Changes to the brain structure could be the reason why people often regain back the weight that they have lost through dieting, according to a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle.
The researchers conducted the study on a group of mice and rats that were genetically engineered to become obese. The researchers said that when they switched the mice from a low fat diet to high fat diet, they found scarring and inflammation in the hypothalamus which is responsible for the control of food intake.
Lead researcher Dr Michael Schwartz said that the inflammation was injuring the very neurons that were supposed to protect the body from becoming obese. The researchers then compared this finding with the MRIs taken from 34 people and found that those who were obese had a higher degree of scarring in the hypothalamus compared to those with normal weight.
"This may help to explain why it's so hard for obese people - they can lose weight but they can't keep it off because their hypothalamus is reading them as basically weighing the right amount", Dr Schwartz said.