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01 Nov

Obesity, the brain and genetics:

A new Canadian study published in August 2018 adds weight to the idea that obesity is linked to the way that we think and that this could well be inherited.

How so?

The study examined magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other data from 1,200 people, and found that brain functions differed in those more likely to become obese. As a result, they were less able to resist visual food cues and less swayed by the negative consequences of overeating.

People with a higher body mass index (BMI) were found to have:

·         A thicker left pre-frontal cortex

·         A thinner right pre-frontal cortex

·         More volume in the left amygdala

·         Less volume in the entorhinal-parahippocampal structures of the brain.

Stay with us.

These differences in brain structure are felt likely to account for:

·         over-eating – associated also in earlier studies with a damaged right pre-frontal cortex

·         a reduced ability to resist prompts to eat

·         a reduced ability to be swayed by the known results of over-eating, because of a weaker memory function and less ability to set things in context.

Researchers also found that genetics affect obesity, which is evident through the structure and functions of the brain.

Phew.

So, is there hope for us?

Researchers think there’s scope to retrain the brain to help people to resist food. So, just as we can use cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to retrain our thought patterns when we are suffering from depression, it seems we can also use it to manage over-eating.

The argument is therefore that diet should not be the only focus of a weight loss programme. That behaviour modification very definitely needs to be in the mix too.

Is this news?

Well, yes and no. It puts some scientific findings around what we at Practically Slim, and others, have known for a while. Dieters and maintainers need support with managing their behaviour and not just their calories. And people with obese relatives may need even more, as the brain systems driving them are likely to run in families.

Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. We offer not only weekly support groups, in line with the best run slimming companies, but a free psychological profile report, your ‘diet map’, to help you understand how you tick. How you make decisions and are motivated. A prerequisite, wouldn’t you say, to managing how you’d prefer to tick?

That’s because we realise that understanding why, and not what you eat, is a major part of your weight-loss journey.

Why not give us a call to take your first step into Practically Slim’s warm, supportive family. We think you’ll find we can help.

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