The brain is a powerful organ. It assembles messages and amongst its numerous functions; lets us know when we’re hungry. But is the brain making you fat?
The hypothalamus is a small region of the brain but (and to use a term more commonly used in sports) it punches way above its weight and effectively too! Its multiple functions include the regulation of our body temperature and emotional responses. It also controls our appetite.
The hunger hormones, leptin and ghrelin, are in direct communication with the hypothalamus. Leptin sends out a signal to the brain to let it know that we don't need to eat anymore as we’ve reached the required capacity in terms of energy extraction from the food we eat. However, when inflammation occurs to the brain, communication between the leptin and the hypothalamus is cut off. This disables the brain’s ability to let us know that we are full and as a consequence, we continue to eat.
Stress, depression and anxiety are just some psychological conditions that disrupt your entire body system including the brain. They can lead to binge eating as a coping mechanism and this is not only detrimental to our weight but our overall wellness as well.
Another harming psychological effect that ironically can lead to excess weight gain is dieting. Our body is designed for survival. We may be on a diet but the body still needs sustenance to function and most times, it doesn’t register that we are on a diet. So it sends signals to the brain that we are not eating enough and this often leads to overeating.
Also when the body notes that food is scarce, it will go into saving mode. This means our metabolism slows down to stop us from burning fat. With that said, dieting is not necessarily a bad thing. The key is to do it safely and appropriately as per your own body needs.
In general, the brain is responsible for many things. To help it function properly, the quality of the food we eat is important. When we eat healthy and pair that habit with healthy lifestyle practices such as exercise, yoga and others – you’ll experience positive changes to both body and mind. It’s time to take control of your brain and wellness.