Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sun, 5th Feb 2012

Do Diet Foods Make You Fat?

Weighing in (c) Frank C. Müller

Could diet foods be making you fatter?  How do we learn to like the foods we eat?  This week, we indulge in the science of appetite, diet and diabetes.  We'll find out how our early experiences of food can alter our diets for life, and ask if low calorie alternatives to sweet and fatty foods can fool the brain into underestimating the energy content of the real thing.  Also, how synthetic chemists are searching for compounds to monitor blood glucose and control diabetes.  Plus, how regions of the brain can “catch” Alzheimer’s from each other, we discover a new microscopy technique that can open a window on the brain in action, and talk to the Australian ecologist who thinks more introduced species, including elephants, could stabilise the Aussie ecosystem.

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 01:35 - Eating Behaviour and Appetite

    The eating habits we develop early in life can be very hard to change. Marion Hetherington discusses why this is and how it could be changed...

  • 08:51 - Fooling the Brain with Diet Foods

    Could diet foods be making you fat? We investigate whether low calorie foods such as sweeteners and low fat alternatives can fool our brains into underestimating the energy content of the full fat versions...

  • 17:16 - Untangling how Alzheimer's spreads through the brain

    Scientists at Columbia University in New York have figured out how one of the key proteins involved in Alzheimer’s disease spreads through the brain.

  • 21:06 - Super Microscope Watches Living Brain Cells

    A clever “super-resolution” microscope has allowed researchers to observe changes in a single neuron in the brain of a live mouse. The exceptional level of detail even showed protrusions called dendritic spines moving and changing shape...

  • 23:40 - Elephants in the Outback

    Introducing new species has proved disasterous for the Australian ecosystem. So it's no wonder that ecologist David Bowman has met controversy with his suggestion that, to stablise the system, we may need to introduce even more...

  • 30:41 - On a Diet? Dine with Slow Eaters…

    Our eating behaviour changes to match that of the company we keep due to a subconscious mimicry response that causes us to match our dining partners bite for bite...

  • 55:00 - How much of me is the original me?

    I am 57 years old. Do I have any original parts? In other words, how much of the baby that was born in 1954 is still part of me? Also, how much of the 18-year-old teenager that I once was is still with me? Do my soft tissues cycle out over time? What about bones, nerves and brain...



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I'm looking forward to hearing your podcast.
Keep in mind that there are two types of diabetes. 

Type 1 diabetes is usually Juvenile onset, and insulin dependent.  It is not related to obesity.  I presume your photo is of a person with type 1 diabetes. 

Type 2 diabetes is usually related to older individuals, and is related to obesity.  While it may require insulin supplement, it is often treated with diet.  The pancreas continues to make insulin, but the cells develop a resistance to the insulin. 

Type 2 diabetes is especially prevalent in the Pima Indians, and has been significantly improved with diet and exercise programs. CliffordK, Fri, 20th Jan 2012

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