TAME OBESITY BY TAMING THE HUNGRY BRAIN

Our brain seems hungrier than our stomach. We know we should eat less and exercise more. Still we don’t like to follow what we know. The fault lies in our head. The urge to eat too much is wired into our head. Neurobiologists say that a multitude of systems in the brain encourages eating. “No single silver bullet will ever work.” The brains of the overweight are wired to feel more pleasure in response to food. We simply enjoy eating more. This habit of overeating evolved in us because we were not sure of the next meal. Our brain’s prime directive thus has been to equip the body to meet this challenge. A consequence of this is that we developed obese prone ‘default eat’ system. We now need remedial measures to counter the effects of the system. The researchers compare the phenomena of overeating with drug addicts who require greater amounts of drugs to feel the same reward. Chronic dieters are more susceptible than average to overeating. When under stress, people like to eat high-calorie food. This is due to the association of stress pathways in the limbic system to the areas of the brain associated with seeking rewards. Eating high-calorie food is reward-seeking behaviour. Taming obesity probably lies in taming a hungry brain.