According to a new study, published in the Cell Metabolism journal, improved brain functions have a significant role in losing weight. As the researchers from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital in Canada reported, the weight loss success depends on the self-control regions in the brain.
“What we found is that in humans, the control of body weight is dependent largely on the areas of the brain involved in self-control and self-regulation. That area of the brain has the ability to take into account long-term information, such as the desire to be healthy, in order to control immediate desires,” explained Alain Dagher from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital in Canada.
According to the research, leptin and ghrelin are the two hormones that force the body to consume food in a “weight-loss mode.”
“Everybody who loses weight sees this change in leptin and ghrelin. It is just that some people, for reasons we do not know, are able to maintain their self-regulation in the face of that signal,” said Dagher.
Weight Loss Success Linked To Self-Control Regions In The Brain
The researchers compared the brain activity of the 24 participants in the research whenever they showed them some images of tasty foods. “When we show pictures of appetizing foods, the ventral medial prefrontal cortex area becomes more active on MRI,” Dagher explained.
“In the fMRI, the self-control area increased its activity, and the value area decreased its activity. And the amount of change was predictive of successful weight loss,” Dagher added.
However, those who had fMRI levels hinting to activated self-control regions in the brain presented more successful weight loss progress than those with lower levels of self-control.
“These results suggest that weight loss treatments that increase self-control, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, may be helpful, particularly when stress is involved in leading to overeating. Stress disrupts the lateral prefrontal cortex control mechanism, but you may be able to train people to seek a different strategy,” Alain Dagher concluded.