Nuts: control of appetite by activating targeted brain regions
New and effective diets are reported daily. In general, walnuts have long been known as one of the most valuable foods, have a positive effect on our metabolism and are very well suited to prevent cardiovascular diseases. Scientists have now managed to prove in a study that especially walnuts are ideal for promoting during diet to lose weight. Nuts cause a positive feeling of satiety, which is very useful for weight loss.
For the first time, researchers at the Beth Israel Medical Diagnostic Center (BIDMC) have been able to demonstrate the neurocognitive effects of nut nutrition in their current study. They found that the consumption of nuts activated the region of the brain responsible for controlling hunger and desires. The researchers published their findings in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.
Study of brain activity in nutrient consumption
To determine how walnuts work in the brain, scientists used the functional magnetic resonance imaging technique (fMRI). They were able to observe activity in the brain and determine which regions of the brain are activated when they consume walnuts. Ten fat volunteers were transferred to the clinic for two five-day study periods where they received a strictly controlled diet. So, scientists did not have to rely on subjects' data about their food consumption, but that was exactly what they could understand.
Objects received a nut drink or drink Placcebo
During the five-day session, subjects received daily drinks containing 48 grams of nuts (recommended by the American Diabetes Association). During the second study period, they received without a nut, but a nutrition comparable, a placebo drink with a taste of a nut. The order of the two study periods was randomly selected, so some participants first consume walnuts and other placebo. "Neither the volunteers nor the researchers knew what session they received a nut," explains BIDMC in a statement on the results of the current study.
Less hunger after the consumption of nut
As in previous observational studies, subjects in the current study reported that they were less hungry during the week when they received walnuts. In a probe using functional magnetic resonance tomography on the fifth day of the experiment, a clear cause can be identified, according to scientists. The subjects showed after consumption of a nut when they see photos with tasty, unhealthy foods and less tasty, pretty healthy food significantly increases the activity in the region of the brain, which is called insula.
Activation of the insula
The activated area of the insula is likely to be involved in the cognitive control of the decision to eat certain foods, scientists say. As a result, the participants paid more attention to the choice of food and opted for healthier, less delicious options. Researchers say that there is no ambiguity in the results of the study.
"When the participants eat nuts, that part of their brain is shining and we know that it is consistent with the subjects reporting: they are less hungry and more comfortable," study leader Christos Mancoros says.
Impact of food on brain activity
"We often do not think about how what we eat affects our brain activity," says author of the study, Olivia M. Farr from the Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism of BIDMC. The current study clearly shows that there is evidence in brain activity for well-being and lower hunger after nut consumption. In other words, the digested food has direct neurocognitive consequences in the brain, which has a significant effect on the behavior of the diet.
In the next step, researchers plan to test different amounts or doses of walnuts to see if more nuts lead to more brain activation, or if a maximum effect is achieved after a certain amount. In addition, the neurocognitive effect of other foods should also be investigated. (RP)