How Obesity Affects Your Brain

Ever wondered How Obesity Can Affect Your Brain? Can a steady diet of cheeseburgers change your brain? It might just be possible, according to a 2012 study from Nature Neuroscience that linked high fat diets to neurogenesis and obesity in mice.

High fat diets change the brain

The study put mice into two groups: those fed a normal diet and those who feasted regularly on high fat foods. After 1 month of chowing down, adult mice on high fat diets had quadruple the rate of new brain cell growth in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain responsible for regulating many metabolic processes.

But did neurogenesis also cause obesity? To answer this question, researchers irradiated the newly created portions of rats’ brains. Not only did radiation inhibit 85% of neurogenesis, but irradiated mice gained significantly less weight and fat mass compared to the group that kept their new neural growth—even though all of them stayed on the same high fat diet. Furthermore, irradiated mice used more energy and were more active despite their unhealthy diet.

Fighting obesity: current methods

The link between diet, obesity, and the brain is thought-provoking. But take it with a grain of salt: the connection has yet to be confirmed in humans. As we wait for more research, consider some current methods that could help change your eating habits.

Many scientists have pointed out that obesity often functions like an addiction to food in the brain. And a 2012 study from the University of Amsterdam found that challenging cognitive training lowered addiction symptoms in individuals with a drinking problem. People who trained not only drank less—they actually improved memory capacity as well.

As research continues to show that your behaviors change your brain, cognitive training becomes ever more important. Try strengthening your willpower today: exercises similar to Lumosity’s Memory Matrix and Monster Garden were used in the University of Amsterdam study to great effect. Unlock full access today to try out all 35+ games and promote positive change in your brain!

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