Study: Diet success lies in the brain!
Study: Diet success lies in the brain!

A study that was published in the journal Cognitive Neuroscience suggest that people who are trying to lose weight and keep it, the problem may actually be in the brain. The ability to self-regulate body weight could be down to each individual's brain structure.

Dieting and trying to lose weight has increased with time, but obesity has also increased in recent decades. Obesity is a problem worldwide, but particularly in the United States. Obesity increases the risk of many chronic diseases such as heart diseases, strokes and type 2 diabetes and in certain cancers as well.

According to the researchers of the latest study, chronic dieters are known to show extreme reactions to food cues in both the executive control and reward areas of the brain.

The team carried out their research on a group of 36 chronic female dieters who had a mean body fat percentage of 29.6 and a mean body mass index of 23.9.

The researchers asked the study participants to make simple judgments on images to avert their attention from the real task at hand, which was a food cue reactivity task. This was designed to pinpoint the executive control and reward areas in the brain through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Based on the fMRI results, it was found that the participants showed greater reactivity to food images than control images. The researchers note that it is unclear whether these differences in white matter integrity resulted from repeated dieting.

However, they add that although "a previous study found that repeatedly practicing a task can lead to increased [measures of white matter integrity] in particular fiber tracts, it is also possible that failures in dieting lead to obesity and obesity-related factors."

The team says the findings support their hypothesis that structural integrity in the brain coincides with individual body fat differences. They say it is also indicative of dieting success and add: 
"Individuals with reduced integrity may have difficulty in overriding rewarding temptations, leading to a greater chance of becoming obese than those with higher structural integrity."

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