I wish I had been able to attend the Your Weight Matters Convention this week and listen to some of the educational speakers on the subject of obesity. Luckily I have many friends in the media and supporters across the pond who are keeping me informed – I hope to pass on their observations of anything they find particularly noteworthy. Here’s the first from an opening speech/lecture that is part of the educational programme. I think you’ll find it interesting ….
How Your Brain Controls Your Weight
Randy Seeley opened the educational program for the fourth annual Your Weight Matters National Convention with a dive into neuroscience on Friday. With exceptional clarity, he explained how your brain controls your weight — just like it controls your body temperature and your breathing.
And just as you can temporarily stop your breathing for only a short time, he explained how your brain takes over when you start messing with your weight. Through a complex system of hormones such as leptin and melatocortins, the brain regulates body weight with astonishing accuracy. Food restriction can cause temporary changes in weight. But over the longer term, the brain brings the body back to the same weight it had before food was restricted.
So if the brain is so good at this, why is everyone’s weight drifting up? Increasingly, it’s becoming apparent that our food is acting in some ways like a hormone that serves to reset the body’s target weight. It’s not so much the calories in the food, but the composition of the food that can affect signals to the brain that regulate body weight.
In a reference to weight bias that is so prevalent and especially prevalent in people who feel unaffected by obesity, Seeley said:
When I lecture on this subject, I encounter lean people who have a hard time accepting this information. They want to take credit for being lean. They need to spend some time cleaning rat cages in my lab.
Folks who have lived with obesity and enjoyed the benefits of successful treatment have learned about the obesity the hard way. Obesity has more to do with biology than virtue.
Comment courtesy of http://conscienhealth.org