• On Good Things Utah this morning – Weight loss is always an exciting New Year’s resolution, but come mid-January, people’s enthusiasm for slimming down is often overshadowed by powerful hunger and cravings. Dr. Amy Shah, a physician and nutrition expert based in Scottsdale, Arizona, hears the complaints from patients all the time. For many, hunger has become their “great enemy” to the point where they walk around all day thinking about their next meal, Shah writes in her new book, “I’m So Effing Hungry: Why We Crave What We Crave — and What to Do About It.” She wants people to know constant hunger and cravings are not their fault. So why are you “so effing hungry”?
    • One huge issue is that food manufacturers have engineered their products to be addictive, Shah writes in her book. Americans now get almost 60% of their calories from ultra-processed foods — like potato chips, candy, cookies, commercial bread and soft drinks, studies have found. These products are full of salt, sugar, oils, fats and additives designed to “trigger intense pleasure responses,” she writes. “We’re so constantly hit with dopamine, which is our feel-good chemical that keeps us craving, that we almost can’t tell the difference between wanting to keep that dopamine release going and actual hunger,” Shah, who is double board-certified in internal medicine and allergy/immunology, tells TODAY.com. “Ultra-processed foods are engineered to create a response in the brain that gives a dopamine or serotonin release. That’s very scary to me. That says almost all the food that we’re eating is giving us a chemical release that’s not found in nature.”
    • Ultra-processed foods cause weight gain, studies have found, but it’s hard to escape them. When researchers analyzed the U.S. packaged food and beverage supply, they found 71% of products were ultra-processed. Other factors driving people to eat include emotional triggers, like stress, loneliness or boredom, and the failure of hunger and satiety signals to work properly — or to be recognized by the modern human, Shah notes. We hope you join us as we dive into this Hot Topic and so much this morning on a Thursday edition of Good Things Utah.