Skip to Content

Overeating causes changes in brain structure

gummi bears.jpg

The habit of overeating, when sustained over a long period of time, could damage pathways in the hypothalamus - a part of the brain that regulates metabolism.

A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and the British Journal of Nutrition found that a high consumption of fat and sugar can damage these critical nerves, which disrupts the function of "hunger hormones" ghrelin and leptin.

The research may help explain why some people find it difficult to lose weight, despite making repeated lifestyle or dietary changes.

"To explain a biologically elevated body weight 'set-point,' investigators in the field [have] speculated about the existence of fundamental changes to brain neurocircuits that control energy balance," said senior study author Michael Schwartz.

Undoing damage

Schwartz says the findings are the first direct evidence of structural changes in the brain being linked to overeating.

According to Dr. Louis Aronne, obesity expert at New York-Presbyterian Hospital /Weill Cornell Medical Center, some of the brain damage sustained by overeating may be permanent, but some could be also be reversible.

"Change your diet, and change it fast," Aronne said in an International Business Times article. "If less fatty food comes in, it reduces the rate of damage."

Source: International Business Times