The Human Operating Manual

The Nutrition Rabbit Hole

The Nutrition Rabbit Hole

To be explored…

Topics listed below are ideas that are yet to be summarized. 

KetoFLEX diet – Dale Bredeson, The End of Alzheimer’s (brain inflammation decrease): 

Metabolic Winter Hypothesis:

Diets high in ultra-processed foods linked to poor CV health:

Extra-virgin olive oil maintains healthy properties during cooking:

Olive oil may extend life:

Drinks with sugar added lead to lipid imbalance and CVD risk:

Mixing diet soda and fries can have an effect on the brain:

Greater thermogenesis after breakfast vs. dinner:

Gut-to-brain circuit encourages sugar preference:

Blueberries to treat inflammatory disorders:

Western diet impairs hippocampal appetite control:

The fat/cholesterol debate

Sugar demonization

Industrialized grains, gluten, lectins, celiac, etc.

Weight loss and caloric deficit

Weight gain

Vegetables, toxins, and hormesis

Soluble fiber for diabetes, obesity, etc.:

Ancestral wisdom around food

Chris Masterjohn:


Food Conglomerates:

  • Pepsico
  • Coca Cola
  • Nestle
  • Mars
  • Kelloggs
  • Unilever
  • P&G
  • Kraft
  • Johnson and Johnson
  • General Mills

Beliefs & Thoughts; The Insula; (Tool 9: Pairing-Based Reshaping Food Preferences)

When there is dopamine increase, there is activation of the nucleus accumbens (part of the mesolimbic reward pathway). The dopamine increase associated with sweet taste and/or blood glucose elevating food or drinks cause activation of the nucleus accumbens and the arcuate nuclei within the hypothalamus (responds to hormones form the body and brain, as well as neural signals, that drive us to eat more or stop eating). The nucleus accumbens and dopamine release are a sort of “nitro boost” on the gas pedal of the hypothalamus. Increasing the volume/gain of how much you want something.

The insula determines what’s going on in the body and how you feel about it (anxious, excited, fearful). It integrates the information from them and the PFC. The desire to be healthy, alongside the belief that a food is good for you, and metabolically useful, leads to an increased liking of a food. These subjective signals can impact how these foods taste to you and how your body utilizes them.

Foods that are neutral to you can take on a different value based on the activation of the dopamine system. Meaning you could do something like eat kale with something sweet to develop a liking for it. We want those neurons to be metabolically active while eating it.

If you are on a ketogenic diet, you can pair food with ketones for a similar effect. Reinforcing it with the dopamine pathway.

Liking Neuro-Healthy Foods & Bettering Brain Metabolism (Tool 10); Food Wars

Ingest foods that you want to ingest more of because of them being good for you alongside glucose or ketone providing foods. No need to hide it. Just pair it with that food without going overboard. Hijacking the preferences should take about 14 days to create a subjective taste change.

What we consume on a regular basis, and what leads to increases in brain metabolism, leads to increases in dopamine, and our motivation to eat them. This is why a given diet may make someone feel really good, regardless of the actual nutritional benefit. You can’t completely override a food that elicits the “yuck” feeling though.

Food Reward & Diabetes, Obesity; Important Review Article

Vagus Senses Many Things, & Moves Our Organs

Can sense how full the gut is, how acidic it is, how fast the heart is beating, how full the lungs are, etc. Many features that inform the body how to feel.

Sugar Sensing Without Perception of Sweetness

When you eat something sweet, you have cells in the stomach that sense the presence of sugary foods and sends a message to the brain, triggering the desire for more. Gut sugar craving cells that are independent of how something tastes.

Eating-Induced Anxiety

Even if a food is savory, if there is sugar in it, you’ll crave it more even if you can’t taste it.

As you approach eating there is an anxiety/alertness associated with it. The lateral hypothalamus inhibits feeding. The locus coeruleus releases norepinephrine before eating. Felt as excitement or anxiety, depending on our relationship with food. If we are anxious, we can end up activating the lateral hypothalamus with the NE.

We Eat Until Our Brain Perceives “Amino Acid Threshold”

We are supposed to calm down once we begin to eat. Chew food more, less fluids, less distraction. Parallel pathways need to be activated to see what is in the food to know if we should eat more. Subconscious detection of amino acids and their array. We tend to eat until the brain has been satisfied by enough amino acids.

Amino acids are what neurochemicals are made from.

Dopamine makes you feel good, surprise, excitement, etc. Inhibited by things that let you down (reward prediction error).

Reward Prediction Error: Buildup, Letdown and Wanting More

If you expect something to be terrific you set a higher expectation at a chemical level. A dopamine expectation. Something will be less good than if you tried something at random. The event must exceed the expectation.

L-Tyrosine, Dopamine, Motivation, Mood, & Movement

Precursor to dopamine and others. Synthesized from it but the neurons in the brain are what drive our response, not the gut.

