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What does losing weight do to your brain?

If the long laundry list of reasons you have in your head about the importance of losing weight is not enough, here is another reason to make a change and lose weight today. Did you know that losing weight can actually negatively affect the way that you think? This might seem like a bunch of hocus pocus, after all, what does being overweight have anything to do with how you think?

Well, believe it or not, research has been conducted to prove that losing weight has actually led to positive effects in a person’s brain. That’s not to say that being overweight makes you dumb or stupid, however, there is enough evidence to actually prove that brain functions might be negatively influenced by the presence of too much fat inside of a person’s body.

So, if you’re looking to boost your mental capabilities, or just keep yourself away from diseases having to do with the brain, then one way to start is to make changes in your diet and fitness plans accordingly. In general, it’s just a lot healthier to live life as healthy as you can, it’s good not just for your body but for your mind as well.


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How does fat affect your brain?

Outside of its effects on a person’s body, having a higher body fat percentage can cause someone’s mental capacities to lower. There has been research to suggest that getting rid of excess fat in your body can improve your brain functions. Most of these studies were conducted based on the frequencies inside of an individual’s brain.

To be exact, it’s been said that having too much fat will cause damage to a person’s brain. This damage has not proven to be permanent- in fact the so called damage is treatable.  Specific research in regards to the surgical removal of fat has proven to increase an individual’s brain functions.

The research resulted in “…women with a mean age of 40.5 years and mean body mass index of 50.1 kg/m2 when compared with women with mean body mass index of 22.3 kg/m2 showed increased cerebral metabolism.”

This is in regards to your brain’s ability to metabolize sugar, or glucose, and how much it might affect the flow of blood inside of your brain. Now, it has been said that people who have a higher body fat percentage are known to be able to metabolize these sugars a lot faster than individuals who were considered within the normal scope of body weight.

Higher cerebral blood flow is not considered healthy, and has been known to lead to damage to an individual’s brain structure. Not only that, but the women in the studies went through testing once more- after having gone through surgery, and their brain showed a lot of improvement. Not just in its ability to metabolize sugar, but its ability to execute commands as well.


How will losing weight improve your health?

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If you use the study that had been previously mentioned as an example, the women who had decided to go under the knife and get excess body fat removed had experienced a boost in regards to their  brain functions.

To be specific, all women were tested again after a certain period of time, and they had all shown signs of improvement. “…After 24 weeks the cerebral metabolism of the obese women was lower, similar to the lean women, and there was an improvement of executive function, accompanying changes of metabolic and inflammatory parameters.”

Decreasing your cerebral metabolism, and getting your cerebral blood flow to a more normal state- should result in a much healthier brain. It should also protect it from any permanent brain structure damage, that has been shown to be related to certain illnesses. In short, losing weight should be able to right the wrongs of what having excess fat has done to your brain.

Of course, the women involved in the study had gone through surgery in order to be able to achieve this kind of result. However, that isn’t something that everyone has to do. That only applies for really serious situations, if you can, it would be best to start off fresh with an actual diet and exercise routine. If that’s something you’re struggling with, then consider hiring a personal trainer, or even visiting a doctor and getting their opinion on why your body is struggling so much to lose the weight.  


Mental Health and Obesity

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If you aren’t aware, there has been enough studies to show that being obese makes a person more likely to develop certain mental diseases. If you’ve known someone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, then you’d know that this is not a disease that one would want to trifle with. It has been said that being overweight might increase your chances of developing Alzheimer’s to around 35%.

Also, just in general, people who are overweight are more likely to experience mental disorders. There have been studies done involving the presence of mental disorders in people who are overweight and people who had a normal body fat percentage.

Interestingly enough, most studies would suggest the correlation between obesity and body fat percentage might differ depending on a person’s race. However, this specific study had resulted in “…white and Hispanic youth who were overweight were significantly more likely to report depression or anxiety, feelings of worthlessness or inferiority, behavior problems, and bullying of others.”

On the other hand, the same study received a mix set of results with black subjects. This would suggest that there was no correlation in that case. So this is something that needs to be studied a little more, but overall, there does seem to be some kind of correlation between being overweight and developing mental disorders.


Conclusion

We all know that being overweight is bad for the body. It’s not healthy, and it’s always best to establish some kind of diet and fitness routine. Obesity and its effects on a person’s brain is something that’s going to need further studying, but that doesn’t excuse anyone from doing something and making better and smarter decisions. It doesn’t take much to make a difference, it’s just a matter of having patience and setting achievable goals for yourself.

Resources:

  1. Oxford Academic Changes in Neuropsychological Tests and Brain Metabolism After Bariatric Surgery https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/99/11/E2347/2836241
  2. Rhonda BeLue Mental Health Problems and Overweight in a Nationally Representative Sample of Adolescents: Effects of Race and Ethnicity https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3740571/

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