For a long time, weight-related issues were linked to the patient’s lack of inactivity. In order to avoid health complications, doctors promote a healthy lifestyle based on a balanced diet and regular exercise. However, when it comes to gaining several pounds, especially during the holidays season, researchers say that the brains of obese individuals actually encourage inactivity.
Initial theories revolved around the fact that carrying extra body weight is physically too demanding and ultimately disabling. However study author, an investigator from the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases specialized in endocrinology, diabetes, and obesity, Alexxai Kravitz believes the problem life elsewhere.
According to the survey’s findings, dopamine signaling could be at fault. The researchers say that dopamine is a brain chemical critical for movement. When they looked at obese mice, the scientists observed reduced levels of dopamine in the subjects’ brains, which consequently led to inactivity and later on to gaining extra weight.
For the experiment, Alexxai Kravitz and his team fed two mouse populations with different types of food. One group was fed with natural, lean foods, while the other received a high-fat diet plan. As expected, mice who ate fat saturated foods put on more weight and faster than mice who were eating healthy. However, the team of researchers noticed that the dopamine levels dropped before the mice actually put on any weight. Further research showed that once the dopamine levels plummeted, the mice became inactive and ultimately put on excessive body fat. The study has been made public on Thursday, December 29th in the journal Cell Metabolism.
During a press conference, Alexxai Kravitz told the reporters that one way to change behavioral patterns is through sheer willpower. At the same time he also believes that before individuals set out to drastically change their behavior, they need to fully understand the underlying physical basis for it. Without this knowledge, Kravitz doubts that willpower alone is the answer.
Even though the findings speak for themselves, the team of researcher says that animal results do not necessarily apply to humans as well. In order to fully understand the underlying causes of obesity, more research is to be done.
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