Parkinson’s is a depletion of dopamine in the brain. Dietary L-tyrosine is good for healthy levels. Increases mood and alertness. There is a crash of lethargy in the next day. Chronically can disrupt dopamine pathways. 

Supplementing L-Tyrosine, Drugs of Abuse, Wellbutrin

Cocaine and amphetamines ramp up levels too much and people can’t achieve healthy dopamine release.

Food and ingestion of tyrosine will be more helpful but take longer.

Wellbutrin activates dopamine and epinephrine. Side effects are activated alertness, anxiety, sweating, etc.

Foods with a big dose of dopamine will make us crave more food.

Eating to Promote Dopamine (Daytime) & Serotonin (Night Time)

Starchy carbohydrate foods will increase serotonin. As well as foods with tryptophan (turkey and other meats).

5-HTP can mess with endogenous levels.

Supplementing Serotonin: Sleep, & Caution About Sleep Disruptions

Too close to bed, you’ll wake up in a few hours when serotonin levels are supposed to drop.

Mucuna Pruriens: The Dopamine Bean with a Serotonin Outer Shell

Serotonin on its surface, which is itchy to touch. Chemically L-dopa. Acute dopamine increase from it causes minor effect on sperm quality (motility), degraded Parkinson’s, testosterone, prolactin, and subjective wellbeing.

Hunger: Neural & Hormonal Control

The hypothalamus contains neurons controlling sexual behavior, hunger, sleep, body temperature, rage, etc. Lesions in the ventromedial hypothalamus could make the person ravenous or anorexic. Some neurons in it are hunger promoting and satiety promoting.

Chewing & Hunger

The insular cortex processes interoception. It gets inputs from the sense of touch in your mouth and has control over whether you are enjoying or had enough of what you’re eating.

Different sensations of food can be more appealing to some.

Siamese Rats Reveal the Importance of Hormones in Hunger

When they lesioned the paraventromedial hypothalamus of Siamese rats, one got really fat and the other skinny.

Neurons That Powerfully Control Hunger by Releasing Specific Hormones

The arcuate nucleus has neurons that release molecules/chemicals into the blood that act as accelerators or brakes on appetite.

Anorexia & Extreme Overeating

Proopiomelanocortin (PMOC) neurons (in the arcuate) make alpha melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH). MSH reduces appetite.

The AgRP neurons stimulate eating. When you are approaching food and have a ramping up of autonomic activity, this is because of AgRP neurons. If you stimulate them, animals will eat like crazy.

Why Sunlight Suppresses Hunger: a-Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone (a -MSH)

MSH is released from the medial portion of the pituitary (from POMC neurons) and stimulates the desire to cease eating. It is activated by ultra-violate light from our eyes. This is why during the spring and summer months animals and humans eat less.

Blue-blockers, Injecting a-MSH: Instant Tan & Priapism

Don’t wear blue-blockers during the day.

The consequences of injecting MSH are reduced appetite, very tanned, and sends libido through the roof (can cause a chronic erection in females to a damaging extent).

Ghrelin: A Hormone That Determines When You Get Hungry, & That You Can Control

Ghrelin is released from the GI tract and increases the desire to eat by stimulating the brain areas that make you want to eat. It also creates food anticipatory signals to want to eat at particular times. If glucose levels drop too low, ghrelin is secreted and may activate various neurons, such as the POMC, VMH, and mouth periphery ones that make you salivate. Creating a desire for certain foods at certain times of the day.

Meal Timing Determines Hunger, Not the Other Way Around

If you eat breakfast, your ghrelin release will match when you regularly eat. Food anticipatory to get you motivated.

Blood sugar doesn’t usually drop so low that these people NEED to eat.

How To Rationally Adjust Meal Schedules: The 45min Per Day Rule

More social flexibility, don’t have to think about food as much. You can shift ghrelin secretion by about 45 minutes per day.

Those who are genuinely hypoglycemic will need to be more careful.

CCK (Cholecystokinin): A Hormone in Your Gut That Says “No Mas!”

MSH inhibits, ghrelin makes us want to eat more, CCK is potent in reducing our levels of hunger. Leptin signals to the brain when there is enough body fat.

Eating For Amino Acids, Fatty Acids & Sugar

CCK is released from the GI tract. It is stimulated by particular fatty acids, amino acids, and sugar. Omega-3s and CLA blunt appetite. Glutamine can also trigger CCK. When we eat, we are essentially fat and amino acid foraging.

Distension, top-down control (meal finish), and CCK release can reduce activity of AgRP neurons.

L-Glutamine: Stimulates the Immune System & Reduces Sugar Cravings

Many cancers like glutamine, but glutamine can reduce sugar cravings. A spoon of sugar whenever you crave sugar can stave them off. Better to eat the fatty acids and full spectrum of aminos though. Glutamine alone can increase blood sugar.

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