Researchers working on weight gain say that body weight is regulated by certain brain regions and the food you eat can alter the way these regions function. Understanding such mechanisms and working with your body to fight weight gain is more effective than simply trying to fight biology.
Obesity is fast becoming the world’s biggest epidemic and combating it has a lot to do with the way we understand the biological systems involved in weight gain. Randy Seeley from Donald C. Harrison Endowed Chair clarifies this point:
“How much we weigh is influenced by a number of biological systems, and this is part of what makes it so hard for people to lose weight and keep it off.”
Certain regions of the brain control body weight and the food you eat brings about a change in the way these regions work. A high-fat diet not only causes a build-up of calories in the body, it also alters these brain regions, making them less efficient at performing their role in keeping weight under control.
According to Seeley, the desire to consume fatty food was designed into the human genetic blueprint by nature to ensure survival through tough periods of food scarcity. This is the reason why even today, in spite of the easy availability of food, we still crave high-fat foods.
In a study published in the journal Cell Metabolism, Seeley explains how weight loss is easier to achieve if you keep track of these factors that cause weight gain and use them to work for you rather than against you. Quoting the example of the appetite-depressing hormone leptin that is secreted in the adipose tissue, he explains that eating a diet that is rich in fats inhibits this hormone’s action, consequently leading to weight gain.
So, if you understand this, and reduce the amount of fat you consume, you provide an environment conducive to the action of leptin and thus, harness your biological system to work for, rather than against you.