Down regulation is a bitch – but doable

When you start to understand the way certain foods injure the inner lining of your arteries (the endothelium), you tend to take more interest in what you eat, however, changing what you eat is not as straightforward as many would think.

We have receptors for cocaine, heroin, nicotine, sugar, fat and many other substances in our brain. Reward circuits if you like. Many other substances can also be defined as behaviours such as social media, caffeine, shopping, you name it… That is, to say they are present in our environment at levels not natural for us.

These receptors have specific sensitivities, that is to say, through a process of getting used to it (neural adaptation) they can become used to high or low levels of a substance, for example – dietary fat.

The work of the Monell Chemical Senses Center has shown us that you can down-regulate your cravings but only at certain ranges – when fat is concerned it is around 10-12% of total Calories, and the process takes approximately 12 weeks.

This is strikingly different to what is described by many of the UK’s major groups designed for weight loss, who also publish magazines and who have paid advertisers, promoting products that are around 25% fat from Calories. The USA is even worse at 30%+ typically. Why so high from these highly developed countries? Lobbying, basically.

What does this mean?

Well, ultimately, consuming products that have more than 12% of total Calories from fat will ensure you remain physically addicted to the product. That’s willpower essentially. No food company is going to come out and tell the truth because there is too much money at play. These companies quite literally pay for a place to sit on the board of the USDA and have voting rights as to which guidelines are passed. Ouch.

Products in this range tend to be the so-called “low fat” cheeses, mayonnaises, some dressings, most meat products and virtually all processed and junk foods.

Why does it matter?

The evidence is at a point where it would be very difficult to argue against firstly that high consumption of fat, particularly animal fat is closely pegged (90%+ correlation) to the high incidence of animal protein consumption and that a high-fat diet (30%+ of total Calories) is linked to many of our most common diseases, be it breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, coronary disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity and interestingly, depression.

Now, I get that people will swear by diets spun off the late Dr Atkins’s work, eg South Beach diet, the Keto diet and so on, however, as a word of caution. These work in the short term, 0-5 years but long term the damage is absolutely brutal. Think testicular cancer in men, and breast cancer in women are the most common outcomes.

The full text of the study is now in the public domain.

Monell Chemical Senses Center,

Also noteworthy in the creation of this post is T. Colin Campbell’s work – The China Study which was a joint collaboration between Campbell, The University of Oxford, and the Chinese government and showed huge differences in disease across a country that are genetically very similar but have geographic variations in diet.

I’d encourage you to do your own research on down-regulation and why most diet plans are far shorter than 12 weeks. I mean, even Weight Watchers published data to show their own plan doesn’t work; it’s that ridiculous. You see it with ‘protein’ companies too.

You may hear terms such as emotional eating, cheat days, ‘this little bit won’t hurt’, it’s just for now, and so on.

I call BS on this. Not one person I’ve consulted has said to me “oh, just for 3 months, when I’ve enrolled them into my programmes and asked for how long they’d like to be healthy.”

I am not saying “don’t eat this or don’t eat that”, what I am saying is that there is a direct causality between every meal you eat and your sensitivity to food, and other substances.