Obesity isn’t exactly something that’s very well understood in mainstream society.
Many people believe obesity comes down to individual choices and discipline. One might believe, for example, that overweight individuals simply eat too much unhealthy food or don’t get enough exercise. While unhealthy foods or a lack of physical activity can certainly contribute to weight gain, it turns out there’s much more behind the condition.
According to a study published in the journal Obesity, the brain of an obese individual actually functions differently than those with more of a lean body type. To come up with that finding, researchers enlisted 30 women aged 18-65 and used MRI’s to track brain activity. What researchers found was that the brain activity of lean and overweight individuals remained about the same when both parties were hungry. When they ate, brain activity associated with appetite quickly diminished in lean women but remained elevated in obese women.
What that means is that obese people’s genetics leave them predisposed to literally crave more food than leaner folks. Particularly, the obese participants in the study maintained high levels of activity in the midbrain after eating, which is also one of the body’s most important reward centres.
Put simply, those are some pretty tough urges to fight.
This kind of brain activity can lead people to want to eat when they don’t even necessarily feel hungry–something people with smaller body types likely don’t have to deal with.
And that, friends, is some serious food for thought.