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Brain Imaging Study Shows Why Fasting Is Counter-Productive As A Weight Loss Strategy

May 2, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
An imaging study by scientists in Oregon among adolescents found that weight loss would be more effective and enduring if dieters ate healthy, low-fat/low-sugar foods during regular meals, rather than fast for long periods of time. Participants in two groups voluntarily restricted their caloric intake to approximate what happens with real-world dieters. Using a brain imaging paradigm, the researchers examined the responsivity of adolescent's attention and reward regions of the brain. They found that restricting food intake increases the reward value of food, especially high-calorie, appetizing food. The more successful people are at low-calorie dieting, the tougher it is to stick to the diet. Fasting for a long time also often leads to poor post-fast food choices.
Eric Stice et al., "Caloric deprivation increases responsivity of attention and reward brain regions to intake, anticipated intake, and images of palatable foods", NeuroImage, May 02, 2013, © Elsevier Inc.
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