Diet and the brain


There is more and more evidence that what you eat impacts not only your body but your brain as well. Researchers have identified the impact of diet on brain function, and identified patterns of brain activity associated with eating disorders such as binge eating and purging. The findings were revealed at Neuroscience 2013, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the largest source of emerging news about brain health.

New strategies for eating disorders

Worldwide, millions of people suffer from eating disorders. Millions are affected by anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. Eating disorders are associated with increased risk for psychiatric and chronic disease so these new studies are helpful for creating new strategies to treat age old eating disorders from obesity to anorexia.

Findings from the study included:
- Targeted magnetic stimulation of the brain will reduce symptoms of severe eating disorders.
- Rats in laboratory environment which were more naturally impulsive consumed more calories on a binge. According to researcher Noelle Anastasi this may be due to an imbalance in the brain’s serotonin system.
- Consuming a diet of red meat and processed food was linked to a decline in verbal memory in the elderly after only three years.
- Consuming cannabis can influence body weight of offspring for generations.
- Eating a sweet, high fat meal triggers a series of events that include the release of insulin and suppression of dopamine. According to researcher Stephanie Borgland this leads to less interest in food related cues in the environment.

You are what you eat

“As scientists uncover the impacts of diet on brain function, the adage ‘You are what you eat,’ takes on new meaning,” stated press conference moderator Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, PhD, University of California, an expert in the impact of the environment on brain health. “We cannot separate the nutritional benefits of food for the body from that of the mind. What we put into the body also shapes the brain, for better or for worse.”

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Society for Neuroscience

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