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There’s a New Reason You Can’t Lose Weight

There’s a New Reason You Can’t Lose Weight

October 22, 2020

Medical Research

Yahoo! Life — If you’re looking to keep your weight under control, common knowledge would have you believing it boils down primarily to two things: the number of calories you consume and the number of calories you burn off.

While these factors certainly play a prominent role, you may have found that no matter how many salads you eat and how many workouts you do, you still can’t shed those pounds. Why? Well, new research is shedding light on the fact that thinking of weight loss purely in terms of the physical acts of eating and exercising is a mistake.

Prof. Iris Shai

In reality, the reason you can’t lose weight may be because of the way your brain is seeing and smelling food. Researchers at the Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) recently discovered what they describe as “a neural subnetwork of connected regions between the brain and gastric basal electric frequency that correlates with future weight loss based on connectivity patterns.”

In lay terms, this means that people who see and smell food in a way that triggers their brain more enthusiastically are the same people who consistently overeat and gain weight.

The study looked at 92 people during an 18-month lifestyle weight loss intervention, led by Prof. Iris Shai of the Department of Epidemiology at BGU’s School of Public Health. All had a large waist circumference and abnormal level of blood lipids (the fatty substances found in the blood, including cholesterol and triglycerides).

Prof. Galia Avidan

“It appears that visual information may be an important factor triggering eating,” says principal investigator Prof. Galia Avidan, from the BGU Departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Psychology. “This is reasonable, given that vision is the primary sense in humans.”

The findings, which were published the journal Neuroimage, led the researchers to conclude that “weight loss is not merely a matter of willpower, but is actually connected to much more basic visual and olfactory cues.”

Further research is needed on the link between your eyes and your weight, but this latest study suggests we need to think of weight loss as being as much to do with neurology as it is biology.

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