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Brain Changes Could Be A Reason It’s Hard To Lose Weight: Study

Brain Changes Could Be A Reason It's Hard To Lose Weight: Study

Researchers observed 60 participants over 40 years old

If you’ve been struggling to lose weight even after a lot of effort, then this could be the reason. A recent study has found that it’s not just about willpower that takes to lose weight, experts say how your brain responds to food may make a big difference.

According to a recent study published in Nature Metabolism, the brain responds to nutrients differently in people who have obesity, even after meaningful weight loss.

For the study, researchers observed 60 participants over 40 years old. Half of the participants were obese and others were not.

The researchers tried different solutions containing glucose, lipids and water to understand how the brain responds to food in these two groups. These solutions were infused into participants’ stomachs on separate days. The experts measured the brain response with functional MRI scans for about 30 minutes post-infusion, they also measured hormonal levels in the blood and participant-reported hunger scores.

The result showed that the group of participants without obesity had appropriate activation of reward centres in the brain in response to the nutrients, ABC News reported. However, these same brain areas were not activated on the scan for participants with obesity.

Even after three months of scans, the finding did not change.

The experts say that the lack of reward response often leads to overeating and makes it difficult to change eating habits contributing to weight gain.

“The leap forward in this study is that they’re showing this is happening in humans, too, but the response is completely blunted in people with obesity,” Alexandra DiFeliceantonio, a co-author of the study, said.

The nutrient signalling between the gut and the brain helps people choose what they eat, but the signalling is “broken in some way” due to obesity, DiFeliceantonio added.

Meanwhile, the researchers could not determine when exactly the signalling becomes impaired or how.

However, through diet, lifestyle changes and medications the researchers hope to find a way to correct the nutrient signalling in the future.

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