Being overweight or obese usually isn’t really about the body – it’s about the brain. Overeating and compulsive eating are often about how the brain resorts back to ancient eating habits that are no longer relevant in today’s food-rich world. A new study now confirms that the brain circuits responsible for overeating are quite distinct from those that govern normal eating. And understanding where one network begins and the other ends may lead to targeted drugs or non-invasive therapies that will be able to stop food craving in the brain almost before it begins.
The problem in overeating is that our brains are still set up to do something they evolved to do eons ago: Crave food like crazy and gobble it up as a matter of survival during times of scarcity. Even though food is no longer scarce in the U.S. – in fact, it’s everywhere we look – we still behave as if we had to eat everything in sight to stay alive. And that overeating behavior isn’t going anywhere any time soon: As study author Kay Tye, researcher at MIT, says, “we haven’t yet adapted to this new environment where there is an overabundance of sugar everywhere we look, and we probably never will, at least not with natural selection alone.” Original Article »