of his body. Although Ross royally botched his spray tan, at least he steered clear of a tanning bed.
For a while now, we’ve been telling you that indoor tanning beds are bad for you, but researchers finally have nailed down just how bad. They looked at data on more than 140,000 women and found that those who’d had 30 or more tanning-bed sessions were 32 percent more likely to develop melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, than nontanners. And that’s not to mention an increase in premature skin wrinkling.
So why are 9.7 million of you still going for the indoor tan? If you just say no and accept your natural skin color, you’ll live longer and look better as you do it.
If you absolutely must get a darker glow, use a spray tan, and use it correctly. That includes wearing a mask to avoid fumes. Also, if you think indoor tanning will give you a vitamin D boost, that’s not happening. The bulbs in tanning booths emit mostly deep-penetrating UVA rays. It’s the shorter UVB rays that help your skin make vitamin D.
Mehmet Oz is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen is chief wellness officer and chairman of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic.