HughPickens.com writes: According to a new study, the chance of an obese person attaining normal body weight is 1 in 210 for men and 1 in 124 for women, increasing to 1 in 1,290 for men and 1 in 677 for women with severe obesity, suggesting that current weight management programs focused on dieting and exercise are not effective in tackling obesity. Now neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt writes in the New York Times that "in the long run dieting is rarely effective, doesn't reliably improve health and does more harm than good". And according to Aamodt, the root of the problem is not willpower but neuroscience. Metabolic suppression is one of several powerful tools that the brain uses to keep the body within a certain weight range, called the set point. The range, which varies from person to person, is determined by genes and life experience. When dieters' weight drops below it, they not only burn fewer calories but also produce more hunger-inducing hormones and find eating more rewarding. If someone starts at 120 pounds and drops to 80, her brain rightfully declares a starvation state of emergency, using every method available to get that weight back up to normal. This coordinated brain response is a major reason that dieters find weight loss so hard to achieve and maintain. According to Aamodt dieting can actually lead to weight gain because dieting is stressful. Calorie restriction produces stress hormones, which act on fat cells to increase the amount of abdominal fat. Such fat is associated with medical problems like diabetes and heart disease, regardless of overall weight.... Aamodt recommends mindful eating -- paying attention to signals of hunger and fullness, without judgment, to relearn how to eat only as much as the brain's weight-regulation system commands.
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