Dieting Study Shows Losing Weight is Directly Linked with the Self-Control Parts of Your Brain -

Dieting Study Weight Loss and the Brain

The results of a new dieting study have shown that higher-level functions in the brain play an important role in weight loss. The study was a small one, involving the participation of 24 people at a weight loss clinic. Still, the people who were the most successful in their weight loss were also the people whose lateral prefrontal cortex brain region activity was the greatest. That part of the brain is highly associated with self-control.

The researchers published the dieting study results in the October 18, 2018 issue of the Cell Metabolism Journal.

Dieting Study Findings

Alain Dagher, head researcher in the dieting study from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital explained the findings. He said they determined that human body weight control is “dependent largely on the areas of the brain involved in self-control and self-regulation.”

He pointed out that the part of the brain responsible for those functions is capable of taking long-term information into account. This type of information includes goals such as being more healthy. That way, it can help to regulate immediate desires in order to achieve the greater purpose.

The Role of Hormones in Weight Control

The two hormones known to trigger the sensation to feel hungry – and therefore, to eat – during weight loss are ghrelin and leptin. Prior dieting study has shown that these hormones can experience rapid and sudden level changes during times of weight loss.

Dagher stated that anyone who loses weight will experience a leptin and ghrelin level change. That said, he added that in the case of some people, for unknown reasons, there is an improved ability to keep up self-regulation even when those hormone signals are active. Therefore, the research team wanted to use the dieting study to look into that improved self-regulation ability.

fMRI Tests on Dieter Brains

The researchers asked the dieting study participants to undergo fMRI tests to assess the parts of the brain responsible for self-control and regulation. What they found was that, regardless of hormone levels, it was the people whose lateral prefrontal cortex was more active who achieved better results with their weight loss efforts.

The diet study researchers feel that their findings indicate that future weight loss treatments may place a greater focus on self-control improvements, such as through cognitive behavioral therapy. This would be combined with more traditional weight management strategies.