Polar Bear

Polar Bear
My Boy

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Your issues helped you get fat, what helps you stay there?

My answers to this question are:
1.  I love food
2.  My huge clothes fit just fine
3.  I was comfortable having the freedom to stuff my face and follow my cravings (read:  complacent)

What are your answers?

BUT, there may be something novel taking an effect that you hadn't considered...

In the January 6th issue of Obesity, a highly respected and extremely stringent scientific journal, David Val-Laillet and his French collaborators did a very interesting study in mini-swine (a smaller, more domesticated breed of pig).

They were pursuing a trend seen in adult human males-where obese males had less activation (lesser functioning) in the prefrontal cortex of their brains, compared to their lean counterparts.

And, you guessed it, the prefrontal cortex is important for inhibiting inappropriate behavior, feeling full, and meal termination.

So they used age and weight-matched pigs to make sure trends seen were consistent.  They then induced obesity in half of them via high fat diet (sound familiar?).  They then measured brain flow, which is a measurable way to look at brain activity (this was what was measured in humans too, as stated above).  They were looking for brain areas that had activity differences between the fat & thin groups.

They saw MANY activity differences in other areas of the brain between the obese and lean group-but importantly they confirmed that there is less activity in the prefrontal cortex in the chunky piggies.

So they concluded that this reduced pig brain activity most likely corresponds to that seen in humans, and that this change is an 'ACQUIRED FEATURE OF OBESITY'.

What does that mean for us, my lovlies?  Getting fat eventually shuts down the area of the brain we need MOST to lose the weight!  How counter intuitive is that???? But is this an excuse???  Heck no, we don't need any more excuses!

This study will have to be done in women to confirm the same findings, BUT any of you with a bunch of estrogen (read:women) can probably figure out the ending here without a finished study...  I know for me, the fatter I got, the less full I felt, and consuming huge meals were no obstacle.

So-it's not ALL your past issues, love for food, external pressures, enabling environment that made you fatter or kept you heavy.  Does this make you feel a little less dysfunctional and mental?  There IS a physiological difference between our and 'normal' lean people's brains!

Good-now go eat some damn veggies and burn those cals, since it doesn't matter how we got here-there is one road out (no matter your diet plan, surgery, method).  Well two really-but the latter dead end is not a road any of us want to travel...

But maybe we are a lot more similar to each other than we think, at least physiologically speaking...so strength in numbers!  Now go take back your prefrontal cortex!!!

22 comments:

Kelly said...

Very interesting. I always said it didn't matter how full I was, or how un-hungry I was--I could always eat. Whenever I heard talk of appetite suppressants, I laughed--psh--I'm not hungry? So. I'm still gonna eat, because it tastes so freakin good.

Prefrontal cortex--you are mine!

Ann said...

That is really fascinating. I hadn't heard any information about that study, but I'm honestly not surprised. There are SO MANY side effects of obesity from the obvious (heart attack, stroke) to to less obvious (vericose veins and certain types of cancer). But - the good news is that the only person responsible for putting food in your mouth is YOU!! :)

Sarah said...

This was very interesting! Thanks for sharing this.

Sarah
notaneffingdiet.blogspot.com

Shannon said...

who would have thunk it

great post!

Call me Ishmael said...

So...I really am a pig? Or the pigs really are like me, I guess? So the trick is to become a skinny pig.

Karla said...

sounds like a childrens book.... "The skinny pig" .... a.k.a ... Karla

LOL

Twix said...

Is it the fat layer, the hormones out of whack, or both? Hmmm.. interesting find! :)

Patrick said...

I have been known to eat like a pig. Or, is it that pigs have been known to eat like me?

weightingfor50 said...

What an interesting post!!! Thanks for sharing, have a good rest of the week.

Ash said...

Wow, that's craaazy. I can see how that could be true, though. I'm jonesing for a snack right now because I don't feel full enough, but I know I ate well enough to keep me feeling full. Reading this now, though, I saw this kind of reaction in my mom earlier, and it makes me wonder... Food for thought, no pun intended. =p

Thanks for sharing!

Patrick said...

Ah, I just read your comment to me re: Planks and doing a 2:55 straight arm, AWESOME! Did you get a video of it? If so, please do share your awesome accomplishment and your drive to top that 4 minute mark!

Lanie Painie said...

It makes sense - we condition ourselves to eat more and more and more. So what's the answer? Labotomy?

The Ninja said...

This is something I need to find and print for my hubs, he thinks that he can just eventually do something about his weight, He's making me crazy.

fatgirlwearingthin said...

Excellent post, and gives a lot to consider. You're right, it's no excuse but it sure makes me feel a little bit better about myself now that I can let go of the idea that it was all in my head - well, you know what I mean! Thanks for this post.

Deb Willbefree said...

You know, the most striking aspect of these findings to me is that the brain activity changes occurred AFTER obesity. They were not there BEFORE. Lesser activity did not cause overeating, it resulted from it. :( So much for excuses on how I got fat.

It is evidence of why it is so hard to STOP beign fat, tho. :) Did the study address whether or not the brain activity returns to normal after weight loss?

Thanks for this. I love research. Hmmm. That must be an acquired taste. chuckle. I surely didn't love my college rersearch classes!

Deb

Bethanny said...

Im thinking of throwing out all of my largest clothes, but I am terrified to do it....

Anne H said...

Help me - I'm melting - I'm melting in all my beautiful Wickedness!
And my little brain, too!
Yikes!

Big White Granny Panties said...

Does this mean that when we LOSE the fat, we get our brains back? Like returning from a fat induced coma?

Stephanie said...

Your answers fit mine perfectly. I just love to eat - plain and simple. I love the smells, the textures - the whole experience. I don't have many huge clothes though. When I lost 50 pounds a couple of years ago, I gave them all away. And, of course, here I am with those pounds back plus more and no money to buy new clothes. Ugh. It's a vicious cycle I'm working hard to break.

dvl said...

Dear blogger,
Thank you for sharing these results. I am glad to know that scientific papers are discussed outside of the scientific community. To answer your question, similar findings have been found in obese women, but the good news is that this "acquired feature of obesity" (i.e. decreased prefrontal cortex activity) can be reversed after a successful weight loss (see the paper published by Le et al. in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007). Yes, you have the power to "reprogram" your brain.
Thanks again,
D. Val-Laillet

Polar's Mom said...

DVL is correct, the paper cited (Le et al.) did address this effect in women-and not only compared obese and lean subjects, but previously obese women, too-the latter two groups showed more prefrontal cortex activity than the obese group. So apparently you CAN take your brain back after weight loss! Thanks for visiting DVL, I'm a senior PhD student at UT Southwestern, so every once in a while I find a great relevant paper during pubmed searches that I think readers would enjoy and find interesting in light of our weight loss journeys.

Shannon B. said...

It's all in my head. Change my thinking, change my life. That's what I get out of this. Great post!