High Calorie Foods Actually Look Different to Obese People

My Bariatric Life Health Guide

  • I can remember sitting in a booth at some diner, sipping a diet soda, and waiting for my meal to arrive. The salad was a nice start, floating in blue cheese dressing to give it the flavor I enjoyed so much. The salad had already been eaten though, and those things are only an opening act anyhow. I was ready for the main show now, the headliner.

    The waitress set up one of those folding tables next to our booth, and then disappeared momentarily to gather our orders. She returned with a large tray of entrees, and when she asked who had ordered the chicken I replied that it had been me. She placed the plate in front of me, filled to bursting with a mound of golden breaded deep fried chicken. Beside it was a Rushmore-sized baked potato, dripping in butter and sour cream. I remarked that it looked good, and dug in.

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    I was morbidly obese at the time, and when I stated that my crispy golden breaded heart attack and baked stroke dripping in butter and sour cream looked good, I was most sincere. As a matter of fact, most foods that were killing me looked good.

    As it turns out, I was not alone. Researchers from the Yale University School of Medicine and the University of Southern California now maintain that high-calorie foods actually appear visually different  to obese people.

    Brains of Obese People Less Able to Fight Food Cravings

    When blood sugar levels were manipulated in the brains of those who participated in the Yale study, it was noted that obese people had greater difficulties with cravings for high calorie foods than did non-obese people.

    Five obese people and nine non-obese people were showed picture of both high and low-calorie foods. When blood sugar levels were low in both groups, the reward center in the brain became active and the desire to eat high-calorie food was triggered. When the blood sugar were returned to normal, the non-obese group became less interested in high calorie foods.

    This was not true for the obese subjects though. When the blood sugar levels were returned to normal, this group continued to crave high-calorie foods. The results suggest that obese people are at greater risk for giving in to cravings for high calorie foods than non-obese people due to biological factors that control food cravings.

    Why Obese People are Limited in their Ability to Control Impulses to Eat

    Blood glucose is the main source of energy for the body’s cells. When these blood sugar levels are low, a person can become sleepy or experience impaired cognitive functioning.

    The hypothalamus senses the change in blood glucose levels, and other parts of the brain that are associated with reward become activated. When this happens, the desire to eat becomes heightened. The study results suggest that obese people are limited in their ability to control impulses to eat. It is therefore recommended that obese people eat small frequent healthy meals to maintain proper glucose levels.

    abc News - http://abcnews.go.com/Health/fatty-foods-obese-people/story?id=14555063 accessed 10-15-12

  • Science 2.0 - http://www.science20.com/news_articles/do_highcalories_foods_actually_look_different_obese_people-82770 accessed 10-15-12

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    My Story... 

    You can read about my decision to have weight loss surgery back in 2003, and since that time my journey from processed food junkie to healthy living so as to maintain a lifetime of obesity disease management. My wish is to help you on your own journey of lifetime obesity disease management. Whether you are planning or have had bariatric surgery, or you want to lose weight through non-surgical means, my shareposts along the way will help you to navigate your journey successfully.


Published On: October 16, 2012