The Effects of Higher Body Fat on Your Brain

While many people can understand the physical challenges, most fail to consider the effects of higher body fat on your brain.
The Effects of High Body Fat on Your Brain

If you’ve ever been overweight or have gained weight, it can be frustrating and discouraging. While many people understand the physical challenges, most fail to consider the effects of higher body fat on your brain. Being unhappy with being overweight can be embarrassing. How we look has a direct impact on how we feel emotionally. When it comes to our appearance, our emotions and feelings will often completely take over our thoughts. We avoid the scale, mirrors, and certain clothes. Then you realize that negative emotions do not have a place in clear thinking and moving toward your goals. Being overweight is something you want to change, but the discouragement seems to drain your energy, leaving you even less likely to alter course.

Unhealthy Body Weight Affects Much More Than Your Appearance

When the disappointment in your appearance never seems to be enough to garner the motivation for weight loss, it is essential to consider the other negative effects that being overweight has on your entire body, both inside and out. Thinking about all these aspects of your health can be an excellent resource for making the changes you need for complete wellness.

Higher Body Fat Effects Both the Inside and Outside Of Your Body

There are commonly known adverse effects of higher body fat. These include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis

While this is not an extensive list of the adverse effects of obesity, it does include the most common. People with obesity are also more likely to develop other potentially serious health problems like certain cancers, sleep apnea, and digestive issues.

The Effects of Higher Body Fat On Your Brain

Neurologist It is more widely known that obesity can cause things like high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. However, it is far less likely that you’ve ever thought about the effects of higher body fat on your brain. Analyzed brain scans on overweight and obese people found higher levels of body fat were tied to lower brain volumes. Specifically, too much body fat was linked to reduced amounts of gray matter. Gray matter is the brain tissue that contains nerve cells in structures in the center of the brain. Here are some of the effects of higher body fat on your brain:

  • Overall brain health
  • Linked to Age-related dementia
  • Linked to Parkinson’s
  • Mental fatigue
  • Chronic inflammation impacting cognitive functions

Obesity Has An Effect On Your Overall Brain Health

The evidence suggests that obesity is associated with reduced cognitive function, plasticity and brain volumes, and altered brain structure. Obesity also influences working memory, which impacts your ability to make decisions about the food you eat. There is increased activation in brain regions associated with reward processing. Therefore, eating junk food is more rewarding.

Obesity Linked to Age-Related Dementia

Dementia care Studies show that the changes in your brain structure caused by obesity are linked to acceleration in age-related dementia. These changes in the brain structure can speed up the brain-aging process by as much as 10 years. Another recent report in Neurology found that obesity in middle age contributed to the onset of dementia years later. All of this suggests that your choices right now can make a profound difference in how you age.

Obesity Linked to Parkinson’s

Studies have also found a link between midlife obesity and the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Midlife obesity is specifically the indicator here, partially because it can come with other risk factors. These include hypertension and diabetes, which both play a role in dementia progression.

Obesity And Mental Fatigue

mental fatigue Evidence shows our brains function differently with obesity. In a study where participants were getting physically fatigued, those with obesity had more trouble sending signals from the brain to the muscles. This demonstrates how those with obesity were getting mentally fatigued earlier and more easily than others.

Chronic Inflammation and Obesity

Chronic inflammation is thought to be one of the ways in which obesity impacts brain health and cognitive function. Diets high in processed foods increase the production of proteins that signal to cells to create an inflammatory response. This inflammation can weaken the connections between brain cells and eventually lead to a decrease in the regions of your brain that are essential for cognition and memory. It can also impact the white matter in your brain, which are the connections between the different brain regions.

The Takeaway: Higher Body Fat Impacts Your Body From Head To Toe

It’s important to remember that when making healthy vs. unhealthy choices that affect your body weight, the toll and impact it makes on your body goes much further than skin deep. Poor food choices, high amount of body fat, and obesity are known to create inflammation. Chronic inflammation has residual effects that lead to disease. Being overweight or obese puts pressure on your joints, affects your freedom of movement and mobility, and goes even deeper with the negative effects on your heart and brain. Brain health has a connection to every function of your body and is a number one concern for a long, healthy life.

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