Losing weight can be the biggest challenge in one’s life, whereas other people can achieve it more easily. A new study reveals the science behind this difference.
Is it all about willpower when it comes to keeping the extra pounds off? Recent findings from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researchers support the theory that people who experience an increased neural response to seeing and smelling food are more likely to overeat and gain weight.
For the research, 92 participants of an 18-month weight-loss intervention program regularly underwent brain imaging scans and executive function tests. The criteria for choosing the participants included abnormal blood lipid levels and large waist circumference.
After performing a battery of tests, researchers noticed the brain sends electric frequency waves in the stomach associated with hunger and satiety more actively in some participants, making it harder to ignore the fundamental triggers like smell and sight of food.
“Consequently, we found that weight loss is not merely a matter of willpower but connected to much more basic visual and olfactory cues.” says lead study author Gidon Levakov.
Since vision is the primary sense in people, the visual information we get is an essential factor triggering eating and the importance of smell.