The Meal Matters Most

What Makes Healthy Food Healthy: From a Stress Perspective


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  10. Beyond DNA: Epigenetics. Deciphering the link between nature and nurture. By Nessa Carey. Excerpted from The Epigenetics Revolution: How Modern Biology Is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease, and Inheritance, by Nessa Carey (Columbia University Press, 2012). Copyright © 2012 Nessa Carey. LINK
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  15. Scientists more certain that particle is Higgs boson By Elizabeth Landau, CNN. updated 10:45 AM EDT, Sat March 16, 2013.
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    • Complex systems is a new approach to science that studies how relationships between parts give rise to the collective behaviors of a system and how the system interacts and forms relationships with its environment.The equations from which complex system models are developed generally derive from statistical physics, information theory and non-linear dynamics, and represent organized but unpredictable behaviors of systems of nature that are considered fundamentally complex. The physical manifestations of such systems cannot be defined, so the usual choice is to refer to “the system” as the mathematical information model, without referring to the undefined physical subject the model represents
  22. The protective effects of voluntary exercise against the behavioral consequences of uncontrollable stress persist despite an increase in anxiety following forced cessation of exercise. Greenwood BN, Loughridge AB, Sadaoui N, Christianson JP, Fleshner M. Behav Brain Res. 2012 Aug 1;233(2):314-21. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2012.05.017. Epub 2012 May 17. LINK
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  25. Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder. (Book) Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Random House. 2012
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    • A linear system is a mathematical model of a system based on the use of a linear operator. Linear systems typically exhibit features and properties that are much simpler than the general, nonlinear case.
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    • For over two thousand years, the adjective “Euclidean” was unnecessary because no other sort of geometry had been conceived. Euclid’s axioms seemed so intuitively obvious (with the possible exception of the parallel postulate) that any theorem proved from them was deemed true in an absolute, often metaphysical, sense. Today, however, many other self-consistent non-Euclidean geometries are known, the first ones having been discovered in the early 19th century. An implication of Einstein’s theory of general relativity is that physical space itself is not Euclidean, and Euclidean space is a good approximation for it only where the gravitational field is weak.
  29. Nonlinear System. Wikipedia. 27 April 2013 12:41 UTC.
    • In mathematics, a nonlinear system is one that does not satisfy the superposition principle, or one whose output is not directly proportional to its input; a linear system fulfills these conditions. In other words, a nonlinear system is any problem where the equation(s) to be solved cannot be written as a linear combination of the unknown variables or functions that appear in it (them). It does not matter if nonlinear known functions appear in the equations; in particular, a differential equation is linear if it is linear in the unknown function and its derivatives, even if non linear known functions appear as coefficients.
  30. Statement from Nonlinear and Complex Physics Group. Institute of Physics.
    • Nonlinear problems are ubiquitous in nature yet there are no general principles to guide our understanding of observed complex behaviour. However, modern developments in nonlinear dynamics coupled with scaling and universality arguments have helped us make progress with problems ranging in scale from the quantum to the astrophysical. The topics covered in these strongly nonlinear phenomena range from solitons and vortices in optics, networks and disease propagation in biology, to turbulence and pattern formation in classical physics. Complexity is concerned with the central nature of change and evolution and places emphasis on the role of fluctuations and noise in self-organisation. In many of these areas, progress is most often made using an interdisciplinary approach often coupling experiment with theory. Drawing connections between many of these areas has its roots in statistical physics and critical phenomena and the approach is now finding application in emerging areas such as soft matter, complexity, biophysics.and indeed evolutionary biology and related fields.
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    • Fuzzy logic is a form of many-valued logic or probabilistic logic; it deals with reasoning that is approximate rather than fixed and exact. Compared to traditional binary sets (where variables may take on true or false values) fuzzy logic variables may have a truth value that ranges in degree between 0 and 1.
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    • A false dilemma (also called the fallacy of the false alternative, false dichotomy, the either-or fallacy, fallacy of the excluded middle, fallacy of false choice, black-and/or-white thinking, or the fallacy of exhaustive hypotheses) is a type of informal fallacy that involves a situation in which limited alternatives are considered, when in fact there is at least one additional option. The options may be a position that is between two extremes (such as when there are shades of grey) or may be completely different alternatives. The opposite of this fallacy is argument to moderation.
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    • Systems thinking is the process of understanding how things, regarded as systems, influence one another within a whole. In nature, systems thinking examples include ecosystems in which various elements such as air, water, movement, plants, and animals work together to survive or perish. In organizations, systems consist of people, structures, and processes that work together to make an organization “healthy” or “unhealthy”. Systems thinking has been defined as an approach to problem solving, by viewing “problems” as parts of an overall system, rather than reacting to specific part, outcomes or events and potentially contributing to further development of unintended consequences. Systems thinking is not one thing but a set of habits or practices[2] within a framework that is based on the belief that the component parts of a system can best be understood in the context of relationships with each other and with other systems, rather than in isolation. Systems thinking focuses on cyclical rather than linear cause and effect.
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Additional References from Post for Prominant associations and causes of Obesity

