The “No Kid Hungry” program’s primary goal is to end childhood hunger in America. On the surface, this certainly seems like a laudable goal. It is run by a large nonprofit organization called “Share Our Strength”, that collects money to provide food for hungry children in this country. Who would object to this wonderful project? I hate to say it, but that person is me. Before you nail me to the cross, follow me through on my logic involved in this issue.
The Physiology of Hunger
We first must understand this issue of hunger. Eons ago, hunger became hardwired into all living organisms, including humans, to push us to seek food when our bodies required nourishment. Hunger drives have been finely tuned by Mother Nature to match our nutritional needs exactly. The brain consumes about 20% of our bodies’ energy at rest and higher levels when it’s faced with environmental stress, making the availability of glucose one of Mother Nature’s key roles in human survival.
It’s also important to remember exactly how hunger is generated in a healthy human brain. The brain closely monitors glucose levels, and when they begin to drop below a certain level, the brain starts to push out subtle hunger signals. If you don’t respond to these signals by eating because food isn’t readily available, your glucose levels will continue to drop, and your brain will react by pushing out even stronger hunger signals. Because your brain consumes a large portion of the energy used by your body, and it primarily relies on glucose for this energy, low brain glucose levels trigger a strong hunger response.
When it Comes to Appropriate Hunger Levels, the Brain Calls the Shots
If you would fail to consume food for any reason despite these hunger signals, your brain would go into panic mode and send out the big guns—cravings for sweet and starchy food. With dangerously low glucose levels, the quickest way to establish normal glucose levels would be to eat a low glycemic carbohydrate rather than fat or protein. This type of carbohydrate was the only kind available to our primitive ancestors. Thus back then, you would be more likely to choose fruit or a tuber rather than a brontosaurus steak, because that would be the quickest way to establish stable brain glucose levels.
Remember that this system evolved in an environment where there was no processed food of any type. So, imagine what happened when the Twinkie and similar highly processed food arrived on the scene. After consuming that Twinkie or similar processed food, you would first get a massive glucose spike that would trigger a significant release of insulin by your pancreas. This, in turn, would cause your glucose levels to suddenly drop below normal, followed by a return to normal levels of glucose. Your brain didn’t evolve to read glucose spikes, because up until recently they didn’t exist in humans until we started consuming highly processed food. Thus, glucose spikes don’t register in your brain. Once your glucose levels crash below normal, your brain knows what that means—it’s time to eat! What do you do? You eat another Twinkie! This is followed by another glucose spike and crash triggering your brain to push out progressively stronger hunger signals even though your body doesn’t need any nutrition. You would likely respond by eating another Twinkie or similar highly processed food. These repeated glucose spikes followed by crashes would be read by your brain this way: “I keep telling this idiot to eat, and he or she isn’t responding, so I’m calling on the big guns—cravings for sweet and starchy food.” At this point, you would likely consume the whole box of Twinkies!
As you can see, consuming highly processed food causes your brain’s hunger drives to become completely divorced from your actual nutritional needs. Over time you would develop significant insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, yet you would continue to experience strong hunger and cravings for sweet and starchy food. As you can see, relying on hunger drives in this situation would lead to a nutritional disaster. Thus, in modern societies, hunger drives and cravings should not be used to determine who needs to eat. This is especially true for children who are in the middle of a national obesity epidemic.
It’s Time to Ditch Hunger as a Meaningful Brain Signal
Determining the actual nutritional needs of adults and children in this environment loaded with highly processed food is very difficult to do. Probably the most accurate way to assess nutritional needs is to measure the body composition of all adults and children. Anyone who is losing lean body mass over time is experiencing early malnourishment, and they need to consume calories, regardless of their level of hunger. People with excessive body fat need to restrict food intake, regardless of their level of hunger and cravings. When I was in primary care for over 40 years, I measured the body composition of all of my patients, so after measuring over 10,000 such readings, I came to know the value of these readings when it comes to guiding nutritional needs.
A New Brain Disorder Emerges
Things are even worse than the above scenario. We now believe that long-term exposure to highly processed food can trigger a form of food-induced brain dysfunction called Carbohydrate Associated Reversible Brain syndrome or CARB syndrome. This disease is associated with 22 brain dysfunction symptoms that can interfere with a person’s ability to function. I outline this disease in detail in my recently published book, “Brain Drain.” The lead symptoms of CARB syndrome are excessive pathological hunger and intense cravings for sweet and starchy food, pushing people to consume more of the fake food that is frying their brains. This is especially devastating to children who miss out on valuable learning because their brain is in the toilet due to a treatable and reversible disease like CARB syndrome.
With All the Clowns Around, There Must Be a Circus in Town!
Because the symptoms of CARB syndrome overlap with many traditional brain disorders, this disease flew under the radar and was completely missed by the scientific and medical communities. Thus, the purportedly “do good” organizations like the one leading the “No Kid Hungry” program are driving our national epidemic of childhood obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. The many smart individuals involved in this organization have missed this dietary disaster, yet there is no excuse when it comes to the health of our children. If a simple country doctor like me can figure this out, at least some of the smart people in this organization should have done the same. These clowns need to wake up and see the truth that surrounds them every day. Only then will our next generation be able to thrive and guide us into the future.
Perhaps they should rename their organization “No Brain Left Behind” and apply this principle to themselves! If they fail to take appropriate action, the health status of our children will make the COVID-19 epidemic look like a minor outbreak of the common cold.