Can The Bacteria In Your Gut Explain Your Mood?

OBESITY AND THE BRAIN:HOW CONVINCING IS THE ADDICTION MODEL?” OTHER ARTICLES BELOW SHOULD BE USED BUT NOT AS MUCH.A couple of segments from a successful essay provided in the model answer section. You need to write intelligently, you need to give me evidence that you have read the papers, and thought about them. As you read, make some notes (eg., I agree; this sounds like something we covered in class; this doesnt sound right, I am going to offer my educated opinion on this, etc). Do not use quotes excessively (a maximum of 10% of the paper can use quotes from your reading sources, and must be in quotation marks).
Below are a number of links that address the issue of addiction as it applies to food. Please read these articles (two are actual blogs) and also the article I will place in resources entitled ‘Obesity and the Brain: How convincing is the addiction model? (the final link below is a response to this article). While the main articles are more popular pieces, the ‘Obesity and the Brain article is more a research-based perspective. Moreover, there is a link to a very recent NY TImes piece on gut bacteria influencing mood. Does this complicate things? Might certain types of food alter the gut microbiota, which then might alter the quality of brain function, and hence, also influence how chemicals (food-derived or otherwise) after behavior. It wont be long before research grants are exploring gut microbiota and abuse susceptibility to psychoactive substances. Trust me.

As you read the articles (the gut bacteria article in your reading will be considered extra credit – if see evidence that you have read it), consider whether we actually have reached a point where we should consider food as dangerous (a ridiculous notion, I know, but some would think otherwise). Or is the labeling of certain forms of eating as addictive, restricted to particular groups?

Give me a 3-4 page response (size 12 font, double-spaced; 1 inch left margin) to your reading in the form of a reaction. Note: this is a “thought piece.” So plan how you want to write your essay and take some notes while you are reading. Then bang out the paper.

Your paper should reflect a knowledge of your reading, represent a balanced and personal view, that should incorporate knowledge of what you have learned in the course. Begin by taking a position. (eg., “What have we come to! We should criminalize certain forms of eating now?” Or, “yes, about time they realized that the reinforcing effects of certain foods may pose health risks for people who cannot afford to consume such foods.” )

Finally, consider the involvement of the food industry. If the government is going to attack our behavior as “unhealthy,” is it because we have been duped (or seduced) by food manufacturers?

Can The Bacteria In Your Gut Explain Your Mood?

(I will be posting some questions in response to this article in resources. Extra credit – no more than 2% of your total grade – will be available for doing this reading)