The obesity epidemic in the US has been well documented, but could it be caused, at least in part, by thinking? There's a new study out that indicates thinking could contribute
to an expanding waistline.
Researchers split participants into three groups: one group just rested, one had to read, the last one had to complete mental tests on a computer. Then all the participants were allowed to eat whatever they wanted to. Even though they only used about three more calories, the groups who were using their brains ate 200 (the readers) and 250 (the computer test takers) more calories. Through extensive blood sample-taking (before, during, and after the experiment), the researchers found wide variations in blood glucose levels from different phases of the experiment.
They concluded that "the body reacts to these fluctuations by demanding food
to restore glucose, a sugar that is the brain's fuel
. Glucose is converted by the body from carbohydrates and is supplied to the brain via the bloodstream. The brain cannot make glucose and so needs a constant supply. Brain cells
need twice as much energy as other cells in the body. "
They cautioned that people who have intellectually demanding jobs should keep this in mind when they're choosing what and how much to eat. I think we all need to keep this in mind, as well as get out of the office to go for a walk.