  1. Genetics & Epigenetics
  2. Microbiome
  3. Pesticides and BPA
  4. Sleep Disturbances
  5. Vitamin D


  • Genome-wide SNP and CNV analysis identifies common and low-frequency variants associated with severe early-onset obesity. Wheeler E, Huang N, Bochukova EG, Keogh JM, Lindsay S, Garg S, Henning E, Blackburn H, Loos RJ, Wareham NJ, O’Rahilly S, Hurles ME, Barroso I, Farooqi IS. Nat Genet. 2013 Apr 7. doi: 10.1038/ng.2607 LINK
  • From obesity genetics to the future of personalized obesity therapy. El-Sayed Moustafa JS, Froguel P. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2013 Mar 26. doi: 10.1038/nrendo.2013.57. LINK
  • The genetics of childhood obesity and interaction with dietary macronutrients. Garver WS, Newman SB, Gonzales-Pacheco DM, Castillo JJ, Jelinek D, Heidenreich RA, Orlando RA. Genes Nutr. 2013 Mar 8. LINK
  • What Mice Can Tell Us About Obesity by Alexandra Sifferlin January 9. 2013 In addition, it’s also likely that genes may not be directly responsible for obesity, but only be co-opted in the presence of certain environmental influences, like stress.


  • What obesity research tells us about epigenetic mechanisms. Youngson NA, Morris MJ. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2013 Jan 5;368(1609):20110337. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2011.0337. LINK
  • Dietary factors, epigenetic modifications and obesity outcomes: Progresses and perspectives. Milagro FI, Mansego ML, De Miguel C, Martínez JA. Mol Aspects Med. 2012 Jul 4. LINK
  • Interplay of early-life nutritional programming on obesity, inflammation and epigenetic outcomes. Martínez JA, Cordero P, Campión J, Milagro FI. Proc Nutr Soc. 2012 May;71(2):276-83. doi: 10.1017/S0029665112000055. Epub 2012 Mar 6. LINK
  • Diet induced epigenetic changes and their implications for health. McKay JA, Mathers JC. Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2011 Jun;202(2):103-18. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-1716.2011.02278.x. Epub 2011 Apr 19. LINK
  • Corticotropin-releasing hormone exerts direct effects on neuronal progenitor cells: implications for neuroprotection. Koutmani Y, Politis PK, Elkouris M, Agrogiannis G, Kemerli M, Patsouris E, Remboutsika E, Karalis KP. Mol Psychiatry. 2013 Mar;18(3):300-7. doi: 10.1038/mp.2012.198. Epub 2013 Feb 5. LINK

Estrogen and Endocrine Disruptors

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  • The estrogenic endocrine disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) and obesity. Vom Saal FS, Nagel SC, Coe BL, Angle BM, Taylor JA. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2012 May 6;354(1-2):74-84. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2012.01.001. Epub 2012 Jan 10. LINK
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  • Female mice are protected against high-fat diet induced metabolic syndrome and increase the regulatory T cell population in adipose tissue. Pettersson US, Waldén TB, Carlsson PO, Jansson L, Phillipson M. PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e46057. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046057. Epub 2012 Sep 25. LINK
  • (repeated)Low Dose Organochlorine Pesticides and Polychlorinated Biphenyls Predict Obesity, Dyslipidemia, and Insulin Resistance among People Free of Diabetes.Lee D-H, Steffes MW, Sjödin A, Jones RS, Needham LL, et al. (2011) PLoS ONE 6(1): e15977. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015977 LINK
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Sleep, Rhythms and Stress

