Skip Navigation

BrainFacts.org

Introduction

For better or worse, you are what you eat. Certain foods and activities have beneficial effects on brain health, while others are more problematic. Obesity is deeply rooted in the brain, where hunger signals and eating behaviors are based. Fortunately, scientists are increasingly aware of how the brain processes information about food and physical activity. This information could one day help reduce the numbers of overweight and obese people, and improve long-term brain health. While eating habits were once thought to be a simple matter of self-control, researchers now know the chemical processes in the brain that drive feelings of hunger and fullness are complicated. Recent animal studies show fatty and high-calorie foods activate the brain’s reward system, and excessive eating leads to long-term brain changes. By studying the interactions between genes, brain chemicals, and the environment, researchers hope to develop new ways to address the global obesity epidemic.

Discoveries

Source: Society for Neuroscience

Much like cigarettes and alcohol, a diet laden with fats and sugars can become dangerously addictive.

Source: Society for Neuroscience
Just like other cells in the body, brain cells use a form of sugar called glucose to fuel their activities. This energy comes from the foods we consume daily, and is regularly delivered to brain cells through the blood.

Diet and Exercise in the News

Source: The Washington Post
Date: 14 Jan 2015

FDA approves surgically implanted device meant to trick the brain into making you less hungry. 

Source: The Washington Post
Date: 12 Jan 2015
The chemical, BPS, is found in many products that bear the “BPA-free” label.
Source: TIME
Date: 10 Oct 2014
Scientists have identified a pathway in the brain that can direct our bodies to convert stubborn waistline-growing fat into a different fat that’s easier to burn off.
Read more about neuroscience core concepts for the U. S. National Science Education Standards.