As many people are trying to get healthy and lose weight, it is important to point out that the endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in our eating behavior, fat storage and fat burning mechanisms in our body. Recent studies looking at endocannabinoids and their role in eating have found that 2-AG and AEA are both associated with food cravings and even alcohol cravings for both normal weight individuals and overweight individuals and with alcohol they are associated with cravings in both the
social drinkers and the heavy drinkers. It is important to note that getting hungry as a physiological response is something that happens to us each day and after eating a meal a feeling of satiety should ensue. In terms of obesity there are some genetic predisposition to the condition that directly affect the ECS.
What happens when we're hungry?
When we are hungry the ECS is releasing higher levels of 2-AG and AEA in our body tissues that bind to the CB1 Receptors and this gets us to seek delicious and calorie rich foods, once eaten generally the 2-AG and AEA levels are lowered substantially as the body has received its energy. In the case of obese individuals this does not always happen due to genetic and epigenetic reasons. It is important to note that this can also become an addictive trait that is not due to genetic differences, if we eat a diet that is very rich in
bad fats and sugars or bad fats and salt this has a positive allostatic effect on our CB1 receptors and we find ourselves with elevated levels of 2-AG in our body that is making us crave more of these comfort and unhealthy foods.
What are some solutions?
The key is to listen to your body when it is hungry and start to introduce whole foods that are not processed such as vegetables, healthy proteins and start switching to good fats (SEE ARTICLE ON GOOD VS BAD FATS). In terms of endocannabinoids this trains your body to have higher levels of AEA which is associated with homeostatic rather than impulsive and hedonic eating that we generally see with higher rates of 2-AG in the body. It should also be noted that certain bad fats raise inflammation by elevating
pro-inflammatory responses in our ECS and to seek further calorie rich foods that may not be healthy. Another recent trend has been intermittent fasting, meaning to have a minimum of 6 hours between each meal and to avoid snacks. This is a challenging task for many but it has been found to raise levels of Oleyloethanolamide (OEA) in the body substantially. This endocannabinoid like amide is associated with decreased appetite and increase in lipolysis (fat burning).
This substance can also be found in recently introduced supplements like Good Fats’ Slim Caps (SEE ARTICLE OEA). This OEA addition is especially helpful for those that are overweight and obese and want to lose weight in a natural and healthy way and should be part of a balanced lifestyle and healthy diet. As losing weight requires discipline, it is important to remember that once healthier routines and diets are implemented it generally becomes easier than when we are just starting.
It is important to make small steps and to understand that whether you are trying to lose weight or get in shape the endocannabinoid system is crucial to take a holistic and healthy approach, and this means you have the power to make the first step right now!