Here we are, talking about agricultural intensification, technologies that can feed the world, and even how to use land to grow our energy instead. But millions of people in the west eat too much – disturbingly there are currently 400 million overweight adults in Europe alone. The strain on healthcare services is underestimated, because often there are very subtle ways that obesity contributes to ill health, though the WHO reports a cost of up to 6% of healthcare budgets in some countries.
We could do with a solution that makes people thinner and healthier, which could also reduce the volume of food we need to grow. Diets and exercise programs don’t seem to be working for everyone – everyone knows they’d be thinner if they ate less, but still they don’t. Maybe, like smoking patches, we need a way to get people to eat less without finding it difficult.
The Korean Pine tree produces nuts from which an oil can be extracted and used as appetite suppressants. It works by stimulating the release of two hormones, CCK and GLP1. These two hormones are one way that the brain receives signals saying ‘I’m full’. CCK is released by the small intestine when you eat fat or protein and has control over the gall bladder and the pancreas. GLP1 is released when you eat fat and carbohydrate, and it slows down gut mobility.
So the Korean Pine could end hunger in 2 ways – appetite suppression in those who have plenty, and freeing up food for those who don’t have enough?
I read this in ‘Nutraceutical Business and Technology’, which I’m writing an article for this week. A very interesting publication, although it’s not peer reviewed, but the point of this post is really just – should we always be talking about ‘more, more, more’, or is there room for ‘less, less, less’?