Your Brain on a Diet vs Your Brain on a Band

Your brain on a diet works differently than it does after bariatric surgery, like a gastric band. This finding from a study published in the February issue of Obesity adds to our understanding of how diet, exercise, obesity, and its treatment interacts with your brain.

Amanda Bruce and colleagues examined brain function both before and after weight loss in two similar groups of patients with obesity. One group received a behavioral diet intervention and one received an adjustable gastric band (Lap-Band®). People in both groups lost about the same amount of weight, approximately 10%.

They found that the behavioral dieters had a different brain response to food before a meal than the people with a band. The dieters responded with more activity in the medial prefrontal cortex — an area associated with assessing the relevance of a cue. The band patients responded with more activity in the bilateral-temporal cortex — an area responsible for higher level perception. The investigators say this may be because people who consciously restrict their eating find more relevance in food cues. That is, the sight of food grabs their attention more.

This research provides further insight into the interplay between conscious choice and subconscious brain function in how we work with our bodies to regulate our weight. Neurobiology does not define our destiny, but only fools will keep ignoring it.

Click here to read the study in Obesity and here to read more about the effect of obesity on brain function.

Structural Connectome, image © Andreas Horn, Max-Planck-Institute for Human Development, Berlin

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