Are you having a hard time losing weight? Brain chemistry can be to blame!

Researchers at the Polytechnic Institute and Virginia State University are examining the brain chemicals involved in our craving for fatty foods, and they come to a conclusion: Obesity has more to do with brain processes than willpower. At the heart of the research is leptin, known as the starvation hormone.

According to the researchers, the peptide in question may be the main culprit for the recurrence of excessive intake of fatty foods in people who have undergone successful diets to control obesity – which is in fact most of them. Tests show that some people are prone to put on weight even when following the recommended exercises and cures.

Guilt over dieting and cravings for fatty foods may not stem from a lack of individual willpower – but hormones (Photo: Prostock-studio / Envato)

Leptin and weight gain

Leptin is one of the hormones produced by fat cells, which can reduce appetite by signaling that you are full when energy stores are adequate. Some of the substance is also produced in the stomach after eating, circulating through the body and going to the brain. In interaction with the brainstem and hypothalamus, leptin helps keep the body healthy by affecting metabolism, regulating the endocrine system and the immune system.

Blood levels of the drug are lower in thinner people, but the numbers can vary depending on when you last ate and sleep patterns: Avoiding fatty foods can help curb your appetite because it affects your body’s leptin levels. The thing is, some overweight people do not respond well to the appetite-suppressing signals released by leptin – some studies say that obesity can lead to resistance to these hormonal effects.

When the body resists appetite suppression, the feeling of satiety never comes, causing you to eat more, even when there is enough fat stored. In this state, the body also enters a “hungry” state, which lowers energy levels and causes us to use fewer calories to maintain fat stores.

As science better understands the relationship between hormones, brain and fat, more weight loss treatments may be developed (Image: Nestea06 / Envato Elements)
As science better understands the relationship between hormones, brain and fat, more weight loss treatments may be developed (Image: Nestea06 / Envato Elements)

Some studies over the years have focused on therapeutic approaches to controlling starvation hormones in the fight against obesity and leptin resistance. Certain scientists injected hunger-blocking hormones into mice after diets, preventing the rebound effect; others study the link between adipose tissue and the brain and the release of hormones; one last found a link between hormones in the gut that block the effects of leptin and act more on fatty diets.

Leptin was discovered in 1994, but is still being studied as we do not fully understand how it relates to other hormones, body fat and obesity-related brain circuits. The experience we learn from studies like this is, in short, that obesity is not to blame for individuals’ lack of willpower – and research such as those mentioned here are looking for therapeutic approaches that can address the hormonal conditions involved in weight gain. .

As usual, the best thing you can do until leptin treatments are complete is to eat a nutritious, balanced, low-fat diet, exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes most days, and deal with stress and sleep habits. Hopefully, from research like this, we will better understand why people end up stopping their diets – without falling into personal guilt for it.

Source: WebMD

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