Increased Weight Reduces The Brain’s Response To Tasty Food – Part 2 of 3
Children at risk of obesity actually had an increased caudate response to milkshake consumption, compared with kids not considered at jeopardize for obesity because they had lean parents.
What that suggests, the researchers said, is that the caudate response decreases as a result of overeating through the lifespan.
“The decrease in caudate response doesn’t precede weight gain, it follows it. That suggests the decreased caudate return is a consequence, rather than a cause, of overeating.”
Studies in rats have had similar results, said Paul Kenny, an associate professor in the behavioral and molecular neuroscience lab at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Fla.
When rats were given access to hugely palatable, highly rewarding food for extended periods, they became obese. The fatter they got, the more the reply in their brain reward centers decreased.
“Over time, the reward systems began to slow down. They were not functioning properly. We think something similar may be going on in humans.”
“As you go through your flavour and continue to eat these highly palatable foods, you are overstimulating your brain reward center. Over time, the system fights back, and it tones itself down — which is why the higher the BMI, the less function you see in the reward area.”
Among other things, the brain’s caudate nucleus is involved with regulating impulsivity, which is related to self control, and addictive behaviors.
“The caudate is a region of the brain that receives dopamine. What this knowledge response could mean is that overeating causes adaptations in the dopamine system, which could confer further risk of overeating.”