High on food – New studies show that diet alters brain functions
by Raw Michelle | Natural News
(NaturalNews) It may come as no surprise that what we eat affects the brain, and this is most obvious when looking at dietary disorders like obesity, compulsive overeating, and diabetes. The annual conference of the Society for Neuroscience took place between October 13 and October 17, and featured several new studies that investigate the relationship between brain function and food.
Bad dietary choices cast your brain into a vicious circle
One study showed that obesity influences brain function, by making the brain consume more resources to fulfill complex decision-making tasks. This means that the brain of an obese person needs to work harder to achieve the same results as the brain of a person of a healthy body weight. To determine this, scientists used MRIs to look at the brains of 29 study participants as they were completing a decision test, and found that obese people showed significantly more brain activity.
But what does this tell us exactly? The science team theorized that obese people get pulled into a vicious circle, where unhealthy food choices weaken the brain’s ability to make good decisions, therefore, leading to even more unhealthy food choices.
Unhealthy food works like a drug
More and more scientists timidly point to the similarities between compulsive overeating and drug addiction. It is almost as if they don’t quite want to go there, although new studies consistently provide evidence that strengthens this claim.
One such study, which was led by Dr. Tony Goldstone and was presented at the 2012 Neuroscience conference, showed that the brain encodes the value of food items according to how pleasurable or rewarding they are when eaten. This mechanism is also involved in drug addiction, and accounts for why many former addicts are in danger of relapsing even after being “clean” for a long time.
What you can do to end the vicious circle of unhealthy eating
People who suffer from eating disorders often eat at random hours. According to research, eating three meals per day, including a filling breakfast, can help stabilize your diet. Dr. Goldstone’s study showed that the brains of people who skip breakfast are much more likely to be stimulated by images of unhealthy foods.
Another important aspect that can help balance a diet is finding alternate ways of dealing with stress. Personal development is a key component of overcoming addictions of any kind. Individuals who have struggled with eating disorders often say that finding emotional and psychological balance is a life-changing experience that can make the difference between staying “clean” and relapsing into a bad relationship with food.
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