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  • The hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and sex hormones in chronic stress and obesity: pathophysiological and clinical aspects.Renato Pasquali. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2012 August; 1264(1): 20–35. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06569.x  LINK
  • The Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis, Obesity, and Chronic Stress Exposure: Sleep and the HPA Axis in Obesity. Eliane A. Lucassen and Giovanni CizzaCurr Obes Rep. 2012 December; 1(4): 208–215. doi: 10.1007/s13679-012-0028-5. LINK
  • Chronobiology, endocrinology, and energy- and food-reward homeostasis. Gonnissen HK, Hulshof T, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Obes Rev. 2013 May;14(5):405-416. doi: 10.1111/obr.12019 LINK

Vitamin D and Sunlight

  • Causal relationship between obesity and vitamin D status: bi-directional Mendelian randomization analysis of multiple cohorts.Vimaleswaran KS, Berry DJ, Lu C, et. al. PLoS Med. 2013 Feb;10(2):e1001383. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001383. LINK
  • Modest reversal of metabolic syndrome manifestations with vitamin D status correction: a 12-month prospective study. Al-Daghri NM, Alkharfy KM, Al-Saleh Y, Al-Attas OS, Alokail MS, Al-Othman A, Moharram O, El-Kholie E, Sabico S, Kumar S, Chrousos GP.Metabolism. 2012 May;61(5):661-6. Epub 2011 Nov 8.  LINK
  • Seasonal changes in the interactions among leptin, ghrelin, and orexin in sheep. Kirsz K, Szczesna M, Molik E, Misztal T, Wojtowicz AK, Zieba DA. J Anim Sci. 2012 Aug;90(8):2524-31. doi: 10.2527/jas.2011-4463. Epub 2012 Jul 10. LINK
  •  Hypovitaminosis D and incidence of obesity: a prospective study.González-Molero I, Rojo-Martínez G, Morcillo S, et al. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Feb 20. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2013.48. LINK


  • Is the Gut Microbiota a New Factor Contributing to Obesity and Its Metabolic Disorders?,”Kristina Harris, Amira Kassis, Geneviève Major, and Chieh J. Chou,  Journal of Obesity, vol. 2012, Article ID 879151, 14 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/879151. LINK
  • Supplementation of Lactobacillus curvatus HY7601 and Lactobacillus plantarum KY1032 in Diet-Induced Obese Mice Is Associated with Gut Microbial Changes and Reduction in Obesity. Park DY, Ahn YT, Park SH,PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e59470. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059470. Epub 2013 Mar 21. LINK
  • Lactic acid bacteria contribution to gut microbiota complexity: lights and shadows. Pessione E.Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2012;2:86. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2012.00086. Epub 2012 Jun 22. LINK
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  • Functional interactions between the gut microbiota and host metabolism. Tremaroli V, Bäckhed F. Nature. 2012 Sep 13;489(7415):242-9. doi: 10.1038/nature11552. LINK
  • Programming of host metabolism by the gut microbiota. Bäckhed F. Ann Nutr Metab. 2011;58 Suppl 2:44-52. doi: 10.1159/000328042. Epub 2011 Aug 12. LINK
  • Lipotoxicity: effects of dietary saturated and transfatty acids. Estadella D, da Penha Oller do Nascimento CM, Oyama LM,Mediators Inflamm. 2013;2013:137579. doi: 10.1155/2013/137579. Epub 2013 Jan 31 LINK
  • The interplay between the intestinal microbiota and the brain. Stephen M. Collins , Michael Surette & Premysl Bercik. Nature Reviews Microbiology 10, 735–742 (1 November 2012) | doi:10.1038/nrmicro2876. LINK
  • Lymphotoxin regulates commensal responses to enable diet-induced obesity. Vaibhav Upadhyay, Valeriy Poroyko, Tae-jin Kim, et al. Nature Immunology, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/ni.2403. LINK

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