Professor John Gunstad of the Department of Psychological Sciences at Kent State University, talks about his revolutionary research on the effect of losing weight to the brain.
According to professor Gunstad, during the first week of the switch into a healthy diet, losing weight may come easy. However, as the metabolism adapts, fewer calories get burned, too. It means that by then, losing more weight will become more challenging as well.
Additionally, as body fats melt, an increase in appetite will follow. It’s because the fat cells release a hormone called leptin into the bloodstream. Leptin surge consequences to the brain signals that tell us we’re already full and we should stop eating. Therefore, when a person loses weight, a great measure of leptin goes down as well.
In the research, brain scans were performed to obese patients who were starting to lose 10% of their weight. The scans showed that as the amount of leptin decreases, regions that are responsible for our desire to eat become active.
The problem doesn’t end there. People who experience a decrease in the levels of their leptin may start to feel stronger urges to eat fatty, high-calorie foods. Because the brain is trying to recover the lost amount of leptin in the body, it demands for more fatty foods.
Still, resisting the temptation to eat high-calorie grubs will bring valuable rewards over time. Saying no to your favorite pizza and donut has a bigger impact on your body.
Losing weight reduces the risk for heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol. Furthermore, researchers have discovered that overweight people who lose one pound of their body weight, reduce four pounds of pressure on their knee joints.
Weight loss also improves overall brain function, as it reduces the strain on the blood vessels. Thus, blood flow to the brain improves.
In other studies, researchers have found out, the people who underwent weight loss surgeries have improved memory, concentration, and problem-solving skills within just three months.
Additionally, the brain scans of people who lost weight and managed to maintain it for 9 months, showed that the brain responds differently to high-calorie foods compared to before they lose weight.
The regions for reward, motivation and taste didn’t react strongly. Rather, it’s the areas that process self-control become active.
Discipline and self-control pay off when it comes to the fighting temptations for unhealthy food. Just like anything else, eliminating a few pounds gets easier through time and practice.
Learn more about the effects of weight loss on the brain and body here: