Brains Of Obese Individuals Wired Differently For High-Calorie Foods

Researchers at Yale University and the University of Southern California have determined that the brains of people who are severely overweight may be wired differently for high calorie foods when they experience low blood sugar levels.

A total of 21 individuals were involved in the study. This included 5 obese participants, 9 normal weight participants, and 7 people to act as experimental controls. The scientists studied the blood flow in the brain using MRI, focusing on the regions of the brain that regulate behavior and impulse control.

The participants were shown pictures of both high and low calorie foods, as well as non-food pictures. During this time, the participants’ insulin and glucose levels were controlled and manipulated in order to examine the effects of low blood sugar levels on their desire for high calorie foods.

The researchers noted an increased craving for high calorie foods when blood sugar levels dropped, and greater blood flow to the area of the brain that motivates us to stop eating when blood sugar levels were normal. These differences were considerably more pronounced in the obese participants.

The researchers have suggested that people who are overweight should consume small, regular, healthy meals in order to maintain normal blood sugar levels. They also note that obese individuals are especially vulnerable to the constant food images provided through television and other media sources in today’s society.

Further research is required with more participants, in order to examine whether the brains of obese people are wired differently, or if this is an effect of the obesity itself.

Source: The Journal of Clinical Investigation

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

Find a Treatment Facility Near You

Click on a state below to find eating disorder treatment options that could be right for you.

The information provided on EatingDisorders.com is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes and we encourage all visitors to see a licensed physician if they believe that they have an eating disorder. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of EatingDisorders.com nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

Copyright © 2008-2017 EatingDisorders.com.
Company Information

© 2017 EatingDisorders.com. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of EatingDisorders.com's terms of service and privacy policy. The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.