Brain Scans of Dieters Predict Weight-loss Success

When humans lose weight, the levels of hormones leptin and ghrelin change to promote hunger and eating, which makes it difficult for some dieters to maintain the self-control usually required to
maintain a caloric deficit. However, researchers in charge of a study recently published in Cell Metabolism have observed differences in brain activity that correlate with increased self-control in the face of these altered hormones during dieting. In the study, 24 participants with overweight or obesity were placed on a diet of 1,200 calories per day. The participants perceived functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans at the start of the study, then again at one month and three months into the study. During these scans, participants were shown images of delicious food, which triggered increased activity in the ventral medial prefrontal cortex, part of the brain responsible for desire. At one and three months, participants with MRI scans that showed the most prominent decrease in ventral medial prefrontal cortex activity and the largest increase in activity of the lateral prefrontal cortex (involved in self-control) also achieved the greatest weight loss.

SOURCE: Neseliler S, et al. Neurocognitive and Hormonal Correlates of Voluntary Weight Loss in Humans. Cell Metabolism: Clinican and Translational Report [internet]. 18 Oct 2018. DOI:https:// NHR

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