“I’m Big Brained”

How Your Brain Can Cause Obesity

When you think about the cause of obesity, maybe you think about fast food and cookie dough. But another culprit, according to a recent study, could be the brain. This study has shown that the brains of lean and obese individuals differ in their reaction to images of food and how they metabolize glucose, and this may be the reason certain people lack control with eating (not to discount the fact that the smell of In-N-Out plays mind games with all of us).

Measuring participants’ brain responses via MRI scans, researchers found that obese individuals had a stronger response to images of food in the brain’s rewards processing regions compared to lean individuals. For obese individuals, images of food also generated a weaker response in the brain’s regions involved in cognitive control.

Additionally, obese individuals’ brain glucose metabolism was significantly higher in the regions of the brain involved in processing rewards than it was for lean individuals.

These findings suggest that obese individuals may overeat due to their brains constantly generating signals that entice them to eat unnecessarily.  Knowing this may help medical professionals to develop more effective drugs and psychological treatments of obesity. 

We’re just hoping that once they figure this out, they’ll be able to find a way of turning on our receptors to raw kale and tofu.



Source: Suomen Akatemia (Academy of Finland) (2012). Obesity is associated with altered brain function. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120209131452.htm

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