Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Obese dieters' brain chemistry works against their weight-loss efforts

Date:
June 23, 2011
Source:
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Summary:
When obese individuals reduce their food intake too drastically, their bodies appear to resist their weight loss efforts, new research shows. The researcher particularly cautions against beginning a diet with a fast or cleansing day, which appears to trigger significant alterations in the immune system that work against weight loss.

If you've been trying to lose weight and suspect your body's working against you, you may be right.
Credit: Sandra Cunningham / Fotolia

If you've been trying to lose weight and suspect your body's working against you, you may be right, according to a University of Illinois study published in Obesity.

Related Articles


"When obese persons reduce their food intake too drastically, their bodies appear to resist their weight loss efforts. They may have to work harder and go slower in order to outsmart their brain chemistry," said Gregory G. Freund, a professor in the U of I College of Medicine and a member of U of I's Division of Nutritional Sciences.

He particularly cautions against beginning a diet with a fast or cleansing day, which appears to trigger significant alterations in the immune system that work against weight loss. "Take smaller steps to start your weight loss and keep it going," he said.

In the study, the scientist compared the effects of a short-term fast on two groups of mice. For 12 weeks, one group consumed a low-fat diet (10 percent fat); the other group was fed a high-fat (60 percent fat) and had become obese. The mice were then fasted for 24 hours. In that time, the leaner mice lost 18 percent of their body weight compared to 5 percent for the obese mice.

Freund said that there is an immune component to weight loss that has not been recognized. "Our data show that fasting induces an anti-inflammatory effect on a lean animal's neuroimmune system, and that effect is inhibited by a high-fat diet. Some of the brain-based chemical changes that occur in a lean animal simply don't occur in an obese animal," he said.

This breakdown occurs because obese animals resist down-regulation of genes that activate the interleukin-1 (IL-1) system and associated anti-inflammatory cytokines, he said.

The scientist also studied differences in the behavior of the two groups of mice, monitoring how much they moved, administering tests to discern the animals' ability to learn and remember, and noting whether the mice exhibited signs of depression or anxiety.

The results suggest that beginning a diet with a fast or near-fast may alter brain chemistry in a way that adversely affects mood and motivation, undermining the person's weight-loss efforts.

"The obese mice simply didn't move as much as the other mice. Not only was there reduced locomotion generally, they didn't burrow in the way that mice normally do, and that's associated with depression and anxiety," he said.

Beginning a weight-loss program in a depressed frame of mind and with decreased motivation doesn't bode well for the diet's success, he noted.

Funding was provided by grants from the National Institutes of Health, including the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Desiree N. Lavin, Jennifer J. Joesting, Gabriel S. Chiu, Morgan L. Moon, Jia Meng, Ryan N. Dilger, Gregory G. Freund. Fasting Induces an Anti-Inflammatory Effect on the Neuroimmune System Which a High-Fat Diet Prevents. Obesity, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/oby.2011.73

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. "Obese dieters' brain chemistry works against their weight-loss efforts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110623130935.htm>.
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. (2011, June 23). Obese dieters' brain chemistry works against their weight-loss efforts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110623130935.htm
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. "Obese dieters' brain chemistry works against their weight-loss efforts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110623130935.htm (accessed March 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins