034 Set-Point, Biology, Environment, & Obesity: An Interview with Dr Randy Seeley

by reeger on August 17, 2014


Editted brain


In this episode, I am happy to bring you my interview with Dr Randy Seeley. Dr Seeley is a PhD scientist who studies obesity from the perspective of hormones in the central nervous system that serve to regulate food intake, body weight, and energy balance. He has published over 260 peer-reviewed articles including articles in Science, Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Neuroscience, Science Translational Medicine, Cell Metabolism, The Journal of Clincial Investigation and the New England Journal of Medicine.

I came across Dr Seeley’s work through my recent completion of the free, on-line course called MARS (Metabolically Applied Research Strategies) offered by Ethicon. The research findings presented by both Dr Seeley and Dr Lee Kaplan, the other lead researcher, are helping to shine light on weight regulation, energy-balance, and set-point. Beyond that, their research is helping us understand the complex interplay between our internal human biology and our external environment that can result in obesity. But their research does not stop there. They also look at the critical differences between losing weight through nutrition and exercise alone and losing weight through nutrition, exercise, and bariatric surgery.

In this episode, Dr Seeley and I dive into all this and more, including:

  • What Dr Seeley tells people he does for a living.
  • How he became interested in bariatric surgery.
  • How is the answer changing to the question: Why do humans struggle with obesity?
  • Set-Point Theory and Defended Weight.
  • The role of the fat hormone Leptin: What is it, what it does.
  • What happens when we go on a diet.
  • Is Set-Point really set.
  • Biology and Weight.
  • Environment and Weight.
  • Food as a hormone: WHAT we eat matters as much as how much we eat.
  • Exercise: The difference between healthy muscle and sick muscle.
  • What is the greatest myth about obesity.
  • How our human biology pushes back against weight loss and towards weight re-gain.
  • When we regain weight, we regain fat, not muscle.
  • Our brain cares about FAT, not weight.
  • The important role of gut hormones and how those hormones talk to the brain.
  • Why simply taking Leptin as a pill does not work.
  • The “Bath Tub” analogy of Set-Point.
  • What the research shows about how bariatric surgery helps a person lose weight (It’s not exactly what we thought).
  • Bariatric surgery can be thought of as an Anti-diet.
  • Does the type of bariatric surgery matter.
  • Is there a test a person can take to help determine if one surgery will be more effective for them instead of another?
  • After bariatric surgery, why cravings and hunger go away for a while after surgery.
  • Why does hunger and craving come back for some people at some point after surgery and why that is actually a normal physical response that does not have to mean the person will regain all their weight.
  • Reeger’s “Rule of Thirds.”
  • Some weight regain after bariatric surgery is natural and to be expected.
  • Where is the research going in the future.

Mentions in this Episode: 

Food is a Hormone
The Humble Heroes of Weight Loss Surgery: Stomach acids and gut microbes
Weight Loss Surgery: A gut wrenching question
MARS course (this free, online course will be offered again this Fall. You can sign up now!).

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