Obesity affects your brain!

Yes, as surprising as it may seem, it is true! We all know that being obese is stressful for our blood pressure, blood glucose, heart, waist and more importantly, our wardrobe, but recent research also proves that obesity affects your brain as well, and not in a positive way.

Research by The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, published in 2007, reported obese people have greater volumes of white matter in several basal regions of the brain, compared to their leaner counterparts.


The study, carried out by researchers Lauri T. Haltia et al, stated that ‘obese individuals showed a positive correlation between white matter volume in basal brain structures and waist to hip ratio.’

Why is the colour of the brain matter important? Well, grey matter is associated with processing knowledge and cognition, so the colour of the matter… matters!

In 2011, a study conducted by Cameron J Holloway et al says the rise in plasma free fatty acids reduced cognition and affected heart health as well.

This study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that subjects who ate a high-fat, low carbohydrate diet showed impaired attention, speed and a depressed mood when compared to the control group.

Another study, published in the same year, in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, by Ralph L Widya, reported that in people who are obese, the amygdala (responsible for memory and emotional reactions) and hippocampus (responsible for memory and spatial navigation) regions of the brain are enlarged.

Can obesity change your brain2

And since it is known that in Alzheimer’s diseasehippocampus is affected, obese people are more prone to Alzheimer’s compared to the leaner population.

In a more recently published study, in the journal Neurology, researchers at the French public research body INSERM reported obesity results in an increase in the progression of mental decline.

The research director of the institute stated ‘Obesity, in those who were metabolically unhealthy, was associated with poor cognitive function at the start of the study and greater cognitive decline over 10 years.’

We all know fats and oils make the food taste good and flavourful. But we need to remember, not all things that taste good are good for our health.

Foods rich in fats are addictive because the rich flavour gives you pleasure and comfort, and consumed in very small measures will not cause harm, but as this research shows, being obese can have a really bad impact upon both your physical and your mental health.

The most common problem obese people report is the vicious circle of stress.

To counter the stress they eat high fat and high calorie food. This gives short-lived respite, but then they get stressed about the food they have eaten, and again turn to comfort food.

The best thing to do in situations is to find an alternative stress-buster. Easier said than done, but sites like Watchfit can help you find an exercise you like, or a trainer who motivates you, and you can gradually beat the fat habit and discover new ways to deal with life’s stresses.

Remember, good health involves balancing the calorie intake with physical activity, the longer you stick to this rule the healthier you stay.

Written by: Priyanka Droga

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